Interview w/Lawrence Lessig on Democracy, the Internet, and Social Reform

Submitted by Betsey Merkel on Tue, 08/19/2008 - 11:07.

Lawrence Lessig, Founder, Creative Commons Founder, Stanford Center for Internet and Society Professor,  at the Stanford Law School talks with Timothy O'Brien, from O'Reilly News, at this year's Personal Democracy Forum in New York City.

Lessig talks about the need to build infrastructure to better serve the process of focused national issues and public decision making using Internet tools now available to us. 

Lessig's interview discusses an online, participatory tagging tool to encourage reform and transparency in the US Congress.

"Change-Congress is a movement to build support for basic reform in how our government functions. Using our tools, both candidates and citizens can pledge their support for basic changes to reduce the distorting influence of money in Washington. Our community will link candidates committed to a reform with volunteers and contributors who support it."

Change-Congress is guided by a set of Principles : Access - Choice - Openness - Innovation. Here is the description of the tool from the web site.

Lessig also discusses a second initiative,

  • , a national initiative of public interest, civic and industry groups that are working to see that the Internet continues to drive U.S. economic growth and prosperity.

Lessig points to the importance of building Internet infrastructure and access as a critical tool to help more pressing, day-to-day problems:

..."the internet access can't be thought of as the most important problem in the world but it's an infrastructure point. So if you could build this infrastructure and commit to building the infrastructure it helps solve a whole bunch of other problems that are pretty critical. So take your high crime example; if there were much better infrastructure for internet and even in high crime areas it would facilitate better police response, it would facilitate better monitoring, so that you avoid the kind of crime, so it would contribute to actually increasing the value of the area."

Read the full interview and listen to the Audio.

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