Thoughts on the Internet from Peru
July 13, 2007
Filed under Free Expression
It is evening in Cuzco and I am just back from an amazing two-day trek on the Inca trail. My goals for this trip were simple: take some time away from Internet policy and head to a place that promised adventure and renewal. I have certainly achieved those goals but surprisingly I have also gained a fresh perspective on the work that CDT does and why it matters. As I arrived in Peru, Machu Picchu had just been named one of the seven new wonders of the world. The people of Peru were elated and every newspaper celebrated the victory. What does this have to do with the Internet? Well, as it turns out, everything. The seven new wonders were selected online by a global poll in which over 100 million votes were cast online and on mobile devices. The people of Peru launched a vigorous campaign to ensure that their national treasure won a slot. I don't know the details of the campaign but I do know that there are billboards and flyers everywhere calling on people to go online and vote for Machu Pichu. Bloggers, trekkers and guides were involved and people all over the world responded. One major newspaper in Lima put it this way (apologies for my rough translation): "the success of an ancient technological wonder was made possible by a modern technological wonder, the Internet. CDT's mission is to preserve openness, innovation and freedom on the Internet. Sometimes it is good to stop and reflect on why these values matter. The people of Peru understand why they matter. And because they do, I will return to work with a new sense of purpose.