[okfn-advisory] Open Knowledge positioning

Daniel Dietrich daniel.dietrich at okfn.org
Thu Feb 26 17:18:41 UTC 2015

Dear all,

I totally agree with Glyn that there are current struggles around several digital rights issues that will have significant affect on the work Open Knowledge foundation is focussing on at this times. 

I also agree with Laura, that we should remain having a focus on "our core" topics/expertise. But this does, in my view, by no means mean that we could/should not have a clearly expressed position on these other important topics. Although we might not wish to nor be able to take a leading role in each particular struggle (the later, I think, I agree with Hannes who made a point for focus). 

Again I think having a voice on other related digital issues doesn't mean losing focus. At this point I think, not all the issues have equally "direct affect" on our work/mission, e.g. privacy and surveillance perhaps have a little less direct affect than copyright reform, DRM or net neutrality (although I am aware that this is a terribly simplistic approach).

At the end of the day the main question will be, how much resources we will be able and willing to dedicate to each of the topics. Why does the OKF not have a dedicated policy person on pay-roll? I think we should seriously think how we could cross-finance such a position to drive the agenda forward and have an adequate visible voice in those important debates.


Daniel Dietrich, co-founder & chairman
Open Knowledge Foundation Germany
www.okfn.de | info at okfn.de | @okfde 
Office: +49 30 57703666 0 | Fax: - 9
Mobile: +49 176 32768530 

> On 22 Feb 2015, at 18:33, Laura James <lbjames at gmail.com> wrote:
> Glyn, 
> Thanks for starting this discussion! 
> I'm quite torn on this topic, and look forward to hearing what others think.
> I agree the various 'digital rights' issues you mention are greatly important at the present time, and do intersect with Open Knowledge topics. There would be value in, say, advocacy work combining such issues, which would help raise the profile of the open knowledge piece with specialist campaigners in related areas.
> However, open knowledge remains a less well known issue than, say, surveillance, FOSS, and DRM. These other issues take (almost total) precedence for groups like EDRI, EFF etc, which is fine and understandable; but there are far fewer (civil society) groups pushing for openness. If we believe open knowledge matters in and of itself, then this is a message which needs spreading effectively and clearly. Open data, open access, etc, remain niche topics, little known or unknown or misunderstood outside their own communities. The misunderstandings include intentional openwashing, accidental misuse of the term 'open', and odd interpretations such as 'open data' being just about government data, or about economic growth.    Broader understanding of the power and benefits of openness in a civil society context is essential to achieve our goals, and focussed communications will help here. 
> Open Knowledge remains a fairly small organisation, undoubtedly with more limited resources than would be desirable. Focussing effort on open topics is likely to achieve better impact than trying to cover many topics with limited resource (especially as to be effective in each issue requires a level of up to date knowledge and expertise, which is challenging for a small team to maintain). 
> On balance, then, I would look for focus on open knowledge topics day to day, taking advantage of opportunities with related fields when they arise and the capacity to do so is available. Longer term, with (anticipated) greater capacity and with wider comprehension of the basic message of openness, this could shift to more active engagement with and advocacy of related digital rights issues. 
> Laura
> On 22 February 2015 at 10:47, glyn moody <glyn.moody at gmail.com> wrote:
> During last week's Advisory Council call, one issue that came up was
> to what extent OK should be taking positions and engaging with areas
> that affect its work, but which are not directly part of it.
> For example, currently there are important discussions taking place
> around the world concerning copyright reform, DRM, Net neutrality,
> surveillance, privacy, encryption, open source adoption etc.
> My view is that these are so far-reaching in their impact that it is
> clear their outcome will affect OK in crucial ways.  I therefore
> believe that it is legitimate and even necessary for OK to join the
> debates, rather than to hold back from expressing its views, and to
> risk seeing policies being adopted that are detrimental to OK's aims.
> However, others feel that this kind of engagement is not appropriate
> given the overall mission of OK.
> This is to invite others on this list to give their views on this issue.
> --
> Best wishes
> Glyn
> http://opendotdotdot.blogspot.com
> http://twitter.com/glynmoody
> http://identi.ca/glynmoody
> https://plus.google.com/+glynmoody/
> Please use PGP key servers (e.g. http://kerckhoffs.surfnet.nl/) to
> confirm following:
> Version: GnuPG v1.4.12 (GNU/Linux)
> mQENBFGhDsEBCADEBwqPh44LHDeNRMnifk5RTXMBmG5cjtrKuwm69hecZmdxy0t0
> wlr4DMeEW/4Dfo73CXbu6cIXPDwY49bxXuu54xuuAHGzcj2iYNvgnIKGz+wpLH/+
> OV2hCo1hK47/VLv6dd00ZrqrOPFvTYP/Hd8MvlSL3hv/0xtE8BBbU0i4e8ipRWL+
> 3oCMGPaGnBQnyQqT3lpqAkUkWGCk72lHhmG9VFcOvr/vbCb2NGEZ7HJH1FxpRRkb
> j1aMKKQJZvN+YfCwLUALjtVfqVuYsGO75MbWqp3PfAekDgUAhjdhsL+29ltuKdZ0
> byrx4kwdU6ZrxZyyKFvatdn8s23zA6cenwV34j+BUYHbwAoq1rpaLoR2aCgpXSUb
> +LOjHWUtgx1hc4hqLGleQYQF7oUsnxt0Ma8Kg52umwW/SwYizBDidVhaj9sYsc71
> 2f7YyGlRsW+/1pxAOJqfPqYQ61OCTHTzY+NTQVn/b+82BL+y4GBK0iND+SLX7RUU
> WcwT/3nscwJvVBkaJALOdSUZE5R+fta++FooWEF4tyoTjhNosItQV4syVFqrVQhQ
> hWUkdlCbifelCVMSxoB1vhVHLFB1MyHx93rIAAP6W44PRn6CVsuldxO2TCJrbbbS
> Psc1DrkBDQRRoQ7BAQgAsdRrdFqHFC0+40zlJxpqtGEX/XgAnA1WawpMFS8ih0qi
> opfuRno+LaC5sNkPlfMbw2VsQfdH8JJHzJHwcbT5+FHBGqEf6aqHwSRTZWtz1yCk
> 8i+Ju/9GG4mD00fCxOlyfNIIzsjzSpXRzJsqdVmGCOd3dMLjC63rkybB6iUqmSuW
> WuUA6LGT7oxiKXv/aQc2Khwt70He48XTqmO/u5244wLPm7p04UiZfctZUsw/OR59
> G+yAJKvadTVMmc4Dwz05OiWiOVzuWkIQpkwEH7xTRt+gRccg6/5B82rB1RBKJ3+r
> 7+x9iEhyTm02NjTX5+fvwL2yyijzqKOfc7F7bTLE9EQEINSMJwzioU9MwLjd4j7X
> rN8vrhlZP3MgcNaXeN6+pfw7ROf53baE6qJ0smonwyoUwHD8ewFEpFUqwEcIohh+
> QTlhisqjyOT9BgzOIjqbbNSkImaN68q6Z7ChiDVe07FDhbIgZXFhimP9nx8jvfrB
> x6iWQeeCqOpWXOCzQDIUgMwsW6UGxRnaA3AsQzMh3uCvzdNmTJdCwW6Ek16Feac5
> 3YO3YDOzxC1+HftgvxfD5Yu8/7vOh//DCZTUQGzNZ9NCPaaa7mCeOp+dDfY=
> =wFDl
> _______________________________________________
> okfn-advisory mailing list
> okfn-advisory at lists.okfn.org
> https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-advisory
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/okfn-advisory
> _______________________________________________
> okfn-advisory mailing list
> okfn-advisory at lists.okfn.org
> https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/okfn-advisory
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/options/okfn-advisory

More information about the okfn-advisory mailing list