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Freedom to Connect, May 21-22nd in DC

F2C: Freedom to Connect will be held on May 21 and 22, 2012 at AFI Silver Theatre in Washington DC.

Benoît will be speaking there as a keynote on the first morning, talking about the movement towards Gigabit connectivity and  highlighting some of the research from The Gigabit Race is On!

The line-up of the event is nothing short of astounding: Vint Cerf (who needs no introduction), Cory Doctorow (as great an author as a tech and policy journalist), Blair Levin (of National Broadband Plan and GigU fame), Bill Schrier (CTO of Seattle and digital city luminary), Sascha Meinrath (Internet in a Suitcase and much more), Doc Searls (Cluetrain Manifesto, The Intention Economy), Larry Lessig (Founder for Internet and Society), and these are just a few of the internet luminaries that will be there.

From our point of view, this is the event to attend in the US if you care about the future of the internet. You will therefore forgive us for a bit of endorsement: Registration is open. Admission is $395 until May 7, when it rises to $595.

Finally, here’s the F2C Manifesto:

F2C: Freedom to Connect is a conference devoted to preserving and celebrating the essential properties of the Internet. The Internet is a success today because it is stupid, abundant and simple. In other words, its neutrality, its openness to rapidly developing technologies and its layered architecture are the reasons it has succeeded where others (e.g., ISDN, Interactive TV) failed.

The Internet’s issues are under-represented in Washington DC policy circles. F2C: Freedom to Connect is designed to advocate for innovation, for creativity, for expression, for little-d democracy. The Freedom to Connect is about an Internet that supports human freedoms and personal security. These values, held by many of us whose consciousness has been shaped by the Internet, are not common on K Street or Capitol Hill or at the FCC.

F2C: Freedom to Connect is about having access to the Internet as infrastructure. Infratructures belong to — and enrich — the whole society in which they exist. They gain value — in a wide variety of ways, some of which are difficult to anticipate — when more members of society have access to them. F2C: Freedom to Connect especially honors those who build communications infrastructure for the Internet in their own communities, often overcoming resistance from incumbent cable and telephone companies to do so.

The phrase Freedom to Connect is now official US foreign policy, thanks to Secretary of State Clinton’sRemarks on Internet Freedom in 2010. She said that Freedom to Connect is, “the idea that governments should not prevent people from connecting to the internet, to websites, or to each other. The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly, only in cyberspace.” Her speech presaged the Internet-fueled assemblies from Alexandria, Egypt to Zuccotti Park.


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