Web anonymity battle starts anew

Preach. Via The Hill.

“The ability to speak anonymously [online] is critical to the ability to speak freely, to speak on the matters of public policy,” said Harold Feld, senior vice president of consumer interest group Public Knowledge and a former member of the U.S. delegation during the U.N. conference.

Some countries, including China and Russia, have reportedly argued that anonymity on the Web poses a risk to cybersecurity and makes it harder for them to go after hackers and other malicious actors, which leaves Internet users vulnerable to online fraud schemes, virus-laced spam and malware.

But free speech advocates warn that the push to ban anonymity in the name of cybersecurity is simply a facade for efforts by authoritarian governments to crack down on political dissidents and critical speech they disagree with on the Web.

C'mon @BetaBeat - according to @Forbes Magazine I'm already a "Mayor"

You'll probably see me announce it on the NY subreddit if it ever happened, anyway....

Thanks, Forbes.

via BetaBeat:

Happy Internet, Mr. President Twice this week in conversation with tech types, Betabeat was asked when Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian was running for office already. The 29-year-old credited with helping to defeat SOPA/PIPA already toured the country (in a bus once leased for John McCain’s  “Straight Talk Express”) running for president of the Internet. But with Sheryl Sandberg hot on his heels, isn’t it time to start campaigning for the real thing?

Last we heard, Mr. Ohanian was rumored to be launching his own startup reality show on MTV. However, he was recently spotted handing out awards on behalf of Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who likes to call himself “the House GOP’s chief watchdog.”

"Because of the way the Obama campaign used things like Reddit, that photo is the single-most popular image ever seen on Twitter or Facebook."

“Then, once people think we’ve gotten them through the worst,” Jacobson said, “we pile on more — just the way Obama did.” He put up Slide 26, titled, “Running Up the Score.” “Obama was the very first candidate to appear on Reddit. We ask our clients, ‘Do you know what Reddit is?’ And only one of them did. Then we show them this photo of Obama hugging his wife with the caption ‘Four more years’ — an image no conservative likes. And we tell them, ‘Because of the way the Obama campaign used things like Reddit, that photo is the single-most popular image ever seen on Twitter or Facebook.’ Just to make sure there’s plenty of salt in the wound.”

via nytimes.com

What We Accomplished in 2012

This is a very belated recap email of everything we did in 2012. To be clear, this could not have been anywhere near as awesome productive a year as it was without Christina Xu, Kat Manalac, and Joe Alger. Without them, I... Don't even want to think about it -- on to the year in review!

I finally submitted my manuscript for my book, Without Their Permission, which will come out on October 1st, 2013!

Pre-order Amazon | B&N | iBook | 800CEOread | IndieBound

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Internet 2012
Erik Martin and I thought it'd be a good idea to crowdfund a bus tour across the heartland of America to campaign for internet freedom. We convinced a half dozen journalists to join us and even brought a film crew, NimbleBot, who shot a documentary we debuted in DC to a packed room at Newseum that included 4 sitting US representatives!

Stopping SOPA/PIPA
January 18, 2012 is a day that won't live in infamy, thanks to the internet public's victory over $94 MM in lobbying from the entertainment industry. Because of the action we all took that day, we forced our government to shelve these two awful bills.

CISPA Facebook IPO
I made headlines for being one of the few tech industry leaders who was bearish about the impending Facebook IPO. I announced I wouldn't be investing in Facebook because of their support of CISPA, a bill that would've run roughshod over due process when it comes to our privacy online. I ended up looking rather prescient on IPO day, but the real issue I wanted to bring attention to was the fact that a powerful tech company was supporting a policy that was bad for the internet public.

Trial of Clone
The marvelous Zach Weinersmith finished writing his first "adventure of your own choosing" novel, Trial of the Clone, which debuted on Kickstarter and raised over $180,000! That guaranteed a sequel and nearly sprained Zach's wrist doing autographs, but so it goes.

To Be Or Not To Be
Our biggest breadpig publication of the last year ended up being another "adventure of your choosing novel" — this one by Ryan North, author of Dinosaur Comics. He put together a version of Hamlet in modern English where you can play the role of Hamlet, Ophelia, or the King. It was so awesome he raised over half a million dollars!

Lester's Time Has Come Today 
The idea to work with Lester Chambers came to me during a debate with Professor Jonathan Taplin at Fast Company's Innovation Uncensored. I suggested that with the help of internet platforms like Kickstarter and reddit, artists could circumvent gatekeepers, work directly with fans and get paid for it. Professor Taplin was rather dismissive, so I decided to walk the walk. We reached out to soul legend Lester Chambers, lead singer of The Chambers Brothers, who was robbed for decades by the music industry. The industry signed the young Lester Chambers into an awful contract, paid him no royalties for decades, and drove him into poverty. We wanted to see whether the internet public could right the wrongs of the industry and fund an album that Lester himself would own entirely. $60,000 later, Lester's time has come.

Riding Shotgun with Zach Anner
The internet discovered Zach when Oprah held an open casting for a new show on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Zach's hilarious audition rocketed to the front page of reddit and eventually onto TVs nationwide when he won a travel show on OWN. Unfortunately, the show was canceled after a few episodes. We knew Ms. Winfrey was making a mistake, so we reached out to Zach and offered to help him get another series funded. The internet-powered show "Riding Shotgun with Zach Anner" debuted this past winter with much fanfare. You can subscribe to Zach's YouTube channel and tune in!

Make Something People Love
People always ask me for a detailed playbook for building brands based on my reddit, breadpig, and hipmunk experience, so I wrote this e-book. Since you're my favorite, here's a coupon code for 42% off! TOWEL

Talks around the world 
I've had quite a few speaking gigs this year that took me all over the USA and world, including Abu Dhabi, Munich, Prague, Amsterdam, and Halifax! I'm doing a big speaking circuit in the fall when my book comes out, so drop my lectures agent a note if you think I should come speak at a location near you! I want to finally get some sick airline status.

Presidential AMA
I still kinda can't believe that happened. He even did his AMA from Charlottesviile, VA, where 7 years earlier, Steve and I met and started the company that would become reddit.

Whoa press!
We landed in the New York Times at the start of this year, for our victory over SOPA/PIPA. Inc. magazine did an awesome profile, Forbes named me to their "30 Under 30" (for 2nd and final time), and they also gave me the title of "Mayor of the Internet." I had a great time on Soledad O'Brien's show on CNN, and on CBS This Morning, where I shared my Waffle House epiphany with Charlie Rose and Gayle King

Awesome Summit
For the fist time in its history, the Awesome Foundation's international chapters all met for a conference of awesome hosted by Christina Xu, the supreme leader of IHAS. Have you seen the beautiful new Awesome Foundation website?

redditgifts for the troops with Stephen Colbert
My mancrush on Stephen only grew stronger when he agreed to join our redditfifts for the troops this past year, which was a great success. Check out a number of the Secret Santa gifts that were received.

Portfolio Companies
I was thrilled to add a number of new companies to the portfolio this year. They all have newsletters of their own, so I'll let you check them out if you're interested. But you can see the full list of my portfolio companies here.

Google Zeitgeist 
Some awesome folks at google included me in their year end commercial! You'll see the clip of my SOPA PIPA protest speech in NYC at the 52s mark.

Phew! You made it to the end. You rock. If you enjoyed this, you should subscribe to my newsletter and never miss a thing.

May you all have an awesomesauce 2013.