Daily Briefing - Thursday, August 5, 2010

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Part 1: Net Neutrality

Gigi Sohn is the co-founder and president of Public Knowledge, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest group working to defend citizens' rights in the emerging digital culture. She has served as a Project Specialist in the Ford Foundation’s Media, Arts and Culture unit and as Executive Director of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm that represents citizens’ rights before the FCC and the courts. In May 2006, the Electronic Frontier Foundation gave Gigi Sohn its Internet “Pioneer” Award. She is a member of the advisory board of the Future of Music Coalition and the Center for Public Integrity’s “Well Connected” Telecommunications Project.

Sascha Meinrath directs the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative and he is the Research Director of the Foundation’s Wireless Future Program. He is also a co-founder of Measurment Lab, a distributed platform for researchers around the world to deploy Internet measurement tools, advance network research, and empower the public with useful information about their broadband connections. In addition, he coordinates the Open Source Wireless Coalition, a global partnership dedicated to the development of open source, low-cost wireless technologies.

Part 2: Politics in Africa (continuing fall-out from World Cup-related bombings in Uganda; new Kenyan constitution)

Nii Akuetteh is a policy researcher and analyst who specializes in monitoring how international affairs affect Africa and exploring the participation of African immigrants in US public policy. Previously, he served as Executive Director of African Action in Washington, DC, he was the founder of the Democracy and Conflict Research Institute in Accra, Ghana and the Soros-funded grant-making foundation OSIWA. He also served as an aide to Randall Robinson directing a research affiliate of TransAfrica during the US anti-apartheid movement.

Part 3: Public participation in local politics (Corrupt Congresspeople and council members and the role of low voter turn-out and little press coverage)

Robert Stern is President of the Center for Governmental Studies. He began drafting and analyzing political reform laws as a staff attorney for the California Legislature’s Assembly Elections Committee; he then served as the Elections Counsel to the California Secretary of State’s office. He has drafted numerous state initiatives, was the principal co-author of California’s 1974 Political Reform Act, adopted by 70% of California’s voters, and was a principal drafter of the City of Los Angeles’ Ethics and Public Campaign Financing laws in 1990. Prior to joining the Center for Governmental Studies he served as the first general counsel of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission.