WASHINGTON, May 27, 2009 – With a grant from the Ford Foundation, the non-profit organization One Web Day has brought on board Nathaniel James as the organization’s first full-time, paid staff position since its 2006 founding by Susan Crawford, now an Obama administration official.
In addition to Nathaniel James, who spearheaded One Web Day 2008 activities in Washington on a volunteer basis, philanthropist and software entrepreneur Mitch Kapor is taking the reins of the organization as chairman.
Crawford, who was a law professor at the University of Michigan when she joined the Obama presidential transition team responsible for the Federal Communications Commission, is now a National Economic Council advisor.
Held annually on September 22, One Web Day is a global event designed to “celebrate the power of Web for positive change,” and to excite the interest of both policy makers and internet users toward creating the greatest possibility to use this means for the common good.
Crawford has said that the idea for this event came from Earth Day, where instead of celebrating the natural world, virtual connections across the globe are drawn together.
Through this aggregation, One Web Day aims to provide faster and affordable broadband coverage for education and entrepreneurial creativity that comes through reducing the Internet opportunity disparity.
In 2008, BroadbandCensus.com was an active participant in the Washington, D.C. efforts of One Web Day. Broadband Census.com published a series of articles about broadband within one-third of the United States in the lead-up to the event, and encouraging One Web Day participants to Take the Broadband Census!
Additionally, One Web Day was a non-profit sponsor of the “Broadband Census for America Conference” on September 26, 2008, an event organized by BroadbandCensus.com, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Virginia Tech.
Having experience with the Media and Democracy Coalition, James “brings a unique blend of skills and experiences as an organizer on communications policy,” according to a post on Kapor’s blog.
One Web Day seeks to tackle a range of internet policy issues. For example, internet service providers are increasingly attempting to increase surveillance on users and bill for differing uses, much as telephone companies traditionally did.
James and Kapor are also likely to focus on issues pertaining to inadequate skills, and the fear of the Internet that rural and low-income areas face as a result of limited access. Creating new opportunities to use the Web will also be a major concern for James, as well as combating internet restrictions.
With at least one paid full-time employee, the nascent organization hopes to build One Web Day into a future success. Last year the organization extended from the U.S. to London, Paris, Tunisia, Copenhagen and Melbourne.
James aims to increase global mobilization for this annual celebration. As Craig Newmark called the Internet as a “democratizing medium,” One Web Day is striving to further this democracy to nations all over the world in line with its new “promise of digital inclusion” theme.
The Ford Foundation describes itself as an organization that strives to “strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.”