23 April 2014 - 8:00Mr. AwesomeBar Runs for Congress

tl;dr The non-profit Mozilla changed the Internet by giving users choice and liberty. I, Ed Lee, want to build on that foundation to change how politics works in 2 ways: 1) get rid of politicians who focus on money and forget about voters and 2) change how politics is won by showing you can win without spammy advertisements that track tons of data about people. The Internet helped Mozilla take on “unbeatable” opponents, and I need your help to do the same.

I became a Mozillian 10 years ago. I found my passion helping people through Mozilla, a non-profit that promotes user choice and liberty on the Internet. These values attracted me to Mozilla in the first place, and I believe in these values even more after being employed at Mozilla for five years. I want to bring these values to politics because while the Internet can be a big part of our lives, politics tend to control the rest and can destroy the things/people we care about most.

During the SOPA protests, SopaTrack showed not only which Representatives were co-sponsors for the bill but also how often they voted with whichever side gave the most money. I was quite appalled to find out that Mark Amodei co-sponsored a bill that would take away our freedoms and earned a perfect 100% record of voting with the money [itworld.com].

The behavior of this “Representative” is the complete opposite of the values that brought me to Mozilla, and I believe the correct solution is to vote out these politicians. That’s why I’m running against him as a US Congress candidate in Nevada on a platform of “Non Profit” and “For Liberty” to directly contrast with this incumbent.

Amodei votes 100% with money, SOPA co-sponsor vs. Ed Lee

Amodei votes 100% with money, SOPA co-sponsor vs. Ed Lee

I’ve talked to various people involved in politics, and I’ve been ignored, laughed at, told to go away and stop wasting my time. The most interesting dismissal: “the Internet can’t help,” and I thought to myself, “Challenge Accepted.” I hope the rest of the Internet is as outraged as I was to hear that the best action is to do nothing and give a free pass to this incumbent who just votes with the money to destroy our liberties.

Mozilla was in a similar situation when Firefox had to take on the dominant web browser. The Internet cared about the browser that focuses on the user (e.g., would you like to see that popup?). People helped spread Firefox even without understanding the non-profit that created it because the built in values of freedom and choice resonated with users.

My ask of you is to think of aunts/uncles/friends/relatives in Reno/Sparks/Carson City and see if they’re on this anonymized list of names [edlee2014.com]. If so, please text or call that person and simply say “please look into Ed Lee,” and if you let me know, I’ll personally follow up with your contact. If you don’t find anyone on the list, please share it with others whom you think might know someone living in the northern half of Nevada. Early voting starts in a month with the primary less than 2 months away on June 10th, so let’s move fast!

I’m aiming for at least a third of the midterm primary votes in a 4-way race, and that roughly comes out to just over 9000. (Really!) The anonymized list of names are of people most likely to vote in my district’s Democratic primary, and the plan is to have the millions on the Internet find a connection to those several thousands to make a personal request. This is as opposed to traditional political advertising where large amounts of money is raised to track down and spam people where I estimate more than 95% of people won’t even be moved to vote or vote differently. With my Mozilla background, that’s not how I would want to approach campaigning.

If this technique works for the primary, it could work for the general election by focusing on non-partisan voters. We can further develop this technique to vote out all the money-seeking politicians and replace them with people who care about individuals and freedoms across the US, and dare I say, across the world.

The Internet helped Mozilla change the world with its non-profit mission and strong core values. I need your help to do the same in the world of politics.

Ed Lee (Ed “Mr. AwesomeBar” Lee is a bit long for the ballot)

Paid for by Ed Lee for Congress
Yay for free speech, but apparently not free-as-in-beer if not correctly attributed.

6 Comments | Tags: AwesomeBar, Mozilla, Politics

4 April 2014 - 8:51Why I’m a Mozillian

I became a Mozillian 10 years ago when I started participating in Bugzilla and helping with the Spread Firefox campaign, earning both the 25 million and 50 million-downloads coins. I was just a freshman at the University of Illinois studying Computer Science, but I was eager to help the non-profit Mozilla create a web browser that promotes user choice for liberty.

SF Mozilla Monument

San Francisco Mozilla Monument

Mozilla’s founders created the mission for openness, innovation and opportunity on the Internet; and because of that, I was able to find my passion of helping people. In between lectures, I hacked on open source Firefox to create the AwesomeBar through many iterations of conversing with individuals to learn about their specific needs. I collaborated with other Mozillians to come up with ideas and to implement them into this Firefox feature which still provides better and faster choices for everyone.

Yesterday, I cried when I learned that one of Mozilla’s co-founders was leaving [brendaneich.com]. It was the most I’ve cried since my mother passed away, and in some sense it was appropriate as Brendan is a “founding father” of the organization I’ve dedicated over a third of my life to.

Even as Brendan announced his departure, he provided next steps to advancing the mission by reaffirming Mozilla’s focus on users. The direction he provided could put the non-profit Mozilla as a users union leader to push back the bullying aspects of the Internet that prey on individuals (think of privacy policies or terms of services) and instead flip that around to be pro-user [blog.mozilla.org].

I’m a Mozillian because the founders made Mozilla with the mission. I believed in the mission when I became a Mozillian, and I still believe in it now — especially with this golden opportunity for Mozilla to fight for users. I hope all Mozillians can continue to collaborate together to make the world a better place for everyone.

Ed Lee
Love Mozilla

2 Comments | Tags: AwesomeBar, Mozilla, UIUC, User Data

28 March 2013 - 6:57No self for new fancy => arrow functions!

Thanks Paul for letting people know how to define JavaScript functions, the ES6 way (in Firefox 22). I’m now busy converting my anonymous functions, e.g., function(x) x*x, to the new syntax: x => x*x.

But one thing caught my eye in the spec he linked, harmony:arrow_function_syntax:

// ''=>'' has only lexical ''this'', no dynamic ''this''

This means you no longer need to bind or do the self = this dance. Both patterns are common for setting up callbacks in JavaScript.

So if your code in a method of an object used to look like either of..

addEventListener(.., function(event) {
  .. this.value ..;
}.bind(this));

or

let self = this;
addEventListener(.., function(event) {
  .. self.value ..;
});

Your code can now look like this!

addEventListener(.., event => {
  .. this.value ..;
});

Exciting stuff! :)

5 Comments | Tags: Development, Mozilla

30 October 2012 - 9:36User Privacy Contracts and the Open Web

I’ve been blogging on the Labs blog about locally analyzing Firefox data [blog.mozilla.org] and helping users share that data while keeping users in control of their privacy. One area of ideas has involved users setting terms on how the shared data can be used, such as requiring temporary use of the data and increased transparency to let the user know what parts of the data was used.

Common web pattern of users agreeing to terms

So far what I’ve described seems compatible with the Open Web because Firefox can expose access to the user’s data through a web API such as geolocation where the user confirms or denies the request. One main difference is that the site agrees to the user’s data privacy contract — perhaps through an electronic signature. But even then, this difference isn’t too foreign because this digital agreement pattern seems common on the web — except most of the time, it’s the user agreeing to the site’s terms.

One followup idea, regarding who is creating contracts, suggested a non-profit who cares about the Open Web and users’ privacy could be well suited to negotiate with web sites. Instead of having each user provide a user data privacy contract to each web site, Firefox could refer to a list of allowed domains that have already agreed to the non-profits requirements on how user data from the browser can be used. Of course Firefox would still give users control of what data is analyzed and to what detail is the data shared.

With these site-by-site contracts of agreeing to treat users’ data at a privacy level acceptable/required by the non-profit, it seems like a potential slow-but-steady way to improve the web for all parties: the site gets high quality user data, the user gets better personalized content, and Firefox protects privacy for users.

The tricky part here is that there would be a split between which web site have access to the web API: those who are contractually bound to treat users’ data correctly and those who are not. If Firefox only allowed access to web sites that have signed the contract, would this still be part of the Open Web? Is it necessary to have this as part of the Open Web? How about if general web access could be enabled through a user preference while also requiring user confirmation on a per-site basis from a scary looking dialog?

I’m sure there are plenty of other questions in this area of protecting users’ data while improving the Open Web experience. So please comment and provide your thoughts or questions!

3 Comments | Tags: Development, Facebook, Mozilla, User Data