Archive for October, 2006

Desire For Free Tibet Pulses Through Air Jaldi Summit

Thursday, October 26th, 2006


The cry for a free Tibet has definitely been a persistent underscore to the Air Jaldi proceedings, as evidenced by this poster from nearby McLeod Ganj and the art work made by students at the Tibetan Children’s Village Schools we visited (they’re eight schools in all). I got to speak to a number of students and asked them what they liked most about their access to the Internet. Taped an interview with one student who explained his use of Google in creating a fairly complex MS Word doc. about icons of political liberation. Students were most enthusiastic about using chat to stay in touch with friends at other TCV campuses and back home, using the social site Hi5.com.

This video has been mentioned several times during the Summit, so I thought I’d put a link to it here (thanks to Michael Lenczner for including it on his blog): video of Chinese soldiers shooting at Tibetans

Opening Remarks from Yahel Ben-David at the Air Jaldi 2006 Community Wireless Summit in Dharamsala, India

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Air Jaldi Site>>

Part I

Part II

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

And now…

Sixth Meeting: 09 Oct 06; Debra, Morgan, me, Beryl, Drew, Mary Jo, GH Rec Council and a Rec Council Spouse/community member with experience at an Internet filtering firm.

The GHICP addresses the Rec Council concerns, in part, with the following responses: our proposal is not a panacea– it is conceived to address a part of a larger problem, the Rec Council can set and enforce whatever policy it chooses to govern use of the network within the Rec Center grounds, nothing prevents an adult from exposing a child to explicit material from a laptop in a park– just as nothing nothing prevents an adult from exposing a child to explicit material from a book in a park, just as the Rec Council currently does not patrol any activity in the 25th street park — the Rec Council should not patrol future Intenet usage in the 25th street park, the GHICP proposal supplies the Rec Center with a computer lab and an an Internet connection– it ADDITIONALLY supplies the community-at-large with free wireless access point, the GHICP will be the owner of the network and will be insured through a fiscal agent relationship with the GHCDC, the City will draft a leased use agreement that will transfer all liability for the wireless network to the GHICP. Debra adds that she is working on that draft agreement and that City attorneys will ensure that City’s interests (including those of the Rec Center) will be protected. The Rec Council moves to review a leased use agreement and a reporting mechanism that will allow the Rec Council to communicate concerns and complaints to the GHICP.

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

Further down the rabbit hole…

The project needed a physical site to host the ISP connection and SDCTC had been looking for a site that needed help setting up a computer lab. The Golden Hill Rec Center was a perfect site for both of these aims. It had no computer lab at all and sight lines would allow an antenna to beam a wireless Internet connection from the Center to the 25th street.

First Meeting: Beryl, Kristie Rice who is Executive Director of the GHCDC and Mary Jo Ricanor who directs the Rec Ctr.

All agree to move forward. Mary Jo agrees to submit the idea to her supervisor for approval.

Second Meeting: 13 June 06; me, the SDCTC VISTA staff and Mary Jo Ricanor.

We agreed on the Computer Lab specs and set a tentative date in July for setting up the Internet connection, the lab and the wireless network. Later, SD Park and Recreation administrators request a meeting to discuss details before giving approval to go ahead.

Third Meeting: Morgan, Beryl, Kristie, Mary Jo, Debra Jones, who supervises the Rec Center and Golden Hill Park, and a representative from the Golden Hill Recreation Council, a resident advisory group.

Some technical concerns are raised, including questions about security. All agree Park and Rec IT staff will be asked submit questions about any issues of concern and that the partner ship will respond to those questions in a timely fashion. Later all parties are invited to submit questions and responses via a collaborative Writely document.

Fourth Meeting: me, SDCTC VISTA Morgan Sully, Beryl, Drew Macullough from SoCalFreeNet.Org, Debra and the Park and Rec IT staff: Kamal and Woody.

Details about the lab, the wireless network, the plans for the 25th Street Park other intended community benefits are shared. Concerns raised include whether or not it will be possible to restrict access to the network during certain hours (yes). The Partners point out that the San Diego Public Libraries (also City entities) do not restrict access to their wireless networks in this way. Park and Rec IT staff OK the project’s technical components. All agree to move forward. Later, the Partnership is named The Golden Hill Intelligent Community Project. A steering committee is established with a standing monthly meeting.

Fifth Meeting: 11 Sep 06 (regularly scheduled GH Rec Council Mtg): Beryl, Kristie, Drew, Mary Jo, the Rec Council, SD Policeman, me.

GHICP presents full scope of the plan, to prepare the Rec Council to vote to approve or disapprove. Presentation includes network specs, lab specs, planned education classes, planned community portal design, planned expansion of the Steering Commitee and description of the wireless network policy established by the SDPL. Concerns are raised by the Rec Council include security issues previously discussed, legal liability, ethical responsibility, how to protect youth from sexual predators that use laptops, the Internet and/or sexually explicit images as lures in the park, should parks be places where people use computers, how does providing wireless access for people who can’t afford laptops advance the GHICP’s aim of removing barriers to benefitting from the Internet and why is a wireless network needed when it seems that the teen computer lab would be served just as well by a wired network. The metaphor of the wireless network being a “can of worms” is referenced several times. All agree that the Rec council will submit all of their questions to the GHICP and that the GHICP will answer these question at special emergency council meeting called just for the purpose of addressing the GHICP. Later, a listserv is established to facilitate communication among the Rec Council, the GHICP and other interested parties.

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

From the beginning…

Beryl Forman got in touch with me last spring to find out more about the Chicano Park Wireless Network (El Ombligo) which Heads On Fire had helped to launch. She had proposed to the Golden Hill CDC that unwiring (unwire: to make wireless) their neighborhood’s 25th Street Park. as a part of a larger plan to revision Golden Hill as an Intelligent Community. In our first talk, I agrred that Heads On Fire should come on as a partner. I also that the road ahead held some of the same hurdles the group working on Chicano Park had to clear: presenting a case to the City to get permission to use City property; figuring out how questions of ownership and liability would be answered; and addressing an assortment of security concerns from multiple parties. These are just a few of many. In the case of Chicano Park and some other community wireless efforts I knew about, these issues had mostly been sidestepped with varying degrees of deftness. Beryl and I agreed that someone ought to stop the madness and document some answers to these issues so that the community wireless effort seeking to share municipal space could at least have a road map. Producing that map seemed to me to be an excellent vehicle for the SDCTC to realize its mission. The Board of Directors agreed with me, SDCTC came on as partners. So did SoCalFreeNet.org and the Media Arts Center of San Diego. LessNetworks from Austin, TX agreed to be consultants.