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Your iPhone Is Political: Mobile Democracy

#sxsw #openmobile

By 2014, more of us will access the Internet with mobile devices than with desktops or laptops. Android phones, iPhones, iPads and other mobile devices are quickly becoming our primary gateways to the Internet.

Everything we do online -- the ways that we produce news, organize our communities, and communicate with each other -- will increasingly depend on access to these devices and the broadband data connections they provide.

Meanwhile, wireless companies are seeking to determine what content we can see and how we can access it. As users fight for control over their mobile experience, it's fair to say that your Android or iPhone is political.

This panel of policy experts, tech journalists and public interest advocates will discuss how demographic and social shifts are changing how we use mobile devices and networks, how carriers and the public are fighting for control over them, and how good policies can protect consumers from wireless carrier abuse.


Josh Levy Internet Campaign Dir Free Press

Josh Levy develops and implements Internet-based campaigns, programs and projects to encourage online activism, advocacy and fundraising. Before joining Free Press, Josh was managing editor of, a social action network where he supervised the launch of more than a dozen issue-based blogs. He previously worked as an associate editor for and Personal Democracy Forum, and was an adjunct lecturer in media studies at Hunter College in New York City. Josh holds a B.A. in English and religion from the University of Vermont and an M.F.A. in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College.

Katherine Maher Fellow

Nilay Patel Managing Editor The Verge

When Nilay Patel was four years old, he drove a Chrysler into a small pond because he was trying to learn how the gearshift worked. Years later, he became a technology journalist. He has thus far remained dry.

Before serving as Managing Editor of The Verge, Nilay spent four years as Managing Editor of Engadget, where he drew upon his background as a lawyer to report and explain complex legal situations in everyday terminology — a niche that led to SAY Media naming Nilay one of 10 "voices that matter" in technology journalism.

Nilay has appeared on CNN, CNN International, NPR, Fox News, MSNBC, Sky News, NHK, G4TV, TWiT, and others. He also co-hosts The Vergecast with fellow editors Joshua Topolsky and Paul Miller.

Nilay received an AB in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2003 and his J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School in 2006. He is also engaged to a major babe.

Parul Desai Comm Policy Counsel Consumers Union

Parul P. Desai is communications policy counsel for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports® magazine. Parul manages the organization’s advocacy efforts on cable, wireless, telephone, and Internet policy. She is also responsible for working closely with federal policy makers on telecommunications and media law and policy. Parul is a frequent guest on various radio and television outlets and is quoted often in the national press.

Prior to joining Consumers Union, Parul served as Vice President for Media Access Project, a non-profit, public interest law firm and advocacy organization working in communications policy.

Originally from New Jersey, Parul’s undergraduate degree is from Rutgers University. She is a magna cum laude graduate of New York Law School.

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