Interview with an Occupy Technologist

Dana Skallman: “creating networks of trust is at the core”

How did you first get involved in Occupy?

I got on the OWS Tech list to see what was going on and how I could help. I quickly realized they were so unorganized, so I thought maybe I can help organize tech in some way.

What role do you currently play in Occupy?

I am helping setup and coordinate technology infrastructure for the Occupy Movement using Free/Libre/Open technology. The bulk of the platforms can be seen we are coordinating the usage

What are your challenges as an Occupy technologist?

Trying to bridge the needs of activist users and technologists. There are many tools available that provide alternatives to widely used proprietary or commercial tools, however they need to be setup and easy to use for anyone, much like the alternatives. The other aspect is being able to provide tools & ongoing support on a purely volunteer basis. We are searching for ways to make it sustainable. One way we are looking to do this is through cooperatives, which is a part of the conversation in the work we are doing on a daily basis.

How do these challenges relate to the greater challenges of the Occupy movement?

It’s hard to say from an activist on the ground, as I am more behind the scenes. However, much of the communication across the movement involves technology, so creating networks of trust is at the core. This involves more human interaction, through technology. So it’s more about how we connect person to person across the movement using technology, and not so much what technology is being used. That being said, the technology used is important in regards to data privacy and control, which is why using the tools onoccupy.netmakes a difference.

Occupy is currently out of the mass media spotlight. What are you all up to that the world should know about?

The next few months will focus on campaigns around theAnniversary on September 17thand the election. The best place to keep up-to-date would be through theInteroccupy Newswire. All campaigns and actions havecreated Hubsto help coordinate more effectively across the movement. TheInterOccupy Calendaralso provides a ton of information for ways for folks to get involved.

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