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Jackson Hts., New York, December 26, 2013 - I’ve mixed feelings when I hear the “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” announcement on the subway. At first I’m annoyed because my train of thought has been broken. But then an image like Boston’s tragic marathon will pop into my head and I’ll groan, “OK, it’s necessary.”

IYSSSS acknowledges that the public’s participation in our public system safety is vital. It draws upon our common interest, and it invites and engages the public to help avoid a potentially deadly situation. One can hope for a less intrusive way to deliver the message, but maybe it’s just a commons chore. 

We need a similar campaign to protect our city when the .nyc TLD arrives. But because it’s new, it will require some explanation. Here’s a four layered campaign.

  • First, create a vision message that presents .nyc as a commonly owned resource that benefits us all - like the air, the streets, the schools, the libraries, and the parks.
  • Present examples of the benefits residents receive with a thoughtfully developed .nyc TLD; and of the consequences for cities that neglect to do so.
  • Initiate an education effort that preps residents to identify those using .nyc websites to squat on names that belong to others, that scam and swindle, and that infect computers with malware.
  • Most importantly, we need to create a system that effectively responds to abuses. These may be provided by a neighborhood or community; or by the government’s workforce through 311, the NYPD, the Departments of Consumer Affairs and Finance, the Secret Service, etc.
  • And we need an IYSSSS-like slogan to keep the civicly aware on their toes.

In short, we must create a civic culture that engages residents to report those using .nyc domain names in ways that diminish our city’s social and economic order.

At the same time we need to recognize that this is a very, very sensitive task. And as we scope and develop this culture change we need to avoid creating a Nanny or Orwellian state. (Graphic of subway steps courtesy of CnI.)

Learn more about the opportunities provided by the .nyc TLD on our wiki pages.

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Jackson Hts., New York, January 12, 2012 - Urbanflow, a Finish joint effort with Nordkapp, envisions an operating system for cities. The scenario explored in the 5 minute video revolves around situated urban screens and their potential uses (right). Worth a look. It concludes with “It’s going to happen somewhere, let’s make it happen here” with the “here” being Helsinki.

This is something that should be an integral part of a city-TLD’s development process. But few in the traditional registry-registrar industry that controls the ICANN environment have an inkling as to the potentials, with the possible exception of the Swiss registrar CORE. The industry’s business model, more names = more money, skews creative thinking about urban TLDs.

But with the rise of the Internet of Things and growing awareness of the value of trusted TLDs to decision-making machines like IBM’s Watson, some cities are beginning to look into the possibilities of city-TLDs as the platform. Here in New York we have the initiative of Pachube (meeting tonight!) that offers hope for the home team.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

Hyper-Public-conference-logo.0.jpgJackson Heights, New York, May 25, 2011 - On June 10 we’ll be participating in a most important conference: Hyper-Public: A Symposium on Designing Privacy and Public Space in the Connected World. For a glimmer into the corporate world’s concerns about the issues to be addressed, read this email  responding to an inquiry by Google’s founder Larry Page:

“I cannot stress enough how important Google’s wifi location database is to our Android and mobile product strategy,” Google location service product manager Steve Lee wrote. “We absolutely do care about this … because we need wifi data collection in order to maintain and improve our wifi location service.”

Or imagine - as Google and Apple and Microsoft and Verizon and AT&T and VISA and Master Card are doing - what it will be like as we are identified in public spaces, with our mobile buzzing and beeping us about nearby marketing “deals.” And beyond marketing, there are a multitude of civic and livability issues necessitating our corralling this new technology, as hinted at in the event’s official description:

Hyper-Public: A Symposium on Designing Privacy and Public Space, hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, will bring together computer scientists, ethnographers, architects, historians, artists and legal scholars to discuss how design influences privacy and public space, how it shapes and is shaped by human behavior and experience, and how it can cultivate norms such as tolerance and diversity. (See conference details here.)

One can fantasize about rejecting the new tech, but to do so will have consequence equivalent to rejecting credit cards or EZPass. (See Opt-Out Google.) But the reality is that our primary communication device is moving into our pockets, and if we don’t get involved with that object’s design, we’ll be little more than an audience.

There’s no indication the conference will be streamed, but if you’ve got questions or suggestions, post them below or email our director. In the days after the conference we’ll conduct a long overdue update of our wiki’s privacy and security and community and trust pages. Stay connected.

[NOTE: Circumstances precluded our attendance at the event.]

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages

My-Issue-Communities-Map-2010.JPGNew York, January 31, 2010 - Last year 1,200 applications were submitted to the Knight Foundation’s News Challenge grant and we were one of 50 finalists. They funded 9 applications, most regrettably, not ours.

This year we submitted an application entitled Issue-Communities and are delighted to announce that we have been selected to enter round two. Our proposal promises to empower residents to create “Issue-Communities” reflecting areas of interest or concern. User generated web maps will enable the creation of self selected and narrowly focused Issue-Communities that will, ipso facto, engage their creators in the identification and resolution of local issues.

This year’s application differs from 2009’s in that it requires those claiming their projects will be ongoing to explain the business model. We proposed offering a publishing partner with exclusive access to Issue-Community activities for  a limited period in exchange for operating assistance. Let us know what you think of this.

Our proposal can currently be found on the Knight Foundation’s site. There you can comment on our proposal and give it a rating (we suggest giving 5 stars unless you can hack the site and give 6 or more).

For the longer term, we’ve also created a wiki page where our application can be found, and where we will provide updates on our News Challenge grant application.

Learn more about The Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages.

Julia-Burns.JPGSydney, November 23, 2009 - I have been admiring your project and I am looking forward to seeing it grow to Sydney (my hometown). It is great that you have involved so many different parties and individuals from across your city.

­However, I am concerned by the lack of regard for privacy in this project. My understanding is that if one is to open a domain with .nyc, that they will sacrifice their private details to an accessible database (whois). This includes details such as home address, phone number, and private internet activity.

Although I value having a good quality domain name and connections with local residents, my privacy is much more important. ­How can I use .nyc but still protect my private information? What regulations have been set in place regarding privacy? - Julia Burns (Photo of a “twitter performance” by Ms. Burns .) (See our wiki page on privacy and security.)

Filed November 23rd, 2009 under Privacy

­making-things-talk.JPGNew York, June 30, 2009 - ­Th­e New York City Council is considering a legislative proposal, Intro. 991, that would improve public access to “raw data” held in city databases. Yesterday, in testimony before its Technology in Government Committee, headed by Council Member Gale Brewer, Connecting.nyc Inc. urged the use of the .nyc TLD in facilitating access and management of city databases.

In essence, we urged that the city think of a database as a thing, similar to a bench, a tree, a light post, or fire hydrant. And that a .nyc domain name be assigned to each database. The great thing about giving a domain name to each database (or other “thing”) is that you can then have a conversation about that database.

For example, think about the police department’s crimes database, and let’s take Mayor Bloomberg’s lead and call it “­crimes.data.nyc.” By giving it an intuitive name - http:/ /www.crimes.data.nyc - ­you facilitate the work of ­programmers, but you also create a market place for that database. So at the crimes.data.nyc­­ URL you would find: ­

  • a detailed description of the data,
  • a link to download the raw data,
  • an ongoing conversation of how it “might” be used if only this or that was changed or added,
  • comments and possibly a discussion by people who object to it containing too much information,
  • a suggestion that a particular field should require privacy access­,
  • notations and links to the different apps where the data has been used, and

  • ­a civic advocate / entrepreneur match program for locating people with similar interests and a desire to jointly develop apps based on the crimes.data.nyc ­data set.

Learn more about this and see our council testimony.  (Commons Photo courtesy of equinoxefr.)­

Learn more about the Campaign for .nyc on our wiki pages. ­­­

­RFI.JPGNew York City, April 27, 2009 - The city’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) in preparation for the acquisition of the .nyc TLD (like .com and .org but just for New York City). We applaud this outreach effort and request that all members of Connecting.nyc’s community join us in assembling a comprehensive body of information to assist the city with this important policy development effort.

Over the next weeks we will gather and organize information that might aide the city’s decision making process. (Due date May 27th.) With our public interest perspective, decade-long involvement with .nyc, and the collaboration of our community, we expect that our submission will assist the city in better understanding the multitude of ways .nyc can help create a more prosperous and livable city.

We will augment our submission by including information presented on a collaborative wiki we’ve created, see RFI Workspace. The Workspace links to the abundance of information on Connecting.nyc Inc.’s wiki, and enables our community to help create an imaginative and innovative assemblage of ideas for the city’s consideration. We are particularly interested in ways the TLD might facilitate security and privacy. As well, we’d like to hear how .nyc can help connect New York City’s civic, social, and business communities using networking tools.

Going forward, we expect DoITT to review the various RFI submissions and, in collaboration with city agencies, business & civic organizations, and residents, to develop a road map leading to .nyc’s acquisition, development, operation, and oversight. (Image elements courtesy Google Maps.)

Learn more about our RFI Collaboration

Link to Connecting.nyc Inc.’s wiki pages.

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