Report on Communications Security Meeting # 2

February 10, 2009

CCTV hosted the Communications Security Strategy Meeting #2 on 22 January 2009 at Channel 17 Studios. Representatives from a variety of sectors including educators, open source programmers, social activists and community based organizers.

Watch/ Read Report on Communications Security Meeting #1 here.

Watch Communications Security Meeting #2 here.

NOTE: The nextCommunications Security Meeting #3: Public Input will be held on Thursday, 3/12 from 6-8pm at Channel 17.

Present: Beth Truzansky, CCAN, Karyn Vogel, Snelling Center, Richie Parlato, Parlato Productions, Jen Berger, Peace and Justice Center, Dave Usher, Barry Lampke, United Way/ Champlain Initiative, Brother Tobin, Ralph Montefusco, Communications Workers of America, Maggie Gunderson, Nuclear Activist, Paul Flint, Communications Security, Gary Kessler, Champlain College/ Communications Assurance, John Bloch, ORCA, Jeff Tolbert, ORCA, Doug Dunbebin, RETN, Leah Terhune, Neighborhood Activist, Joe Golden, Triangulus, Robert Resnik, Fletcher Free Library, Art Bell, Dreamlike Pictures...

General Discussion: Remote civic involvement is seen to be the direction of the future-designed largely by digital natives who will shortly inhabit the tax payers sphere and may well redesign the public meeting. We will see new ways of bringing groups together to vote-e.g., voting in Town Meeting from home. (The Secretary of State has said that it is legal to do this.) These are viewed as some ways of leveling economic access to power. The group was concerned about the capital investment necessary to maintain PEG facilities and bring government closer to the people: e.g., wiring Legislative Committee rooms, video server capacity, and the equipment necessary to do the activities below. PEG is seen as an important hub for these intersecting issues of community communication and capacity.

The general intent of the participants in Communications Security Meeting #2 (below) is to enable the broad population, young and old, to access education, government and the variety of views offered by the many sectors of our community/ public. It is recognized that young people are adept at tools, but do not necessarily understand the implications of their use. They are accustomed to having a network structure that does what they want it to do (rather then tells them what they can do with it).

Concerns from the first meeting:
- Loss of Community
- Fire hose of information
- Pressed for Time
- Economic Access is unequal
- Internet ubiquity does not equal media democracy
- Ownership Models
- Business Focus of Public Policy
- Data Control
- Who are the Trusted Sources?

Additional Concerns:

  • Broadband that is being sold is not sufficient for modern applications
  • "30 mg FIOS is the standard for broadband connectivity, why is it passing Vermont by?"
  • Now that many people have access, there are unintended consequences
  • The promise of fiber = the end of scarcity, but what does this mean?
  • Decline of the 4th estate as a way to keep power accountable
  • Need to keep PEG equipment up to date and keep PEG watch-able and viable
  • Think about more cost effective alternatives for PEG equipment.
  • Video searching/ XML standards and the semantic web will play a major role in upping the value and ease of finding citizen/ community produced media.


  • Need for political education
  • Need for "quality media"
  • Need for media education for all levels of the community to understand the perils and promise of the new tools, how to manage risks, and to be responsible consumers and critical with their use
  • Use of sophisticated marketing techniques to promote media literacy (described above)
  • Value and necessity of using media to get activist view to the widest public
  • Education must start with the 12 year olds, middle school, high school.
  • Media Literacy needs to be 2 way - We need to listen.

Who needs to be educated?

  • Younger People
  • Activists and organizers
  • Lobbyists
  • School Boards
  • Public sector
  • Independent Sector
  • Social Service Agencies
  • Seniors and Retirees/ Decision Makers of this age

Build Public Support
- For overall communications security and particular issues
- Explain the benefits and value in simple terms.
- Why is this worth striving for? What difference will it make?
- Pocket book issue of education is important to note.


  • Public control of the networks
  • Digital rights management is really a bill of rights issue
  • Nation-wide strategy to eliminate PEG
  • Net neutrality and open networks are necessary for the public to gain benefits of the networks in the future
  • Definition of the "level playing field" must serve the public interest and expand across all communications platforms


  • Lack of Vermont Statehouse Coverage
  • Comcast strategy to eliminate PEG in Vermont
  • Hold power accountable: Administrative promise for broadband ubiquity, what does that really mean? Does it give us what we need to move ahead?

Discussion: What does protecting capital PEG funding mean? Why?

> Live NPA meetings

> Studio Control by users

> Ability to borrow cameras to get out information on projects, engage youth, tell stories, learn the basics

> Necessity of Legislative TV Coverage - especially uncovered Committee Meetings

> Downloadable audio and video of Legislature

> Public Drops in Public Places
> Two way access at meetings (the skypification of public events)

> Enable people to testify remotely - not just on the phone but via video (PEG centers as place for this to take place). This is a way to mitigate economic access to legislators.

> Quik is a mobile phone video application that is gaining attention - What is the local Quik or comparable video applications for PEG?

Points of influence

  • National: Congress
  • Legislators: Sanders, Leahy, Welch (in a power position now)
  • FCC
  • Courts
  • Executive Branch


  • Legislature: in particular the Eco Dev Committee (Illuzzi, Tim Ashe), Commerce
  • Vermont Telecom Authority
  • Department of Public Service
  • Public Service Board
  • Governor

Commercial Interests: Fairpoint, Comcast, Tel Jet, Burlington Telecom, Waitsfield Cable, etc.

Municipalities/ New Fiber projects: EC Fiber, BT, Rutland, Bennington






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