"Power to the people, ' cause the people want peace" Public Enemy rapped. John Lennon sang it in the last century. Then it was about civil rights and sovereignty and freedom, and the revolution, which according to them was needed. Nothing to do with technology - and yet it is applicable. Digital peace, should it not be a fundamental right? Our internal debate was quite violent- where should the revolution take place, how do we take a stand?
Big questions that can remain quite abstract for a long time. But not if we can help it. Because Waag is the result of a collaboration of artists, hackers and researchers - all in their hearts doers and makers. We want to give people influence on the technology in their lives. This year we celebrate our 20-year anniversary and we decided to join the global, fairly underground movement that wants to make the Internet ‘better’ and more social. Safer and more personal.
But to say that we join is not enough. So we go into action. Yes, we talk, we'll investigate and experiment and evaluate with experts from all possible angles. But we especially want to create commotion and set the wheels in motion.
So, we started out with a big "Let's fix the Internet" event where everyone who is in the know was present, from Bits of Freedom to hackers of the first hour and scientists from the UvA who are working on deep system architecture. Cryptographers and designers. Together we drew up a roadmap for a "better" Internet on which we will work all throughout the year.
From macro to micro level: we tackle the digital freedom of choice in the project 'Open Kaart' (all cards on the table), where Joey finds out which agencies have collected information about him. As he puts it: "Laziness and ignorance make sure that the government can continue collecting as much personal data as it wants, undisturbed." We wonder what we will find on the basis of Joey's research.
Even "smaller", we started CryptoKids: what do our children, the digital natives, actually know about the Internet? Who's in charge, can you actually surf and chat safely, what is the importance of privacy? The first edition took place on 29 January and was instructive for both experts and kids: together we make a workshop that works - let the children decide what works well and doesn’t, so that as many children as possible are aware & safe online. At the same time in our Fabschool series "learning by making and doing" we want to pass “digital skills" - coding and programming - on to young people. These workshops will definitely be on the program in 2014.
"Digital peace" seems a matter of defining boundaries and freedom of choice. We’re working hard on this.