The Tone at Personal Democracy Forum

     Personal Democracy Forum, a two-day conference on technology and individual liberties, takes place this year amid the sprawling beast that is New York City’s Internet Week. But PDF, now in its eighth year, is very much its own little beast. And a self-righteous little beast at that, dubbing itself “the world’s biggest conference on how technology is changing politics, government, and civic life.”

     So far, we’ve heard from Susan Morgan, executive director of the Global Network Initiative; Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of such foreboding titles as The Googlization of Everything and Why We Should Worry and The Anarchist in the Library: How the Clash Between Freedom and Control Is Hacking the Real World and Crashing the System; Danah Boyd (or danah boyd, she insists), a social media researcher at Microsoft who warns, in the battle over individual privacy, “what we’re really missing is a theory or conceptualization of what network privacy looks like”; and Marietje Schaake, a member of the European Parliament from the Netherlands’ Social Liberal Party and advocate for access to the Internet as a fundamental human right.

     Vaidhyanathan’s call to fight for network neutrality drew the first spontaneous applause. Schaake’s praise for the protesters in Egypt drew the second. More to come.