Freedom of the Internet demonstration, TBT

Odd to see this Internet ban memory from my final days as an expat in Istanbul at a time when America is voting to save or kill Net Neutrality tomorrow.

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A photo author, journalist & mid-east politics expert Hugh Pope took of me midway in the march from his Istiklal apartment.

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What Hugh Pope wrote about that day:

Some pictures of demonstrators on Sunday 15 May 2011 calling for reform of Turkey's new conservative internet laws in Istanbul's Istiklal St today - the biggest, loudest and happiest protest I've seen in more than a decade of living in the city center. Some signs were funny too: "Dawkins is a scientist, not a pornographer, you retard!" "Your Internet is being cut according to Islamic regulations" (carried by the two gentlemen in chador-like garb, punning on signs in religious-minded meat shops) "EnSUCKlopedia" (well, roughly), "Censorship for Security is like Sex for Virginity" and "Hands off my porn". 

Unless the government backtracks, a whole new system goes into force on 22 August. Internet providers will be obliged to offer every subscriber four filters of varying severity, and forcing Internet cafes to choose which sites can be accessed in advance. Any attempt to bypass such regulations will be criminal, and all Internet providers will be responsible for enforcement. 

The liberal Radikal newspaper, for instance, compares this coming system to that of China, Iran or Cuba. This appears to be a new turn for Turkey, which has so far been ambivalent on Internet freedom - YouTube was banned for what seemed like years, but even the Prime Minister noted that it was easy to use a proxy server to reach it. But from 22 August even proxies will be banned ... and all this in a country negotiating to join the EU! 

Not only Turks are concerned. Turkey's expat harem's Queen of Social Media, Anastasia Ashman, peeled off the crowds to visit and tweet from our windows overlooking the crowds of tens of thousands (see picture). At the same time, her Internet guru husband Burc managed to get my wi-fi system working properly for the first time in five years. So a big catch-up for me and I hope the demo will turn into a giant step forward for Turkey.

Second Screen featured in Europe's leading magazine for media & entertainment industry

In January I took a cofounder & COO role in Second Screen, a mobile startup in LA's Silicon Beach that aims to become the Netflix of bite-size series. Europe's magazine for the media & entertainment industry interviewed us for their May issue when they took a look at the adoption of second screen technology and other rapidly growing areas of mobile content.

Today they made the Second Screen app their cover star. Thanks to TVB editor Jenny Priestley for the interview of Second Screen's founder & CEO Estella Gabriel.

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"Wouldn't the clever idea be to create an app where viewers can watch content but also comment about it?" asks TVB Europe's editor in her note prefacing the magazine.

Estella talks about social discovery: "Instead of an algorithm like Netflix has, we use a referral system. You can see what your friends are watching."

You can read the whole issue here.

TBT, to the book launch of The Season Of The Witch

This was a fun night with Fast Company journalist EB Liza Boyd at the Elks Club for Salon founder David Talbot.

His book "chronicles the cultural history of San Francisco and from the late 1960s to the early 1980s when figures such as Harvey Milk, Janis Joplin, Jim Jones, and Bill Walsh helped usher it from backwater city to thriving metropolis."