Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
We need a Rapid Response Internet Task Force (sina.is)
61 points by sinak on July 1, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 12 comments

For those who don't know Sina (OP), he is an incredibly talented, driven person who has been fighting to uphold our digital rights for a long time, especially regarding the recent NSA leaks. I've had the privilege of helping as much as I could recently, and it's been loads of fun. Since there's a lot of room for improvement in this area - like Sina said, they're currently very understaffed - one person can honestly make a huge difference. I encourage anybody who's passionate about about protecting digital rights to get involved, it's really a great adventure.

Thanks Paul. And thank you again for all your help getting Aaron's email-to-congress script up to date.

The need for rapid response is interesting. Although legislation is developed over months, the Internet doesn't usually seem to find out about it until it's reported in the press the day before the vote.

The alternative approach is to engage lawmakers early in the process, like other industries do. You can bet that movie studios don't hear about copyright legislation in the press and scramble to influence it at the last minute.

I fear that all a "rapid response" system can do is torpedo bad legislation. A longer term approach is needed to get desirable laws passed, such as defining what is or isn't private.

Then a "rapid response" organization needs to be tied into the Federal Register[1]. The Federal Register is a Constitutionally mandated[2] publication where the activities of the government are recorded. Just from the latest issue[3] there are entries about a draft report from the NRC about the effects of a beyond design basis earthquake on the spent fuel pool for a nuclear reactor[4] (which included a request for comments) and a report on which labs in the US are certified to do urine tests for drugs as part of a pre-employment screening[5]. They also carry executive orders[6], actions of the State Department[7], and all of the actions of the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress[8].

Speaking of the Library of Congress, THOMAS[9] is the system you want for new, pending, and current legislation so things don't happen behind your back. Not only do they publish what passed Congress yesterday and was sent to the president[10], they also post the floor activity on the House of Representatives in real time[11], and daily issues of the Congressional Register[12]. They also have a list of all House Bills[13] and Senate Bills[14], and a page on each bill that tracks its progress as it moves through the legislative process[15].

With all of the above tools you will be more informed than anybody who watches the news on television. There's a niche here for special interest issue web apps to make sense of this data. Think Big Tobacco, the NRA, and other interest groups aren't either using or looking into using this data to send alerts to people on the ground in their organizations?

A "rapid response" organization should also have its members in touch with their local representatives on a moderate basis - not too much so the staffers set the "obsessive" flag on their communications but not so little that they wonder "who the heck is this guy?!"

[1] https://www.federalregister.gov/ [2] Article I, Section 5, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution of the United States [3] https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/07/02 [4] https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/07/02/2013-158... [5] https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/07/02/2013-157... [6] https://www.federalregister.gov/agencies/executive-office-of... [7] https://www.federalregister.gov/agencies/state-department [8] https://www.federalregister.gov/agencies/copyright-office-li... (including a history back to 1994) [9] http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php [10] http://thomas.loc.gov/home/rss/presentedtopresident.html (along with an RSS feed) [11] http://clerk.house.gov/floorsummary/floor.aspx (along with an RSS feed) [12] http://thomas.loc.gov/home/Browse.php?&n=Issues [13] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/d?d113:0:./list/bss/d1...: [14] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/d?d113:0:./list/bss/d1...: [15] http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/D?d113:11:./list/bss/d... (each bill has its own RSS feed)

The first thing this post reminded me of was the Internet Defense League, spawned by the first incarnation of CISPA:


Whatever happened with this?

The IDL is awesome, and FftF, who run it, are good friends and incredible people. But IDL is specifically for spreading messaging across multiple sites around a particular action, not for actually creating the pages that those campaigns point to:

From the IDL website: "When the internet's in danger and we need millions of people to act, the League will ask its members to broadcast an action. (Say, a prominent message asking everyone to call their elected leaders.) With the combined reach of our websites and social networks, we can be massively more effective than any one organization."

I thought we had an army of guy fawkes mask wearing kids who use the power of 4chan to strike terror in the hearts of giant corporations and governments from their parents' basements.

I arrived here simply because the name you gave your vision is similar to the name of my side project [1]. It's not what you're describing, but it may be interesting to build out the necessary pieces, augmenting what the site already does.

[1] https://www.brianstaskforce.com/

I don't think Rapid Response anything Task Force is a viable long term solution. Those have a bad tendency to turn into some kind of militia force turning on each and everyone that displeases the leaders of that force, and thus creating one of those unlawful organism they aim to fight in the first place.

I am for a Slow Response Internet Task Force, where every decision is subjected to a poll along with a debate. Then and only then a "Task Force" is created to ensure the reached consensus is applied.

Well done Sina. Glad someone is piping up about this stuff.

I proposed something very similar (albeit only at a conference, to a select group of people) after the PDFTribute thing..

It's a great idea, and awesome achievement to go from nothing to working site in under 24 hours.

I think the slowest part of the entire process for us (the pdftribute team) was getting the domain registered, and the DNS propagated. Find some way round that bit, and it'll be awesome.

Maybe something along the lines of http://youshallhear.us/PRISM, http://youshallhear.us/ACTA, etc?

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact