Citizen Node is an idea that arose in the aftermath of the "People's Filibuster" at the Texas Capitol in June and July of 2013.
Social media and quick personal messaging were viewed by many to be an invaluable tool in trying to understand events as they unfolded. The fact that participants’ personal experiences and observations varied so widely from old-media reports that were released many hours or days after the event further reinforced the belief that on-the-ground information is a powerful tool that can be harnessed to create and maintain a body politic that votes for and supports policy that truly represents its beliefs and ideals.
Towards that end, the Citizen Node kit aims to help by ensuring that people have on-going access to a means of communication and engagement in two ways: first, by providing various way of charging devices that may not carry enough charge to get them through the event otherwise; second, by providing supplemental network bandwidth to ensure access to the Internet even in crowds with heavy data usage.
Volunteers will be entrusted with Citizen Node kits containing MiFi hotspots and charging devices for the common use of attendees at important civic and cultural events. Individuals given Citizen Node kits would have to agree to attend events they are dispatched to, obey all lawful orders of law enforcement officers while at events, and provide access to all people who meet the terms and conditions of the service, regardless of political affiliation, unless the Citizen Node volunteer believes that an individual is using the service to engage in overt criminal activity.
The first Citizen Node Kit, "Molly," was named after the legendary journalist and political commentator Molly Ivins, who famously described Texas politics as "the finest form of free entertainment ever invented."
Over the coming months, more Citizen Node kits will be assembled and tested by volunteers at various social and civic events, with the aim of being of service during the 2014 off-season campaign and election events, and during any periods of citizen activism during the 2015 Texas Legislature.
Funded by Austin, TX (August 2013)