Egypt: Blogger detained for 15 days
Reuters reports that Egyptian blogger Alaa Abd El Fattah has been detained for fifteen days after refusing to answer military prosecutors in a case where he stands accused of inciting violence and sabotage. The case is widely seen as reflecting a broader crackdown on dissent by the ruling Egyptian army, and a return to old ways of repression. Abd El Fattah was detained by the Mubarak regime in 2006. Abd El Fattah has sent a letter from prison, which was published on Wednesday in the UK’s Guardian newspaper in English and in Arabic by the Egyptian newspaper Al Shorouk. This video depicts Abd El Fattah’s family and rights work.
Report | Letter | Video
“Hollywood finally gets a chance to break the internet”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) highlight a new piece of draft legislation being pushed through the United States Congress: the STOP Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Dubbing it “the worst piece of IP legislation we’ve seen in the last decade — and that’s saying something”, EFF detail how it will require internet service providers, search engines and payment processors such as Paypal to “disappear” websites which are alleged – by rightsholders – to infringe their intellectual property rights. The law may also threaten services that rely on safe-harbour provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to host user-generated content. EFF are publishing a series of blog posts analysing the law, and are urging their supporters to act.
First post | Second post
Russia: Government plans to control the online media
European Digital Rights (EDRi) report on tests being conducted by Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications regulator, of software that traces “extremist” content on the web: “In case the respective software decides, based on rather vague criteria, that a certain website has “extremist” content, the site is given three days to remove it and, in case of non-compliance, is sent two more warnings and then is closed down”.
US: First phase of Open Course Library launched
The Washington State community and technical college system launched its Open Course Library this week, a repository of open educational resources that anyone can download, use and adapt, free-of-charge. Inside Higher Ed reports: “More than half of the first 42 course modules use only open content, which students can access for free. Other courses refer students to textbooks published by Flat World Knowledge, which offers a choice of free digital textbooks or inexpensive print editions.”
Iran: Cyber police cite US threat
The Washington Post reports on Iran’s latest PR campaign to convince its citizens that the Iranian cyber-police is on their side, by linking Western internet firms to US foreign policy: “At this month’s Digital Media Fair in Tehran… portraits of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs hung next to posters showing the Google logo replacing the field of stars on the American flag”.
Russia: The data leak war and other pre-election surprises
Global Voices reports on the rise of data leaks in Russia in the run-up to country’s elections.
Why parents are helping their children lie to Facebook
This First Monday paper by Danah Boyd, Eszter Hargittai, Jason Schiltz and John Palfrey details new survey data about parents’ attitudes to their younger children having Facebook accounts, and concludes that current US legislation intended to protect children’s privacy “inadvertently undermines parents’ ability to make choices and protect their children’s data”.
Digital age spawns big brother bosses
Aljazeera.net investigates illegal monitoring of employees’ online activity in Romania and beyond.
Michael Nielsen on opening science to the network
Michael Nielsen outlines his vision for open science in this Wall Street Journal editorial, while the Financial Times reviews Nielsen’s new book, “Reinventing Discovery”.
Editorial | Review
Open Access vs academic publishing company profits
Techdirt highlights analysis from across the Open Access blogosphere showing that the amount of money it would cost to pay PLoS One’s per-article publication fee for the estimated 1.5 million scholarly research articles published each year is roughly equivalent to the total amount of money the top three for-profit scholarly publishers take out of the system as profit for their shareholders each year.
Three reasons why M4D may be bad for development
Steve Song cautions those seduced by stories of rapid mobile phone adoption in Africa to learn from the lesson of the “ICT4Dev” (ICTs for Development) movement.
Making the Open Government Partnership work
Matt Rosenberg, editor of Public Data Ferret, provides in-depth analysis of the Open Government Partnership for the Open Knowledge Foundation blog.
Tools for corporate transparency
The Sunlight Foundation have launched a new project “Six degrees of corporations”, which highlights how the lack of an effective unique identifier system for corporate bodies in the US and globally is hampering grassroots efforts to enhance corporate transparency. Another project, opencorporates.com, is an attempt to fix the problem.
Six degrees | Open Corporates
Audio: Douglas Rushkoff – program or be programmed
The Spark podcasts Nora Young speaks to Douglas Rishkoff about his most recent book: “Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age”.