Association of Internet Users


#1

Hi Everyone,

Please support the founding of an Association of Internet Users with your vote at the NetGain Challenge

The organization as envisioned is a ground-up, born mobile, Internet users’ association focusing on access, association, expression, and sharing (including privacy and surveillance).

Please help make this a reality.

Best regards,

John Laprise


#2

Now with a website http://www.aiu-us.org/


#3

I invite you to get involved in my new project: the Association of Internet Users

The Vision – what does success looks like?

Who?
Membership in the AIU is open to individual Internet users. Organizations have voice through their members, but no direct vote. AIU members will have the capacity to identify with particular organizations through mutual assent.

  • 67% of the 315M people in the U.S. hold drivers licenses and 17% are AAA members

  • 34% of the U.S. population are senior citizens and 11% are AARP members

  • 29% of the U.S. population are gun owners and 1% are NRA members

  • 85% of the U.S. population use the Internet and 0% are AIU members

If the AIU conservatively aims for a 5% membership among Internet users, it outstrips all of these organization barring the AAA, which it rivals.

To be clear: I am very specifically focusing on the United States. That said, it is my hope and dream that this vision is replicated internationally as appropriate and meaningful to people elsewhere.

How?

  • Members can use a feature rich website with multiple communication vectors.

  • They can attend and participate in regular local meetups for members and the curious.

  • The AIU will cultivate relationships with the private sector, academia, the technical community, and other non-profits.

What?

Services

Membership organizations typically offer discounts for members through agreements with service providers. For the AIU, likely options would be software, hardware, tech support, classes, shipping for ecommerce, and special member offers.

Education

  • One prime focus is educating users on Internet policy. I’ve been involved in this effort for many years at many levels. The AIU offers to help everyday users who want to know more about the Internet by offering them information and discussion.

  • The AIU is structured around the four areas of access, association, expression, and sharing and each is dependent upon the previous areas. Online expression means little to those without access or who lack the ability to connect to those they want to connect to. These four categories neatly encompass the issues of the day such as network neutrality and file sharing, for instance.

  • Multiple tools will be offered such as discussion forums moderated by experts, AMAs, online courses, and meetups; in short, an array of offerings that meet the needs of users/members.

  • The AIU will connect interested members interested in global Internet governance to organizations such as the IGF, ICANN, and ISOC.

Advocacy

Unlike the AAA, AARP, and the NRA, the AIU’s policy advocacy will be solely directed by the membership. To that end:

  1. A round of (born-mobile) voting on a salient issue preceded by focused discussion on an issue.

  2. Voters who supported the majority position will work with staff and the Board to craft a polished position document. The draft will be the work of the membership with staff taking an editorial role.

  3. The AIU membership also has the capability of issuing a minority advocating a strong but dissenting position in the same manner.

  4. The drafting teams submit final positions to the Board and AIU administration which may

  • Veto a position by asserting and showing a position does not represent the will of users (this is a safeguard against hostile/malicious takeover)

  • Refer a position back to the drafting team for revision to address an important but overlooked issue.

  • Adopt the position.

To be clear: the board does not set the organizational policy agenda.
Policy positions will then be disseminated in a manner consistent with the restrictions of being a 501c3 organization under U.S. tax code.
Policy positions will also be disseminated by a sister organization to the AIU organized as a 501c4 which allows for greater political advocacy, but which sole charter-bound purpose will be to advance the policy directives of the AIU

Why – what’s my reason for choosing to do this?

Quite simply, it needs to get done and no one else is doing it. In recent years we’ve had public reactions over SOPA/PIPA and network neutrality. In one case, the public was led by Google and the Internet industry as well as advocacy organization, and in the other by John Oliver and the media. I believe that the time is now for a truly bottom-up advocacy organization with organic leadership to tell government what Internet users want. It’s just that simple.

Now – or how do we get there?

  • Incorporation into a nonprofit 501c3 organization

  • Gathering of human resources - Volunteers who want to help and who have skills and knowledge

  • Gathering of financial resources - Grant applications & Development

  • Gathering material resources - Access to the nonprofit resources available from the private sector

  • Assessment of resources

  • Discussion among interested volunteers about available strategies to get from start-up to national organization

  • Form implementation strategy with knowledge of available resources

  • Execute the strategy

Why you?

Largely because I know you and, knowing me, you likely care about the Internet.

What now?

Share this. Like this. Retweet this. Go to the Association of Internet Users and volunteer. Let me know what you want to do and how you’d like to be involved. Alternately email me directly at jlaprise@gmail.com.


#4

Hello everyone!

We’re in the process of starting up the Association of Internet Users (AIU), a membership organization focused on education, service, and advocacy by and for Internet users. We’re presently in the process of building the organization and taking stock of what we all bring to the table. I encourage all of you to sign up for our mailing list or as a founding volunteer (and receive a slack invite). You can also find us elsewhere:

Facebook

LinkedIn Company

LinkedIn Group

Twitter

As with any organization in its early stages, we’re always interested in growing our membership and your recommendations, likes, shares, retweets are important to get the word out. We are an open, inclusive organization with transparency at our core. We’re seeking to be the public voice for US Internet users but to do that we need people to start talking. That’s what we’re here for.


#5

A few FAQs

Q: Why is this a U.S. organization? What about other countries?
A: Internet users around the world bring different values to the policy table based upon local culture. The AIU model is designed to help users speak to national policymakers. The AIU-USA helps American users to speak to their government just as an AIU-Chad would help Chadians speak to theirs. Ideally, every country would have its own AIU as an expression of the sentiments of local Internet users on Internet policy.

Q: How does the AIU differ from other membership organizations?
A: We often compare the AIU to the AAA and the AARP. These organizations, like the AIU provide education and services to their membership as well as advocate on their behalf. The key difference in our model is that the policy positions of the AIU are not determined by its Board or its administrative staff. The membership votes on current policy questions and advances winning positions.

Q: People have many different ideas about Internet policy; how does the AIU account for this?
A: The AIU uses a minority report system to enable strong minority positions to be heard. For instance, if a second place policy position gains at least 33% of the vote, then the AIU will also advance that position as well, even if it contradicts the winning position. It’s perfectly OK and in some cases expected that Internet users will be divided on contentious policy questions.

Q: If the Board and the staff don’t make policy, how does the AIU make policy?
A: You do. Members who vote for majority and minority positions are invited to take part in the policymaking discussion that drafts the AIU’s policy. We recognize that not all members will want to get this involved but, for those who do, the staff and the Board will act as expert advisors to shepherd and steward the policy positions into a form suitable for government submission.

Q: Do the Board and staff have any other policy role?
A: The Board checks the policies issued by the majority and minority working groups and does one of three things. First, they can adopt it as AIU policy and direct the staff to begin dissemination. Second, they can return it to the policy drafting groups with specific suggestions and corrections. This is a safeguard to insure that the implications of a policy position are fully addressed. Third, the Board can provide cause and veto a policy. In this case the membership can override the veto with a 2/3 vote in which case it becomes policy. A Board veto is intended to be used only if it is clear that the vote or policy drafting process has been compromised.