Stop the Secrecy

Open Governance

Guest Blog by James Robb - Using the internet to bring democracy closer to the people

Fri, 02/06/2015 - 12:53 -- Eva Prkachin

Thanks to Icelandic resident James Robb for contributing this guest piece.

Shortly after I moved to Iceland, my good friend and former colleague, Helgi Gunnarsson, who is now an MP for the Pirate Party of Iceland, approached me with an idea to build a piece of petition software. At the time there were a few issues moving through the parliament that had garnered a sizeable amount of controversy. The president of Iceland had also recently stated that if a petition or issue could get enough signatures, he would attempt to intervene on behalf of the public. With this in mind, we set out to build a tool that would streamline the collection of signatures opposing parliamentary actions.

Safety Valve ( is an open source project I have created with the Pirate Party of Iceland to help citizens of any country have a more active voice regarding their respective parliaments and parliamentarians. We chose the name because of what the president had said about stepping in on a highly controversial issue. Initially we hoped our software would function as a political safety valve for when things were getting messy. The project currently allows Icelandic citizens to sign petitions either for or against every single bill, motion, or issue coming through their parliament. For example, this is a petition regarding a bill that relates to guaranteed basic income.

Time: The John Oliver effect: it's officially real

Fri, 01/23/2015 - 16:13 -- Eva Prkachin

After drumming up a huge amount of support to stop the Internet slow lane, find out how else the John Oliver effect is creating change.

Article by Victor Luckerson for Time

His show has crashed websites, boosted donations and inspired legislation

Comedians mock our cultural and political institutions on TV all the time. But it’s not every day that a comic’s jokes crash a government website or directly inspire legislators to push for new laws.

You Spoke, We Listened: The 2014 OpenMedia community survey

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 16:54 -- Eva Prkachin

Guest blog by Volunteer and Open Media Community Member Liam McCosh

As a volunteer who helped analyze and interpret the results of this year’s survey, I am thrilled to see that our diverse community is just as passionate about a free and open Internet as I am. Growing up with the Internet, I have seen how crucial it is to our day-to-day life. I believe we have to stop censorship and unnecessary regulation of the Internet. When I’m old, I don’t want to be telling younger generations about the glory days of the Internet before restriction – I want it to be as free as it ever was!

By volunteering at OpenMedia, I got a chance to be part of the team that is fighting to keep the Internet the way we want it.

This year’s survey had a remarkable international turnout! More than half of respondents were from outside Canada, in comparison to last year where international respondents only made up less than 10 percent. We’re thrilled to know that community members around the world are just as concerned about the Internet in their home countries as we are in Canada.

International Business Times: An Internet nerd in Iceland's Parliament

Tue, 10/07/2014 - 16:01 -- Eva Prkachin

Find out how hackers are using the Internet to reshape Iceland's political landscape.

Article by Anthony Cuthbertson for International Business Times

It was a bright cool evening in August, and the clocks were striking nineteen. Iceland's national broadcaster RUV had just been handed a gagging order as the nightly news was about to air, prohibiting any reports on documents released earlier that day by WikiLeaks. Less than a year had passed since the start of the 2008 financial crisis that decimated the country's economy and the leaks implicated Iceland's largest bank in the collapse.

What does your lazy summer afternoon at the lake have to do with saving the open Internet?

Wed, 08/27/2014 - 14:48 -- Eva Prkachin

Hi! I'm Alexa, OpenMedia's new Managing Director - great to meet you! I took a break from the behind the scenes work to share why I’m here. Summer days are perfect for chilling out, reconnecting with friends and family, and reflecting on what in our lives matters most. What matters to me is that my work contributes to building a more just and collaborative world for my kids. I care deeply about OpenMedia’s work to safeguard the possibilities of the open Internet. It’s an essential tool that creates transformative change. This is reason #1 for accepting my job at OpenMedia.

It’s one thing to say one cares about democracy and collaboration. It’s another thing to put these values into practice. I saw in OpenMedia an organization consciously and deliberately putting their values of participatory democracy and transparency into practice. This is why we use our Community Survey to shape our future work and also why we ask, “why are you inspired by the possibilities of an open Internet?”

The TPP so far

Fri, 07/04/2014 - 15:03 -- Jason Hjalmarson

This week, the latest Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) round began in Ottawa, Canada. In what is becoming a disappointingly familiar story, the talks have been shrouded in near-total secrecy. Only a week ago, the venue changed mysteriously from Vancouver to Ottawa, leading your OpenMedia team to wonder whether TPP organizers were keen to dodge criticism from the many civic interest groups, including ourselves, that call Vancouver home. Despite the snap location change, we’ve been working hard to shed light on how this reckless deal could make the Internet more expensive, censored, and policed. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Shining a light: our “Bat Signal” at work

We couldn’t have done this without you

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 09:49 -- Eva Prkachin

A few years ago, we at OpenMedia began to realize that fighting against efforts to shut down the open Internet wasn’t enough - we needed to clearly articulate what we were fighting for.

And we needed to do this with you, our amazing pro-Internet supporters.

Since then, we’ve experimented with lots of different ways to crowdsource our plans, and create positive alternatives together. Our drag-and-drop free expression tool was the latest example, enabling us to work together to shape new rules for sharing and collaborating online in the 21st century.

What do the Good Wife, Justin Bieber, and Internet Freedom have in common?

Fri, 05/30/2014 - 10:47 -- Thanh Lam

If you're a fan of the Good Wife like me, you're not only still mourning the death of Will Gardner, you're also reeling from last week's season finale cliffhanger (will Diana, Alicia, and Cary finally become one firm!?) With its well-crafted dialogue and character-driven plot, the Good Wife is arguably one of the best television shows out there.

But there's also another reason why the Good Wife constantly delivers: it's consistently in touch with tech trends, news, and controversies. From parodying the NSA to trying to unearth the mysterious identity of Bitcoin's "creator", the show's creators know how to smartly portray the intricacies and, at times, dangers, of living in an increasingly monitored and censored online world in which Internet freedom is constantly threatened.