I’m pleased to welcome Brooke Oberwetter back to the TLF after 2.5 year stint working for The Man. Make no mistake about it, she’s a hard-core TechLiberationista, having worked as a policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and research assistant at the Cato Institute. She’s now a freelance writer in Washington, DC. (In fact, she lives just down the street from me on the Yuppie Frontier of Shaw!)
Brooke achieved international celebrity as “The Jefferson 1″ after she was arrested in a non-violent, silent iPod-toting flashmob celebration of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday at the Jefferson Memorial on April 13, 2008. I was there that night to see the petty tyranny of the State, that Coldest of all Cold Monsters, in action. I can only say that we couldn’t have asked for a better or more articulate martyr for the cause of Liberty. See for yourself what happened:
Ahoy, TLFers! Looking for a way to do your part for the Cyber-Libertarian Resistance?
We’ve recently upgraded the site with a new look developed by our own Jerry Brito (preserving PJ Doland’s iconic art work) based on the Thesis Theme for WordPress. We now need help customizing Thesis to improve the functionality of the site—like allowing users to access lists of content sorted by category, author or tag. If you think you might be able to help, please drop me a line at bszoka [at] pff [dot] org. We’d be very grateful for your help!
As we’ve noted here before, there are many ways to follow the TLF. [Did you notice those cool icons over on the upper right-hand side of the page?] But we wanted to make sure that our readers were aware of our Twitter feed, in particular, as well as the individual feeds of some of our contributors. So, in case you are interested, here ya go!
Five years ago today the Technology Liberation Front (the “TLF”) got underway with this post. The idea for the TLF came about after I asked some tech policy wonks whether it was worth put together a blog dedicated to covering Internet-related issues from a cyber-libertarian perspective. The model I had in mind was a “Volokh Conspiracyfor Tech Issues,” if you will. I wanted to bring together a collection of sharp, liberty-loving wonks (most of whom worked in the think tank world) to talk about their research on this front and to give them a place to post their views on breaking tech policy developments. It was to be a sort of central clearinghouse for libertarian-oriented tech policy analysis and advocacy.
At first, Tim Lee and I debated whether it even made sense to have that sort of narrow focus, but I think the passage of time and the rise of plenty of competition on this front shows that it was worthwhile. And I’ve been very pleased with the tag-team effort of all our TLF contributors and the way—without anyone planning it, in true libertarian fashion—we’ve sort of developed a nice division of labor on various tech policy issues.
Perhaps a few stats are in order on this occasion to mark our progress 5 years in. The best indication of our success is the fact that our Pagerank (Google’s logarithmic scale of website importance based on links to that site) has reached 7/10—the same score shared by the Volokh Conspiracy (our model), as well as Techmeme (the leading tech news aggregator), the Cato Institute, CDT, etc. (For comparison: ArsTechnica and EFF are 8s.) Unfortunately, we’ve only been using Google Analytics for three of the past five years, so it’s impossible to get a authoritative accounting of traffic growth since Day 1. But here are few markers:
2,698 RSS subscribers
15,763 unique visitors per month
1,000,000 pageviews since Nov. 2006 when we started using Google Analytics
Please join us tonight for a very special Alcohol Liberation Front happy hour at Rocket Bar, 714 7th ST (7th & G) right across from the Chinatown/Verizon Center metro (Red/Green/Yellow) in D.C., 6:30-8:30ish.
Please join us as we celebrate, commiserate and plan for the next five years of fighting the good cyber-libertarian fight. We’ll even through in a free TLF laptop sticker! Just RSVP on Facebook!
Five years ago, we started the TLF to report on—and hopefully help to reverse—this dangerous trend of over-regulation of the Internet, communications, media and high-technology in general. We’ve become a full-service technology policy blog that covers complete gamut of public policy issues affecting the future of the Internet and technology.
Please join us as we celebrate, commiserate and plan for the next five years of fighting the good cyber-libertarian fight. We’ll even through in a free TLF laptop sticker! Just RSVP on Facebook today!
RocketBar will be offering the following drink specials:
$3 PBR cans,
$5 Rail Cocktails,
$5 House Wine and
$4.50 Miller High Life 16oz cans.
They have a wide variety of games, so you can get your pool/shuffleboard/darts/Risk/Trivial Pursuit on.
Adam Thierer recruited me to contribute to what became the Technology Liberation Front way back in August 2004, when I was fresh out of college and working as a writer at the Cato Institute. My first post was about DRM (I was against it). I remember going back and forth with Adam about whether there was really a demand for a libertarian tech-policy blog. I think the last five years have laid those questions to rest, as both our traffic and our list of contributors have grown steadily. The last year or so has gone especially well, as we’ve been joined by Ryan, Berin, and Alex and Adam inaugurated new features like his annual Best Tech Books series.
At the same time, I’ve been blessed with a steadily growing list of other blogging opportunities. I’m now nominally a regular contributor to at least 6 blogs. In practice, this has meant woefully neglecting all six of them. And at the same time, I’ve had a number of people complain that it’s impossible to follow my writing, scattered as it is in so many places.
So I’ve decided that now is a good time to “go solo.” I’ve launched a new blog called “Bottom-Up,” and I’m going to be ending or scaling back my involvement with all the other blogs to which I nominally contribute. This will be my last post at TLF, and starting tomorrow the vast majority of my blogging activities will be found at the new site.
Some of what I’ll be talking about will be familiar to longtime TLF readers. I did a post today on the decline of newspapers, a topic I’ve weighed in before. But I’ll also be covering some new ground. This post, for example, examines the why Darwin’s theory of evolution remains so controversial after 150 years. I hope you’ll check it out, and if it looks interesting, please subscribe.
In closing, I want to thank my fellow TLFers, with whom I’ve fought the good fight over the last five years. I’m excited to see what they come up with in the next five years.
As you might have noticed, we’re giving the TLF a facelift as we approach our five-year anniversary on August 14. Our own Jerry Brito is leading the charge, with Cord Blomquist and PJ Doland providing backup vocals. Thanks, guys!
We’re still ironing out bugs and experimenting with widgets, but we’d welcome your feedback as we work things out. Please feel free to share your thoughts on the new design or features by posting comments here, or to email me at bszoka <at> pff.org.
Just a reminder, we’re meeting at the Science Club on Tuesday, July 14 for one of our semi-regular happy hours: 1136 19th St NW, Washington DC from 5:30-8 pm. The club will be offering happy hour drink specials.
We’ll celebrate the Digital Revolution (while also denouncing the scourge of centralizing, totalitarian Digital Jacobinism). All those interested in technology, the freedom of technology and technologies of freedom are welcome.
Hello, and welcome to the Technology Liberation Front blog. Does the world really need another blog, you might ask? Well, yes, on this issue the world most certainly does need another blog because there’s not another one like this out there.
Do you remember when politicians would run around saying government should keep its “Hands off the Net”? It was nice rhetoric while it lasted but, ultimately, it was a hollow promise. Today the government has its hands all over the Internet. It’s difficult to name an area where lawmakers and regulators are not currently promulgating or considering rules and regulations for the high-technology and communications sectors.
This is why this site is needed. We aim to report on, and hopefully help to reverse, this dangerous trend of over-regulation of the Internet, communications, media and high-technology in general. We will not hide our love of liberty on this site and we will take every opportunity to castigate those who call for expanding the reach of government into these fields.
Second, this will be what you might call a full-service technology policy blog. While there are other technology blogs out there, those dealing with public policy often seem to be focused on just a few core issues. In particular, copyright law dominates the discussion on many blogs these days. While that’s understandable given the increasing intersection of copyright law and technology policy, one wonders why other sites haven’t popped up to cover a broader array of topics in our exploding universe of high technology pubic policy issues, including: First Amendment & free speech concerns; regulation of e-commerce markets and online services; privacy regulation; SPAM; spectrum management policy and wireless issues; broadcast television and radio regulation; media ownership / concentration concerns; traditional telecom regulatory policy; broadband Internet deployment policy; cable regulation; VoIP issues; network regulation and open access mandates; Internet taxation; online gambling; cyber-surveillance issues; and the role of the Federal Communications Commission and other regulatory agencies in the Information Age. And that just scratches the surface of what we’ll be covering here.
Third, this blog is not a one-man show. We have brought together several of the brightest and most provocative minds in the field of technology public policy today to compile and comment on the important developments of the day. This will help us keep the site fresh, entertaining and informative.
We hope you enjoy the site and will pass word on to friends who might also be interested in these issues. We also hope you will be willing to provide feedback on our entries and please let us know how we can improve the site to make it more useful and consumer-friendly.