Too much information: links for week ending 9 September

WikiLeaks name names in full-text post of secret cables
At the end of last week, WikiLeaks published over 251,000 leaked US diplomatic cables from a set it had previously been releasing in redacted form with media partners all over the world. The cables were released in unredacted form, an action almost universally condemned for the lives of named informants it might inadvertently put at risk. This IT World report provides important details of the events that led up to WikiLeaks’ action.

Leak shows US influence on intellectual property policy around the world
The Toronto Star reports on US diplomatic cables that reveal significant US influence on proposed copyright and copy protection enforcement measures put forward in Canada in 2010. The cables show cabinet minister Maxime Bernier “raising the possibility of showing US officials a draft bill before tabling it to Parliament” and “even have a policy director for then industry minister Tony Clement suggesting it might help US demands for a tough copyright law if Canada were placed… on an international piracy watch list”. The story has made frontpage news in Canada. Meanwhile, Knowledge Ecology International’s James Love writes a strong and detailed piece for the Huffington Post on the important revelations the newly-released cables offer about the US government’s close collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry in its dealings with low and middle income countries seeking access to medicines, including Guatemala and the Philippines.
Toronto Star | Huffington Post

Global congress issues declaration challenging US trade policy
Information policy experts from around the world have released a joint statement that challenges the dominant direction of negotiations on intellectual property (IP) in US trade agreements. The Washington Declaration on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest is the result of a global congress hosted by American University Washington College of Law, and calls for a refocussing on public interest concerns in IP negotiations, emphasising limitations and exceptions to copyright protection and the checking of enforcement excesses. Individuals and organisations are invited to sign the declaration to indicate their support.

Putin says state should not control the internet
Reuters report that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said that modern states should not restrict internet freedoms, noting “One can always impose control, but the question is … whether the state has the right to interfere”.

Fake Facebook page targets pro-revolution Syrian users
The Information Warfare monitor reports on a new attack – suspected to be the work of the pro-regime Syrian Electronic Army – which harvests the Facebook login credentials of pro-revolution Syrians.

New evidence in case against Cisco
The New York Times reports that the Human Rights Law Foundation, who are pursuing a case against Cisco Systems under a US law that allows American companies to be sued for violations of human rights abroad, will present new evidence “showing that Cisco customized its products specifically to help Beijing go after members of the religious group Falun Gong”.

Google certificate hackers may have stolen 200 others
The Wired Threat Level blog reports that “Hackers who obtained a fraudulent digital certificate for Google may have actually obtained more than 200 digital certificates for other top internet entities such as Mozilla, Yahoo and even the privacy and anonymizing service Tor”. The hackers are believed to be targeting Iranian users, and could have used the fake certificates to intercept traffic that users thought was secure.

Political Repression 2.0
Evgeny Morozov highlights the links between surveillance systems used by repressive governments and the Western corporations who manufacture them, and urges the US State Department to address the issue, in this editorial for the New York Times.

How to create sustainable open data projects
Tom Steinberg, Director of civic hacking organisation MySociety, weighs in on a debate started on the O’Reilly Radar blog about ways that data owners, funders and civic hackers need to change their practice in order to make sure open data projects are sustainable and successful.
Steinberg | More debate

Uzbekistan launches its own Facebook, except it’s not for everyone
This feature for the Radio Free Europe Tangled Web blog looks in depth at a new state-sponsored social networking site launched in Uzbekistan, and surveys state-sponsored social networking sites across the world.

Shouting fire in a crowded hashtag
This post by Andrés Monroy-Hernández analyses the case of sixteen people in Mexico charged with spreading rumours on Twitter, putting it in the context of the security and media environment surrounding drug-related crime in Mexico.

Audio: Cathy N. Davidson on the future of education
Duke University professor Cathy N. Davidson talks to SPARK radio host Nora Young about her book “Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn” and about how education needs to evolve to meet the needs of the 21st century.

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