Archive for By Steve Bratt

Names Not Numbers, New York

I’m on the train from New York City to Boston, after participating in the Names Not Numbers conference on 20 and 21 June. Editorial Intelligence, under the energetic leadership of founder Julia Hobsbawm, has organized these events in the UK for some time, and this was her first event in the US.   Most of the largely fascinating sessions focused on individualism in a mass age, looking mainly from the perspectives of the media, business, politics and arts, in the US and UK.

Julia invited me to speak about the “Internet and Power” — a talk made better through the expert facilitation of Derek Wyatt, whose credits range from being a Member of Parliament to Internet visionary.  To complement other sessions, I focused on the potential power of the Web in the developing world — where that power is needed most.  My goal was that people would leave understanding more about the Web on which much of their creative and business work relies, and that that they must become actively engaged to ensure that the Web is free, open and empowering to everyone on the planet.

Read more

Encouraging and Leveraging an Open Data Deluge

Last Tuesday, I spoke at The Economist ‘s Ideas Economy conference, entitled,  Information:  Making Sense of the Deluge.  In the session “The Promise and Perils of Open Government”, I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with the dynamic Lt. Governor of the State of California, Gavin Newsom.  While he was mayor of San Francisco, Gavin launched pioneering efforts like DataSF, which continues to provide budget, housing, map, crime, job, etc. data in machine-readable formats. Four minutes of our 20 minute discussion can be found on the site and below.

Read more

World Economic Forum – Africa: From Vision to Action

Rajiv Shah, Jakaya Kikwete, Kofi Annan, Klaus Schwab, and other dignataries.

I recently returned from beautiful Cape Town, South Africa and the World Economic Forum on Africa 2011.  Last Friday, I had the honor of being on the panel, Technology Update: The Next Leap Forward.  I had a really super cadre of co-panelists:  Virender Aggarwal (President, Asia, Africa and Middle East, HCL Technologies), Ory Okolloh (Policy Manager, Africa, Google), David Risher (President,, Bright Simons (President, MPedigree) and moderator Peter Wonacott, (Africa Bureau Chief, Wall Street Journal).

Read more

Empower People

We envision a Web that empowers all people, including billions excluded today, by providing new opportunities for creativity, collaboration, teaching, learning, enterprise and a better life. To reach this goal, the Web Foundation will put the power of the Web into the hands of people around the world through effective, high-impact programs.

The Foundation works to remove barriers to creating and consuming Web content, accelerate growth of the Web, understand how the Web works, advance Web technology, and ensure a free and open Web that empowers people to bring about social and economic change.

Video: Exploration, Launch, Farmers, Entrepreneurs

This video..

.. captures static pictures from:

* Exploratory visits to Ghana, Kenya and Uganda by Tim Berners-Lee and colleagues (2008-2009)
* Web Foundation launch, Egypt (Nov 2009)
* Web for Agriculture Initiative, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali (2010-2011)
* Mobile Entrepreneurs Initiative, Ghana (2011)

Read more

Web Index

The Web is young. We do not fully comprehend how this complex and expanding Web of “humanity connected by technology” really works. This is a risk to the creative, yet responsible, evolution of the Web.

The Web Index aims to improve understanding of the Web’s complex nature, and help Web scientists, companies and governments invest in ways that make the Web even more capable and valuable in the future.

One Web

The Web is young. We do not fully comprehend how this complex and expanding Web of “humanity connected by technology” really works. But what we do know, is that the Web works best when the underlying technologies are globally agreed, free and open.

The Web Foundation, working with the Web Science Trust and the World Wide Web Consortium, is working toward One Web for all people.  We work to advance our understanding of the Web, explore next-generation technologies, and develop open standards to make the Web an increasingly powerful tool for all people, around the world.

Destructive Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan: Web Resources Aid Rescue and Recovery Efforts

{ United States Geological Survey.}

People and communities in Japan have been devastated by what will likely be classified as one of the 5 largest earthquakes in recorded human history. The impact of the resulting tsunami may prove even more devastating.  The Sendai earthquake (preliminary magnitude 8.9) struck off the east coast of Honshu, Japan on the boundary between the Pacific and North America plates at 2:46 p.m. local time today, and waves of water generated by that event continued to sweep across the Pacific ocean and coastal towns (see video below) in the subsequent hours.

As is increasingly the case, Web resources are being put into action to find loved ones, map damage, chart emergency facilities, spread news and rally humanitarian aid.  Directories of Web services are being compiled by CNET, Network for Good, MSNBC, The Chronicle of Philanthropy and others.  The Ushahidi platform and OpenStreetMap have once again been placed into action to allow citizens to report and track resources, missing persons, and dangerous situations.  Google launched its Person Finder within 2.5 hours of the main shock.

Read more

Clinton, Berners-Lee, Huffington and Many More Explore a Future Web that is Open, Just and Creative

Omar Wasow, Ben Jealous, Robin Chase, Yvette Alberdingk Thijm, Tim Berners-Lee

This past Wednesday (16 February), the Ford Foundation sponsored “Wired for Change“, a gathering of leaders from foundations, civil society, technology and media to discuss the societal value of the Web*, threats to the Web, and what might be done to expand the value of a free and open Web in the future. Web Foundation founder and Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, WF Chair and Knight Foundation CEO Alberto Ibargüen and I were fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the conversation.

Read more

Campus Party Brazil: No Energy Shortage

Pre-keynote discussion

Take 6,500 people, age 22 plus or minus 4, and with a great passion for information technology.  Mix these folks with 10,000 computing devices, random mass chanting, oodles of applications, 10 simultaneous sessions, flashy vendor booths,  5,000 tents, all within a large warehouse-like structure?  Add to this a massive thunderstorm and temporary power outage.  It’s called “Campus Party” – Brazil 2011.  A fantastic event.

Read more