Showing posts from November, 2011

Why I’m Scared of the SOPA bill

Benetech, is a leading nonprofit organization based in Silicon Valley. We write software for people with disabilities as well as human rights and environmental groups. We’re against piracy, and have made commitments to authors and publishers to encourage compliance with copyright law. So, we shouldn’t have anything to fear from a bill entitled “Stop Online Piracy Act,” right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. We’re getting very worried that our organization and the people we serve: people with print disabilities (i.e., people who are blind or severely dyslexic), and human rights groups will be collateral damage in Hollywood’s attempt to break the Internet in their latest effort to squash “piracy.” And, if we’re worried, a lot of other good organizations should start getting worried! Let me give two specific examples that came up in my first conversation with a lawyer about the proposed bill: 1. Stopping fund raising and subscription revenue for Bookshare, the largest online library f

Amnesty International at 50

I’m thinking a great deal these days about human rights and about doing more for the field. Today, I gave a presentation on human rights in DC, with a focus on our work with truth commissions. I recently spoke at the Silicon Valley Human Rights Conference , where I talked about technology for human rights defenders. Our human rights team is expanding and taking on new and exciting challenges. It makes me think about one of the giants of our field. Earlier this year, I spoke at the 50th Anniversary Annual General Meeting of Amnesty International (AI). I stuck around for the main closing meeting, where the history and future of AI was presented. I was amazed to learn about the ways in which AI has transformed itself over the first half century of its existence, as one of the preeminent human rights group of our time. AI was founded in 1961 on the inspiration of British lawyer Peter Benenson, whose article “The Forgotten Prisoners” launched the first Prisoners of Conscience campaign, whi

One very long weekend in New York City for Megan Price

Guest Beneblog by Megan Price New York City has many attractions – people often visit Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, among many other sights. Me? I go to New York City to spend the weekend staring at my computer screen. Data Without Border’s kickoff Data Dive is what tempted me across the country, and after a much longer than expected day of travel I found myself surrounded by fellow nerds (data scientists, as this particular group prefers to be called). The group included statisticians, epidemiologists, computer scientists, engineers, political scientists, journalists, and ‘data wranglers.’ We were all there thanks to the efforts of Drew Conway, Jake Porway, and Craig Barowsky (Data without Borders’s founders) who had the crazy idea of bringing together well-intentioned data analysts and non-profits with data in need of analysis. This particular weekend we divided into teams and tackled projects from the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (N