Raise your hand if you like the Internet. Now, raise your hand if you like freedom. And once more for democracy. Okay, put your hands down – I can’t actually see you. If you raised your hand (and I suspect a lot of you did, at least mentally) then I urge you to check out what’s going on for the Third Annual OneWebDay on Monday, September 22, 2008. OneWebDay is a day focused on protecting the Internet, much like Earth Day is a day focused on protecting the Earth. And each year, OneWebDay picks a key Internet value to focus on. This year’s value is online participation in democracy. And what better topic for an election year than that?
We’ve seen a lot in the last 358 days or so that highlights the need to protect the Internet. We learned that Comcast was interfering with their customers’ Internet access, and we got the FCC to step in and stop it. We discovered ISPs teaming up with ad companies to snoop on your Internet traffic, and saw our elected officials put those companies in the hot seat. And we’ve witnessed online participation in the presidential race at an unprecedented level.
The candidates themselves have recognized the power of the Internet to transform the democratic process: “This election cycle has proven the importance of the Internet in our political process.” – John McCain’s McCainSpace Intro Video; and “Technology-enabled citizen participation . . . can help connect government to its citizens and engage citizens in a democracy.” – Barack Obama Technology Platform. OneWebDay will serve as a reminder that it is up to all of us to protect this resource, and to ensure that it remains a platform on which everyone can have a voice.
So what’s going on OneWebDay this year? There’s tons to read about some personal OneWebDay stories. There are meatspace and cyberspace events all over the place. And there are lots of ways to help, from putting a button on your web page to holding an event of your own.
I’m sure that protecting the Internet and online democracy is an idea we can all get behind. If you agree, then go check out OneWebDay and get involved. And if you don’t, well, it’s lucky for you that the Internet is an open place where you can voice your disagreement. There’s even a comment button on this very page. Get to it!