[linux-elitists] Information Producers Initiative

Jay Sulzberger jays@panix.com
Wed May 9 00:09:02 PDT 2001


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Seth Johnson <seth.johnson@RealMeasures.dyndns.org>
Subject: Information Producers Initiative


I thought you folks would be interested in the following initiative:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ubiquity: A Web-based publication of the ACM
Volume 2, Number 11,  Week of April 30, 2001

The Information Producers Initiative
A strategy for protecting our interests as the nature of information
access and production evolves.
By Seth Johnson
http://www.acm.org/ubiquity/views/s_johnson_1.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I am starting a project called the Information Producers Initiative.

I have pasted a draft of a basic position paper below.  I would like
very much if I could obtain comments on it, perhaps through this list
and/or other public fora.  It is a very general foundation on which
specific policy positions are meant to be based.

I am presently considering developing commentaries on HIPAA (a federal
law addressing medical records privacy) and the Tasini and Napster
cases.

I am specifically interested in obtaining any information regarding
other initiatives that might be similar to this, and what's been tried
and what happened to these initiatives.

I have set up a list for people who are interested in these matters.
Subscription is by sending an email saying "subscribe C-FIT_Community"
to ListServ@realmeasures.dyndns.org.

Forward this message freely as you wish.

The text below is also available at:
http://RealMeasures.dyndns.org/C-FIT

Thanks for your help,

Seth Johnson
Committee for Independent Technology
seth.johnson@realmeasures.dyndns.org


The Information Producers Initiative

A Project of the Committee for Independent Technology


The Committee for Independent Technology holds that a proper
consideration of information-related public policy must focus on what
the state of technology means for all citizens.

We believe that a well-founded understanding of the condition in which
citizens presently find themselves as a result of information
technology, should focus on one fundamental principle.

This principle is that information is used to produce new information.
To put another cast on the same point, information that is accessible in
whatever form has never merely served the purpose of consumption.  This
may seem to be an obvious point, but when it is considered in light of
the new modes of public access that have developed, and the flexible
means of using information that are now at hand, one sees that this
principle is more important now than it may ever have seemed to be
before.

In the past, only specific groups of people, engaged in specific types
of activities, had their interests assessed in terms of their capacity
as information producers.  The public at large has been treated as mere
consumers of information in many areas, with public policy reflecting
this tendency.

Now, however, we all have the capacity to participate in the development
of human knowledge, on a reasonably equal footing with all other
citizens, because of the forms of access to the public sphere that are
now available, and to the forms of information that may be found there,
by means of public communications networks such as the Internet.  This
puts us all in an entirely new position with respect to our abilities to
access, manipulate and produce information.

We may now manipulate information in a profoundly flexible way.  We may
quickly access any work that is available electronically on public
communications networks.  We may, with great facility, decompose any
digitized work into component parts.  We may manipulate, analyze,
synthesize, select and combine the conclusions, observations, discrete
facts, ideas, images, musical passages, binary bits and other elements
of any information in digital form.  We may efficiently produce useful,
meaningful and creative expressive works on the basis of this flexible
access to information.

But perhaps the most far-reaching way in which information technology
affects our condition as citizens, is in the fact that we may all now
distribute our information products to the public at large in a powerful
and convenient manner that obviates the need to rely on publishers and
other intermediaries who have traditionally provided public access to
information producers.

We must no longer allow our rights in the area of the access to and use
of information and information technology, to be regarded merely as
rights of consumption.  All citizens must assure that policy makers no
longer treat their interests in information merely with respect to their
capacity as consumers.  We must advocate for and guard our broader
interests as information producers in equal standing in the public
sphere, possessing essential powers and rights in the access, use and
communication of information.

The Committee for Independent Technology seeks to assure that the rights
and capabilities of all citizens are not undermined through public
policies that restrict the ordinary exercise of their rights to access
and produce information by flexible means.




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