Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Nature of Nature Photography

The Winning Shot by Paul Sounders
Three jurors for National Geographic Magazine's annual photography contest discuss their criteria for selecting this year's winners.

The photograph that they gave top honors -- Paul Sounders shot of a submerged polar bear with the Arctic sun hovering above a distant horizon -- was a clear favorite of all three.

A photograph of distinction. And yet it looks to me like an image of a type that is all too commonplace at National Geographic and other nature photography publications. While proficient in technique, composition and execution, it's all too familiar to the genre -- an animal in its natural setting -- to be staid.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Why 60 Minutes Needs a Public Editor

The New 'Black Rock'?
"The most important thing about that show is the quality," CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves told the Hollywood Reporter last year. "They take time to do those stories."

The object of Moonves' appreciation, of course, is 60 Minutes. Given the venerable news program's recent missteps, one has to wonder whether this commitment to quality -- or even basic fact-checking -- remains strong.

On Sunday, 60 Minutes aired an embarrassing "exclusive" from inside the National Security Agency, which featured a lengthy interview with NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander. But the 27-minute report failed to challenge any of the questionable claims Alexander has made about the NSA's mass surveillance programs.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Payola Internet

Taking the Internet back to the future.
2013 could mark the end of the era of Internet openness.

If, as many expect, a federal appeals court rules to allow an Internet payola system, phone and cable companies will start to prioritize access to the few online sites and services that can afford to pay them extra.

The court deciding Verizon vs. FCC could issue its ruling as early as Christmas. The judges hearing the case in September seemed inclined to strike down the Federal Communications Commission’s ability to prevent Internet service providers from the practice of “paid prioritization,” where companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon pick winners and losers online.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Defying Washington to Save the Internet

Co-authored by S. Derek Turner

It’s a rarity in Washington to see a communications bill that actually serves the public.

But a bill Sen. Jay Rockefeller introduced last week is a direct challenge to the communications cabal that controls much of our media in the United States.

For that the Consumer Choice in Online Video Act faces very long odds. But Rockefeller’s bill does so much for Internet users and video watchers that it deserves everyone’s support.

Sen. Rockefeller, who is serving out his final term in Congress, has clearly been emboldened by the open Internet movement. Over the past decade, millions of people have spoken out to preserve Net Neutrality, stop online censorship and protect our rights to connect and communicate. We recognize the power of free speech and access to information that the Internet enables, and we’re using the Internet in growing numbers to protect these rights against corporate and governmental abuse.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Self-Censorship from Beijing to the Bay Area

Online news organization ProPublica on Friday launched a special feature documenting censorship on social media in China.

China's Memory Hole focuses on censorship of users of Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, which filters out "undesirable" content from the more than 100 million items that are posted there daily.

A team of ProPublica writers, technicians and translators combed through deleted items after gaining access to and monitoring Sina Weibo's network over a five-month period.

ProPublica is vague -- perhaps intentionally -- about the actual mechanics of their monitoring.

We do know that China has assigned the task of blocking social media content to the privately held companies that run the services. It’s a comprehensive self-censorship approach that keeps the companies guessing on the limits of appropriate public discourse.

Monday, October 28, 2013

What Ted Cruz Doesn't Want You to Know

Originally published at Bill Moyers & Company

By now it seems pretty clear that Sen. Ted Cruz has a plan to occupy the White House. But he doesn't want people to know too much about it.

And he definitely doesn't want you to know about the special interests that have already begun to bankroll his political ambitions.

That's why the Texas senator's latest crusade targets the Federal Communications Commission -- and its efforts to better identify the funders of political ads.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hacking Partisanship

Washington likes to talk bipartisanship.

 During the 16-day government shutdown, elected officials from both parties clogged the airwaves with rhetoric about crossing over, finding common cause with political foes and ending the standoff.

But sincerity was in short supply as few took real action, cheesy photo-ops notwithstanding. The agreement struck last Thursday night was more a delaying tactic than a genuine effort to resolve longstanding disputes.

This isn’t the first time reckless politics have ground Washington to a halt. Congress’ inability to agree on a budget mimics its recent failures to address climate change, income inequality and gun violence.

But there’s a new issue that seems to defy this pattern of dysfunction. It’s the subject of a hopeful new book, which documents the bipartisan (some would say “post-partisan”) organizing that in 2012 led to the defeat of two copyright bills that threatened the open Internet.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Telling the Non-Story

David Guttenfelder. Images from North Korea.

Photography defies narrative.

And it's those photographers who try without irony to control photographic detail -- to lock everything within the frame into some preconceived story -- who often fail.

When we look at images we often see something other than what the subject (and even the photographer) is trying to show.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Internet Freedom: A Disturbing View from the Trenches

Is the Internet freedom movement a thing? That depends on whom you ask, and where you live.

In the United States, more than two million people rallied to demand Net Neutrality in 2010. Our ranks swelled to the tens of millions in the 2012 fight to kill legislation that would have let Hollywood wreak havoc on the open Internet in its heavy-handed hunt for copyright pirates.

Globally, we’ve come together to protest any treaty or multinational agreement, like theTrans-Pacific Partnership, that threatens online speech and privacy.

We’ve formed international coalitions in support of the Declaration of Internet Freedom, and recently presented the U.N. Human Rights Council with international principles designed to protect our rights to free speech and privacy in the face of international mass surveillance of communications.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Verizon's Plan to Break the Internet

Verizon has big plans for the Internet. And if that doesn’t worry you, it should.

The company is trying to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order, which prevents Internet service providers from blocking, throttling or otherwise discriminating against online content.

And in court last Monday, Verizon lawyer Helgi Walker made the company’s intentions all too clear, saying the company wants to prioritize those websites and services that are willing to shell out for better access.

She also admitted that the company would like to block online content from those companies or individuals that don’t pay Verizon’s tolls.

In other words, Verizon wants to control your online experience and make the Internet more like cable TV, where your remote offers only the illusion of choice.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Internet S.O.S.

Is the Internet on life support?

Last week we learned that U.S. and British intelligence agencies have broken the back of digital encryption — the coded technology hundreds of millions of Internet users rely on to keep their communications private.

Over the weekend, Der Spiegel reported that the NSA and its British counterpart are also hacking into smartphones to monitor our daily lives in ways that wouldn’t have been possible before the age of the iPhone.

This news, just the latest revelations from the files of Edward Snowden, only heighten our sense that we can no longer assume anything we say or do online is secure.

Telco Market Research Gone Awry

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Your Rights: Gone with a Click

What do you give up every time you "agree" to a website's terms of service?

These online agreements are as ubiquitous as the sites that use them. In exchange for using Google to search the Web or Facebook to connect and share information with friends, we surrender much more than we think.

In his new documentary, Terms and Conditions May Apply, Cullen Hoback pores over the terms of service offered by these and other online companies. Buried in the fine print that few read he finds evidence that we're living in a new age of total surveillance, one that most of us unwittingly opted into with a click.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mining China's Snapshot Memories

Story originally posted at Tumblr.

Where do old negatives go to die?

Frenchman Thomas Sauvin knows well the life-span of color film. For years he has scoured China for cast off snapshots from the local population.

But it wasn't until he saw an ad placed in a local newspaper that he found out.

Mr. Xiao Ma is a silver-nitrate recycler based in the suburbs of Beijing. Mr. Xiao places local ads offering to buy used film from Chinese citizens. The film is destined for a vat of acid, where negatives are disintegrated and separated into their base elements, one of which -- silver nitrate -- has resale value.

Sauvin buys them in bulk from Xiao instead, rescuing hundreds of thousands of Kodak "memories" from oblivion. He then painstakingly "mines" the negatives for images to be included in a series called Beijing Silvermine.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Obama's NSA Reforms Off to a Bad Start

President Barack Obama's decision late Friday to suggest reforms to the government's surveillance programs caught many data protection and free speech advocates by surprise.

Is he serious about plans to check the government's massive spying operation and uphold the rights of everyday Americans?

EFF's Rainey Reitman responded with caution: "We take Obama's promises today with a healthy dose of skepticism ... [T]he devil will be in the details when it comes to whether his proposals will be effective."

On Monday, one devilish detail emerged when the White House instructed James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, to form the "high-level group of outside experts," that President Obama had promised to Americans on Friday.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Are You Ready to Dump Cable?

As CBS and Time Warner Cable remain locked in a three-week battle over retransmission fees, you have to wonder when their millions of viewers will throw in the towel and abandon cable altogether.

This latest dispute is nothing new. Media giants often grapple over retransmission fees, which cable companies pay to broadcasters for the right to include their channels in cable offerings.

News Corp and Time Warner Cable were in a standoff over fees in 2009. In 2011, DirecTV and News Corp engaged in a similar dispute.

Retransmission fees have increased more than 13-fold over the past seven years, from $215 million in 2006 to an estimated $3 billion by the end of 2013, according to SNL Kagan. The money has given a boost to the broadcast and production companies on the dial, but cable companies don't want to foot the bill. They solve this problem by passing these fees on to their subscribers.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Obama's Four Reforms to U.S. Government Surveillance Programs

Transcribed from video of President Obama's Aug. 9 press conference:
  1. "I will work with Congress to pursue appropriate reforms to section 215 of the Patriot Act."
  2. "I will work with Congress to improve the public’s confidence in the oversight conducted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court … To build greater confidence I think we should consider additional changes to the FISC. One of the concerns that people raised is that a judge reviewing a request from the government to conduct programmatic surveillance only hears one side of the story… assuring that the government’s position is challenged by an adversary."
  3. "We can and must be transparent. I have directed the intelligence community to make public as much information about these program as is possible…. At my direction the Department for Justice will make public the legal rationale for the government’s collection activities under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The NSA is taking steps to put in place a full time civil liberties and privacy officer, and release information that details its mission, authority and oversight."
  4. "We’re forming a high-level group of outside experts to review our entire intelligence and communications technologies. We need new thinking for a new era … I am tasking this independent group to step back and review our capabilities particularly our surveillance technologies."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Is TMZ the Future of Local News?

On Tuesday, I took part in an on-air discussion at NJ News Commons about the future of local news in New Jersey and beyond.

Exhibit A was Fox Broadcasting Company’s decision to replace WWOR’s evening newscast with Chasing New Jersey, a TV newsmagazine modeled after the celebrity gossip show TMZ.

Chasing New Jersey is Fox’s attempt to reinvent local news. Its format — young reporters “chasing” events around the state and reporting them back in conversations with colleagues — is a departure from the standard news fare featuring co-anchors seated before a teleprompter.

The switch is Fox’s attempt to appeal to a younger demographic, especially those 18-to-34-year-olds that advertisers pay top dollar to reach.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Speech Notes from Today's Restore the Fourth Rally

Photograph by Peter Micek
Follows are my speech notes from today's "Restore the Fourth" protest in Manhattan.

As we didn't have a PA system these were delivered using the call and response of the "mic check," popularized  by the Occupy Wall Street movement, where the speaker speaks briefly and the crowd repeats his or her words en masse.

We had a good turnout today with 1,000 people braving heat and holiday crowds to march from Union Square to Federal Hall where we read the Fourth Amendment in the shade of the statue of George Washington:

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Obama. Like Nixon, but Worse

Is Barack Obama like Richard Nixon?

Until recently that pairing seemed odd. Obama and Nixon are leaders from different generations, leading different parties with distinctly different styles.

Yet both used excessive force to crack down on whistleblowers and journalists. And while their tactics have differed, the goal was the same: to silence and criminalize those who expose government wrongdoing.

Obama, however, may have learned from his predecessor's mistakes. While Nixon broke the law to attack dissenting voices, Obama has distorted it to the same effect.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Jimmy Carter vs. 'Jimmy Carter'

Carter Christening 'Carter' in 2004
Late last week. Former President Jimmy Carter chimed in on the NSA surveillance scandal and the plight of whistle blower Edward Snowden.

"I think the invasion of human rights and American privacy has gone too far," President Carter told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. "And I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive... Bringing it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial." (Video at 2:15)

Last year, Carter railed against the U.S. government for losing moral ground on a series of human rights issues. "Recent laws have canceled the restraints in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to allow unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications," he wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed.

Meanwhile, the latest NSA disclosure revealed just how deep the U.S. government's was willing to go to listen in on communications both at home and abroad -- eavesdropping that involves Carter more in name than in spirit.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Glenn Greenwald: Exposing the Rot

The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald just offered an inside account of his relationship with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. During a speech at the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago, Greenwald praised Snowden and those like him who shed light on abuse by the powerful.

Greenwald said that Snowden's sacrifice inspired him to continue to reveal the full extent of U.S. government surveillance efforts. To that end, Greenwald gave the audience a preview of his next Snowden exposé:

"There's another document that I probably shouldn't [share with you] because it’s not published," Greenwald said. "You’re getting a little preview."  It's a report on "a brand new technology [that] enables the National Security Agency to redirect into its own repositories one billion cell phones calls every single day." (video at 40:00).

For now we'll have to wait on Greenwald to divulge more.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Five Questions for the Next FCC Chief

Tom Wheeler, the White House's pick to head the Federal Communications Commission, was for years a well-heeled lobbyist for cable and wireless companies.

He also served the president's 2008 and 2012 election campaigns as a top "bundler," raising more than $700,000 from undisclosed donors in support of Obama.

Many in the public interest community see Wheeler's insider status as more of a minus than a plus. Wheeler's confirmation hearing in the Senate today is the nominee's best chance to prove these skeptics wrong.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why William Eggleston is the Greatest Living Photographer, and Why He'll Never Admit to it

William Eggleston, Untitled, 1973

A show of William Eggleston’s early work hangs for another six weeks at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It’s been a good year for the photographer, if you count exhibits at major international venues as “good.”

Friday, June 14, 2013

What D.C. Doesn't Get About NSA Surveillance

Watching conventional wisdom form in Washington can be appalling. The emerging consensus on surveillance this past week has D.C.'s pundit class saying that privacy violations are a small price to pay for keeping Americans safe.

But conventional wisdom is wrong. Trampling over our most essential rights is never OK. All of us should be free to connect and communicate without fear of government intimidation.

Too many of Washington's talking heads and politicos don't seem to get this. Their profound misreading of the Constitution has put our democracy on a perilous path toward a surveillance state.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dancing Around the First and Fourth Amendments

Originally published by Other Words

Whether you think spying is OK or not often depends on your relationship to the information being collected.

If you’re on the gathering end, the invasion of someone else’s privacy doesn’t seem like a big deal. But if you’re the one whose private life is being pried into, this kind of surveillance seems like a very big deal indeed.

This dynamic is at work with the unfolding story about National Security Agency programs that vacuum up the telephone and Internet data of millions of people.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

On Gregory Halpern and the Documentary Dogma

Photographer Gregory Halpern talks about his approach to taking pictures with Cameron Van Loos at ASX:
“To ask what one’s ethics are when making photographs of other people is as complicated as asking what one’s ethics are in general. 
“I should start by explaining why I don’t call my work documentary. To begin with, the way the word “documentary” is understood by still photographers, particularly in the US, is extremely limited and strict. The second is that I am not primarily motivated by the desire to document things. I am motivated more by the desire to create things, to make photographs that rely on things/facts found ‘in the world’ but that are then shaped and altered according to my vision of them.”

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Newspaper Readers Speak Out Against the Kochs

Opposition to the Koch Brothers' reported plan to take over eight Tribune Company newspapers has spread from activist groups, unions, lawmakers and journalism advocates to the readers of these papers.

Thousands in Los Angeles have pledged to unsubscribe from the Los Angeles Times should the deal move forward.

And the New York Times reported that news of the potential sale "is setting off a firestorm of opposition" in California. Ten public employee unions joined with state legislative leaders to oppose the sale of the Los Angeles Times to the wealthy industrialists.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Internet Uncertainty

Our Internet freedoms are what we make of them.
When asked whether the Internet has been a force for good or evil, Zeynep Tufekci likes to answer "Yes."

In other words, it is both the best of times and the worst of times for the Internet. It's also the best and worst of times for the freedoms the Internet is supposed to nurture.

Tufecki should know. As a fellow at Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy, she focuses on the politics of free speech in social media. Over the years she's traced this push and pull with particular attention to the Middle East and North Africa (Tufecki is a native of Turkey).

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Putting up a Fight with the Internet Racket

Is your internet bill too high? You can thank the phone and cable companies for that.

Today, high-speed broadband services offered by these national carriers cost more than $500 a year and even more when customers are forced to bundle internet access with cable or phone packages. These rates put access out of reach for millions.

And the Americans who can afford this essential service can choose from only one or two kinds of providers: either a big phone or cable company.

Market dominance suits the phone and cable giants. As the real cost of hooking up your home declines, they keep hiking their rates... (Read the full op-ed in the New Jersey Star-Ledger)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Filthy Fourteen

The following 14 Senators are hoping to get re-elected to Congress in 2014. One problem. They just voted against the desires of a vast majority of Americans and rejected efforts to expand background checks for would-be gun purchasers.

The move would have closed a so called "gun-show loophole" that has put guns in the hands of countless murderers without vetting. These members of Congress were among the 46 in Senate whose votes failed to give the gun control measures the 60 votes needed to move forward.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fast News and Inuendo at the New York Post

Screen captured. The original link here.

It's hard to see how the New York Post got this tragic detail right while all the other news organizations covering the blasts in Boston didn't. (Most early reports put the toll at two or three dead, citing sources at the Boston Police Department).

The Post is also reporting that Boston Police have a suspect in custody -- a 20-year-old Saudi Arabian. Time will tell if either of these claims are true. If not, how long will it take the Post to correct its version of events?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Two American Places

Aurora, Colorado. 2013. Photo: Timothy Karr 
Staten Island, New York. 2013. Photo: Timothy Karr

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Georgia's Internet Uprising

(Design: Bill Brown)
Also published at Huffington Post and

The movement to connect more people to high-speed Internet services scored a win in Georgia last Thursday. It’s a victory that should resonate in every U.S. community that is struggling to give people better Internet access.

A coalition of Georgia mayors, counties and local activists overcame an industry-backed bill that would have prohibited municipalities from building their own broadband networks.

The bill, HB 282, was defeated in a decisive bipartisan vote. The 94-70 tally marked the end of a string of legislative victories for those who seek to limit Internet choice to a few powerful companies.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Shadow Groups, Dark Money and a Silent FCC

The numbers are in and they add up to a big problem for our democracy.

Local television stations raked in nearly $3 billion in revenues from political ads in 2012, according to data released by the Television Bureau of Advertising.

In other words, American TV viewers had to sit through more than three million political ads during the election cycle.

That’s a hefty chunk of change for a whole lot of misinformation. This flow of cash to stations is often referred to as “dark money,” because the real financial sources behind political ads are rarely revealed to viewers — not in the ads themselves and not in the stations’ political files.

This money has fattened the bank accounts of the very media companies that are supposed to keep the public informed about these issues. That’s a problem.

Saigon in Living Color

Friends in Vietnam have shared some incredible color footage of Saigon street life around 1940. This glimpse back in time is both remarkable and remarkably eerie when you consider what has unfolded on these same streets since.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Good Hack

Metalab is an open hacker space in Vienna, Austria where people can share ideas and get creative with technology.

The space opened its doors in 2006, a many-roomed basement space not far from Vienna's Rathaus (city hall). Visitors can make use of  an unsecured Wi-Fi connection and an array of technology (3-D printers, laser routers, darkroom and more) to help realize any idea about using technology for greater purpose.

Many of those who come consider themselves to be hackers, anyone who wants to unpack systems and put them back together to work better, says Thomas Lohninger, a Metalab regular.

This Friday Metalab will commemorate the loss of internet freedom fighter Aaron Swartz with a daylong hackathon. "As usual, there are will be open WLAN, whiteboards, flipcharts, projector and soft drinks,” according to the announcement on site.

Every event is organized by members and -- with very rare exceptions -- open to the public, according to Lohninger. The not-for-profit organization that operates Metalab, sees itself solely as an infrastructure provider and exerts little influence over projects and events carried out at the lab.

Some images from my visit to the lab on Feb 14:
3-D Printer

Friday, February 08, 2013

Bringing Dark Money to Account

Illustration by Bill Brown
Think the election season ended on Nov. 6, 2012? Think again.

The shadowy Super PACs and front groups that polluted the airwaves with political ads last year are already raising millions from corporations and billionaires to batter television viewers with a new wave of ads.

Earlier this week, Karl Rove’s Super PAC American Crossroads attacked actress and political activist Ashley Judd, who is contemplating a Senate run in Kentucky. And former Obama campaign hands are lining up dark-money donors to support a public relations push for implementation of health-care reforms.

The thought of having to endure another round of shady and dishonest political ads might make you queasy. But relief could be closer than you think.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Is Free Public WiFi Possible?

Wireless access in a NYC public park. Photo: Timothy Karr
The noisy response to a front-page Washington Post story about an alleged government plan to create free public WiFi networks indicates public enthusiasm for the cheaper Internet access in America.

If only it were so simple.

Americans pay far too much for far too little Internet access by comparison to rates in other developed countries. So it's little surprise that so many would welcome the idea of ubiquitous and affordable wireless Internet access.

But the story drew a different response from insiders and tech reporters who knew that the creation of a "super WiFi" network described in the story is far from reality.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Susan Crawford's Call to Action

The media center at Occupy Wall Street. NYC, 2011.
Photo: Timothy Karr
The Internet is no longer a child. It was conceived by the defense department in the 1960s, nurtured by academics and engineers in the 1970s and adopted by billions of people in the years since.

Susan Crawford's new book, Captive Audience, details a host of challenges for the Internet and its users as this network enters middle age.

Many of its recent growing pains come at the hands of network providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon that sell access to the global network.

While these companies don't own the Internet, they often act like they do, and are pursuing polices to wrest control over Internet content away from its many users.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Protecting Online Freedom as the Internet Turns 30

Originally published by the Seattle Times

THE Internet turned 30 earlier this month. On Jan. 1, 1983, engineers launched the basic protocol for sharing bits between computers, setting in motion the networked world we live in today.

It’s during anniversaries like these that we have a chance to take stock of this remarkable network and the people who make it what it is.

As the Internet enters its middle years, we users can no longer take it for granted. It’s more than a cloud. It’s people, technology and physical infrastructure. As with any infrastructure, the Internet needs protection and maintenance to survive; otherwise the wires and signals that send digital communications will cease to function. The online community also needs protections — to prevent our ideas from being blocked, our identities from being hijacked and our wallets from being picked.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Aaron Swartz: Looking Forward

With Aaron in NYC during last year's PIPA/SOPA protests. Photo: Gilly Younger/Flickr 
It's been five days since Aaron Swartz took his life in New York City, and a day since his funeral. The tragic news has both outraged and saddened the Internet community and beyond.

Aaron's story resonates with so many people. It has elements of classic lore: a young, often misunderstood genius, persecuted by corrupt authority, takes his life before his good work can be realized.

Perhaps even more tragically, it has taken Aaron's death for many to understand and protest the injustices he faced. It's right to critique a U.S. prosecutor's office that bullied Aaron to a point of desperation. But we should also focus attention on his good work, which was rooted in the belief that openness and access to knowledge are essential to social justice and a healthy democracy.