The FLOK (free, libre, open knowledge) Society project is in progress in Ecuador, where we’re creating a open platform for open technology-focused policy making, enabled by a combination of open technical infrastructures and democratic decision making. The current project will result in a set of 10-15 policy frameworks for the National Assembly of Ecuador, and other public institutions, culminating in a participatory policy summit at the end of May 2014. It has the potential to be extended into a permanent, global platform for policy work, supported by the original FLOKSociety hacktivist initiators, the P2P Foundation network and partners.
In ONE sentence, tell us about your project to strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation.
We’re working to create a permanent, expandable platform for open technology-focused policy making, as free technical infrastructures can only exist in the favourable context of a more open society.
Who will benefit from what you propose? What have you observed that makes you think that?
The project has the potential to empower and transform local policy and decision-making processes through our open knowledge platform. Following the global responses we have received, we believe that the time is right for an expanded effort rooted in various locations, in order to refine locally-adapted policy models, validated by local input and experience. A truly open Internet doesn’t only depend on the interconnection of bottom-up open technologies, but also requires policy frameworks that are favourable to their adoption and maintenance. Cities, regions, nation-states and supra-national entities will be able to benefit from collaborative open policy-making, learning from each other’s experiences.
What progress have you made so far?
FLOKS' collaborative efforts have already produced 10 draft policy proposals toward an integrated transition program, the first effort of its kind. Our documents on Human Capabilities, Commons Oriented Productive Capacities, Social Infrastructure and Institutional Innovation, Open Technical Infrastructures, and Commons Infrastructure for Collective Life may be viewed (under the heading of Research - Streams) on the FLOKSociety wiki (http://en.wiki.floksociety.org). These proposals will be presented and discussed at a global-local summit in Quito at the end of May 2014.
What would be a successful outcome for your idea or project?
We’re working to make it possible not only to adopt, but adapt, a policy-making platform, where the emerging social needs and proposals of the sharing, P2P, commons, open data, free culture, and other 'open' movements can express their needs for policy support. Ideally, this platform will become a repository of policy proposals, offering a means of evaluation and cross-learning, as well as mutual support in advancing the legal and policy infrastructures that would enable an open society based on open technological infrastructures. All this would be open for officials, citizens, policy makers, advocacy movements, and hackers to easily find prior proposals and experiences and build on them, and each year, a new locale will be sought to continue the work in locally embedded ways, with our team committed to anchoring this effort.
Who is on your team, and what are their relevant experiences or skills?
The core group of researchers are Michel Bauwens, Belgium-Thailand, (P2P/Commons Transition Policies) ; Daniel Araya (Open Education, Open Science, Human Capabilities), Jenny Torres, Ecuador (Open Technical Infrastructures); John Restakis, Canada-Italy (Institutional Innovation, Licenses, New Forms of Governance and Property); George Dafermos, Crete-Greece (Open and Distributed Energy, Manufacturing and Agriculture); Janice Figueiredo, Brazil (Commons for Collective Life, i.e. open food networks, open currencies, open urbanism).
Our core FLOKSociety team are supported by a much larger network of researchers, activists, and hackers associated with organisations such as the P2P Foundation, Shareable, the Commons Strategies Group, ShareLex, Free Knowledge Institute and others. We have legal assistance from a team of lawyers experienced in the 'open', 'sharing' economy, and technical support from a network of hackers/open IT experts associated with civic movements such as 15M in Spain.
Quito, Ecuador / Global. Our team members and network live and work in many different parts of the world. The project intends to be both a global virtual platform, and also a team which will travel, at least three months a year, to locales and institutions interested adapting our policy proposals to local needs. Most likely, our next location will be Seoul, South Korea. Our plan is to find partners in a different continent each year.