Mozilla Advocacy -- 2015 Plan -- Your Input


#1

We recently published the 2015 Mozilla Advocacy Plan. The goal of our advocacy initiatives is to advance the Mozilla mission by empowering people to create measurable changes in public policy to protect the Internet as a global public resource, open and accessible to all.

In the plan, we lay out thinking along three core strategies:
(1) Leadership Development – Grow a global cadre of leaders – activists, technologists, policy experts – who advance the free and open web.
(2) Community – Assist, grow, and enable the wider policy & advocacy community.
(3) Grassroots Advocacy – Run issue-based campaigns to grow mainstream engagement with Mozilla and open web issues.

Each of these strategies ties directly to the goal of empowering people. Yet, as we execute there are still open questions that need input and more thought from the community. For instance, how can we create better scale and participation, recognizing that real impact happens when the community is empowered to take action on policy and advocacy initiatives. A key to this is making our own policy positions and advocacy efforts easier for people to understand and engage with.

What are other ways that we can empower and support the broader community?


#2

The existing plan looks great, glad to see it shared here.

As to other ways, I’d like to see a direct linkage between “great products that help people take control and explore the full potential of their online lives” and “empowering people with technology and know-how to advance the open web.”

I was inspired a couple years ago when former Mozillian Aza Raskin wrote:

Developing products that embody openness is the most powerful way to shape the policy conversation. Back those products with hundreds of millions of users and you have a game-changing social movement.

Seems to me one of the ways advocacy can back those products is to take on policy issues which directly impact development and adoption those products, positively and negatively.

On the negative side, take DRM and encumbered formats. Mozilla has been criticized by open advocates for its product choices on these. I’m not complaining much as I appreciate the calculation that Firefox needs market share for influence, and not being able to play all the videos that other browsers can may significantly harm market share. But DRM and encumbered formats can be attacked from policy even as product needs to compromise. Examples: circumvention legalization, banning DRM in some contexts, mandating open formats in some contexts, eliminating software patents.

On the positive side, take government procurement and use. There is no reason governments should trust proprietary browser and operating system vendors, and it is in Mozilla’s interest to explain why not, and why Firefox should be adopted as the default browser and FirefoxOS the default mobile OS for government uses and purchases. It’s also in the interest of other open web entities, because product is so important in shaping the ecosystem and policy discourse. Other open entities and advocates may not understand this yet; making sure they begin to should be part of empowering them.

These and other product-defending and -promoting policy issues could be added to the mix of general open web issues you’re planning to do leadership, community, and grassroots development around. Perhaps they are already there and I missed or failed to read between the lines! If so all the better. :smile:


Open source Policy of Govt of India and the need of FOSS community support
#3

Very thoughtful post, @mlinksva. I agree - one of the most powerful ways to shape public policy is to create better, more open market norms via the product itself. We should continue to look for ways to do this.

One of the most exciting developments that I’ve seen is the direction of Firefox’s content services and Tiles. Seems that this is an opportunity to create a much more trustworthy advertising system that is not based on tracking. More on this here: https://blog.mozilla.org/advancingcontent/2015/05/21/providing-a-valuable-platform-for-advertisers-content-publishers-and-users/

–Dave


#4

Thanks for pointing out that new tiles post, @DaveSteer. I agree tiles have huge potential, and am glad to learn that they’ve already been used for advocacy a bit. Exciting!

Just to reiterate my main point, I’d like to see advocacy directly help product shape public policy, by aiming to remove policy obstacles to product and add policy boosts for product. I suggested above a couple ways this could be applied to helping Firefox and FirefoxOS. There are probably analogues for tiles; previous DNT advocacy might be suggestive of some. Though I imagine the thing that would help tiles most as a product is increased Firefox marketshare, so my suggestions above are also ways advocacy can help tiles shape the world. :smile:


#5

Great to have the plan here.

I couldn’t tell if any of the mentioned initiatives inside are in Europe.

I think that one of the more difficult struggles is to keep up with the ‘forum shifting’ of agreements that have international reach. To deal with that I believe we need close cooperation with regional organization. The first I think of in Europe is La Quadrature Du Net. Probably there are other such organizations elsewhere too.

I don’t know if it is possible to mix the MozRep potential with the already established advocacy groups elsewhere, but I would like to see it happen.


#6

Where is the outreach to people who are potential/future Internet users?

With half the world’s population not online and the half that is over representing the developed world, this strategy seems very defensive and problematically has the potential to skew Mozilla’s framework. New users harbour the potential to influence online change. If their Internet adoption is facilitated by an organization that is not as well disposed towards open and accessible Internet, those users may also develop views that are not be so favorably disposed towards an open and accessible Internet.


#7

Agree 100%, @jlaprise.

That’s one of the reasons why I’m excited about the prospects of developing regional Advocacy Task Forces. The people who lead and participate in these task forces are going to be key in ensuring the people who are just coming online have an opportunity to benefit from the whole Internet (not just part of it). We need a lot more thinking about how to support and grow these task forces as we move forward. It’s a meaty challenge that I think the community can play a central role in shaping.

I also think the emerging Mozilla Clubs model will be a key component, especially as they teach people foundational web literacy skills of reading, writing and participating in the Web.


#8

I’d suggest that needs to be explicit in the strategy. As I read it, it seems focused on existing users.