Be A Wonk

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"Be A Wonk" a talk by Patrick Wagstrom from Ohio LinuxFest 2009 that talks about how policy is made and what geeks need to do to influence policy development.

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  • Be A Wonk

    1. 1. Be a Wonk! Patrick Wagstrom Ohio LinuxFest 2009 September 26, 2009 patrick@wagstrom.net http://patrick.wagstrom.net/
    2. 2. Obligatory about me slide <ul><li>Yes, I am a Doctor </li><ul><li>No, I can't help you with the rash you got at Penguicon </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Linux user since 1994
    3. 3. Deployed Linux in wacky environments
    4. 4. Currently research software development and software development communities </li></ul>The views and opinions expressed in this presentation are my own and are not necessarily those of International Business Machines, Carnegie Mellon University, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the Army Research Lab, or any other persons or organizations past, present, or future.
    5. 5. What this talk is and is not... <ul><li>Examples of current issues
    6. 6. Explanation of policy vs law
    7. 7. Guide on how to get involved </li></ul><ul><li>A guide to implement FLOSS in gov't
    8. 8. 100% apolitical
    9. 9. Legal advice – IANAL </li></ul>
    10. 10. Why should FLOSS projects care about Policy?
    11. 11. Why should I care about Policy?
    12. 17. OFAC Embargoed
    13. 18. ITAR Controlled
    14. 19. Any Notable Restrictions
    15. 21. Teh internets
    16. 24. Network Neutrality <ul><li>Exemplar case
    17. 25. Who are the parties here: </li><ul><li>The FCC
    18. 26. Network providers
    19. 27. Service providers
    20. 28. End users </li></ul><li>Status Quo: </li><ul><li>No current law mandating net neutrality! </li></ul></ul>
    21. 29. NN issues <ul><li>ISPs dropping SPAM and DDOS attacks
    22. 30. High bandwidth tools with no latency requirement receiving equal treatment
    23. 31. ISPs imposing bandwidth limits
    24. 32. Wireless internet
    25. 33. Generally intelligent people on both sides </li></ul>
    26. 34. Policy vs Legislation <ul><li>United States code is long and complex... </li><ul><li>BUT </li></ul><li>It doesn't cover close to everything
    27. 35. Congress authorizes an agency to do something, but then leaves the actual implementation and details to the agency </li><ul><li>The decisions of the agency are typically policy </li></ul><li>Frequently congress or the courts need to intervene to correct bad decisions </li></ul>
    28. 36. Who makes policy? <ul><li>Your workplace/university
    29. 37. Local (town)
    30. 38. State
    31. 39. Federal
    32. 40. International Organizations </li></ul>
    33. 41. Know the Agencies <ul><li>FTC
    34. 42. FCC
    35. 43. EPA
    36. 44. WIPO
    37. 45. Numerous other TLAs </li></ul>
    38. 46. Who doesn't make policy? <ul><li>MPAA/RIAA/IFPI
    39. 47. Law enforcement
    40. 48. ISPs
    41. 49. Trade organizations
    42. 50. Individuals </li></ul>
    43. 51. Types of Policy <ul><li>Largely experts in opposition </li><ul><li>Tariffs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Largely experts in favor </li><ul><li>Climate change </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Experts conflicted </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Net Neutrality
    44. 52. Privacy
    45. 53. Cryptography </li></ul></ul>
    46. 54. You might be an expert... <ul><li>If you work with something every day
    47. 55. If people ask you questions about it
    48. 56. You hold an advanced degree
    49. 57. You've implemented something in a novel context
    50. 58. Your business operates in the same market </li></ul>
    51. 59. WONK K O W N <ul><li>An overly studious or hard-working person
    52. 60. A pernickety person who overly focuses on details
    53. 61. A nerd or an expert
    54. 62. (US politics) shorthand for a policy wonk </li></ul>– Definitions from wikitionary.org
    55. 63. How to follow legislation? <ul><li>GovTrack.us / OpenCongress.org
    56. 64. Thomas
    57. 65. Various Blogs </li><ul><li>Ars Technica
    58. 66. Freedom to Tinker
    59. 67. Public Knowledge
    60. 68. Electronic Frontier Foundation </li></ul></ul>
    61. 69. When to contact your legislator <ul><li>Bills go through 3 primary stages: </li><ul><li>Drafting
    62. 70. Committee
    63. 71. Full Chamber
    64. 72. (resolution) </li></ul></ul>
    65. 73. Why doesn't my legislator care? <ul><li>Enough bills that most can't track every piece
    66. 74. Unless your legislator is on the committee, they won't read the bill until it's in the full chamber
    67. 75. Sometimes your legislator lacks expertise in the area </li><ul><li>This is your opening – you are the expert, you can help </li></ul></ul>
    68. 76. Postal Mail <ul><li>Most gets read – </li><ul><li>Very slow, often filtered (especially at fed)
    69. 77. No guarantee that the correct person will read it
    70. 78. At state level, often the policy maker reads it </li></ul></ul>
    71. 79. Email <ul><li>Quick and immediate, but typically isn't weighed as much
    72. 80. Automated systems cause problems with email issues
    73. 81. Gov't systems typically lack robust spam filters </li></ul>
    74. 82. FCC Complains by Month 24,068 17,837 505 179,997 OMGWTFBBQ?
    75. 84. Phone Calls <ul><li>Don't expect your rep pick up the phone </li><ul><li>Ask for the staffer for your issue </li></ul><li>Be patient – limited number of phone lines for calls
    76. 85. Be aware of what time it is when you are calling – lunch break for you typically means lunch break for them </li></ul>Phone Call + Letter = Best Choice
    77. 88. Effective Communication <ul><li>Write out what you're going to say </li><ul><li>Or at least an outline </li></ul><li>Have someone else read it
    78. 89. Rewrite what you're going to say
    79. 90. Be “Clean”
    80. 91. Practice
    81. 92. Practice
    82. 93. Practice </li></ul>
    83. 94. Key Terms <ul><li>Risk
    84. 95. Benefit-Cost Analysis
    85. 96. Net Present Value
    86. 97. Precedent </li></ul>
    87. 98. Risk <ul><li>Everything presents a range of possible outcomes
    88. 99. If possible, be aware of this range: </li><ul><li>“Experts estimate there is an 80% chance network neutrality will create more jobs” </li></ul><li>Risk is not an abstract term </li></ul>
    89. 100. Benefit-Cost Analysis <ul><li>Are the costs less than the benefits?
    90. 101. What about non-monetary costs and benefits? </li><ul><li>Lives saved
    91. 102. Productivity increases
    92. 103. etc </li></ul><li>Allocation of costs vs benefits </li></ul>
    93. 104. Net Present Value? From the Arizona Republic: For possible sale with a lease-back: Two three-story buildings, constructed in 1960, with a connecting basement, electronic-voting system and reliable, if somewhat combative, tenants. The Arizona Legislature, in a bid to close up the state budget, is looking to sell the House and Senate buildings and lease them back for as long as 20 years. The move would cost as much as $1.2 billion in lease payments, but give the state some quick cash, possibly up to $735 million. An increase of 7 percent in the broadband adoption rate in every state, yields an overall economic benefit of approximately $134 billion a year. This would product 2.4 million jobs, saving $92 billion; $35.2 billion in benefits from accessing broadband at home; $6.4 billion from the reduced needs for travel; $662 million in health care savings; and $18.2 million in carbon credits. http://connectednation.org/research/economic_impact_study/
    94. 105. Precedents <ul><li>Establish prior success
    95. 106. Make programs easier to sell
    96. 107. Provide public with a comparison point </li></ul>
    97. 108. Helping out...In your own geeky way <ul><li>Visit http://www.data.gov/
    98. 109. Let your local reps know you can help
    99. 110. Contribute to online discussions </li><ul><li>Remember the hints from two slides ago </li></ul></ul>

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