Tuesday, September 29, 2009

 

Internet Summit Austria 2009

Today I attended the Internet Summit Austria 2009 held by the Internet Service Providers Austria association at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The motto of the event was “We are Internet”, referring to the fact that the Internet is created by people and used by people.

ISPA chairman Andreas Koman opened the session with statistics about Internet use in Austria and an overview of current developments and challenges.

Claudia Bandion-Ortner, minister of justice, admitted her preference for paper files and reminded the audience that the Internet is not an area unregulated by law. There are legal issues specific to information technology, such as data theft and violation of data privacy rights. While fraudsters and other criminals use the Internet, most crimes are media neutral. One area that is closely linked to the Internet, though, is child pornography. Bandion-Ortner referred to the controversial German pilot for blocking access to illegal sites. Needless to say, the same filter technology could be used for censoring access to legitimate information or enforcing intellectual property rights.

Volker Grassmuck delivered a keynote about the reformation of intellectual property law in the digital age. Established “common sense” can block creativity and innovation. Some ideas worked well although most people would have assumed they wouldn’t:
  • Shared space pioneered by Hans Moderman–“If you treat people like idiots, they will behave like idiots.”
  • Shared code with the Free Software Foundation (FSF)
  • Shared profits with the micro-payments of the Grameen bank– “People behave in a trustworthy way when they are trusted.”
Grassmuck touched on aspects of the digital age, the 40th birthday of the ARPANET and the 10th birthday of Napster this year, and the end-to-end principles in system design laid out by Saltzer, Reed and Clark at the MIT. Laboratory for Computer Science in 1984. The network is a universal transport mechanism, intelligence and innovation are at the ends of the network. “Today’s optimization is tomorrow’s bottleneck.”

On net neutrality Grassmuck mentioned a speech by FCC chairman Julius Genachowski and a refined view on the issue, with net neutrality but with network management to handle congestion or spam and with provisions for law enforcement, and transparency which would allow blocking or throttling certain types of traffic as long as customers are made aware.

There is no one solution that satisfies the needs of content producers, consumers and intermediaries. Working models will require a combination of an agreement between creative professionals and society, markets, free licenses, public subsidies and a “cultural flat rate”.

One of the conference gifts was, ironically, a USB stick with a locked down installation of Firefox using the Tor network to ensure privacy.

The keynote was followed by a lively discussion about intellectual property rights, including but not limited to compensation for the creator of content. The composer Johanna Doderer and the author Gerhard Ruiss pointed out that they want to maintain control over what happens with their works and reminded the audience that creative professionals are typically paid by how often their works sell. Georg Hitzenberger of Play.fm and Bettina Kann of the Austrian National Library outlined some of the challenges with obtaining rights for use in digital media and making content available. For example, the digital Web archive maintained by the Austrian National Library has unreasonably strict access requirements in selected locations only, one person at a time. Franz Schmidbauer touched on legal aspects and the adequacy of intellectual property rights enforcement.

MEP Eva Lichtenberger made an interesting comment about giving young people the ability to purchase digital media without requiring a credit card, quoting the large amounts spent on ringtones where suitable payment solutions are offered by telecom providers.

After the lunch break, Peter A. Gloor gave an entertaining presentation about “Coolhunting by Swarm Creativity” (that’s a lot of buzzwords for a title), explaining how their system combines different inputs–the wisdom of the crowd in the form of the Web, the wisdom of the swarms in the dynamics of fora and blogs, the knowledge in news and Wikipedia–to understand networks, trends and content. “Experts are right – in 50% of the cases. You never know which 50% you have.” swarmcreativity.net and ickn.org have good information about the concepts and the Condor software for non-commercial use.

Two panel discussions about social networks and business on the Internet concluded the agenda.

Labels: , , ,

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Links to this post:

Create a Link








Page tools



Archives