Here are the links from last week’s Information Program mailout, a weekly update of interesting information policy stories and features I help to compile.
World’s leading newspapers collaborate to expose leaked US documents on Afghanistan
The New York Times (US), Guardian (UK) and Der Spiegel (Germany) this week launched a coordinated exposé of over 75,000 secret US military documents leaked to the whistleblowing website Wikileaks. Among other revelations, the documents highlight greater levels of civilian casualties than officially reported. The three newspapers pooled their investigative resources to examine and report on the documents, and many of their online reports include rich data visualisations.
New York Times | Guardian | Der Spiegel
India unveils prototype of $35 tablet computer
India’s Human Resource Development minister Kapil Sibal has unveiled a prototype touchscreen computer aimed at students, which he says can be manufactured for $35 per unit. A ministry spokesperson confirmed that several global manufacturers have shown interest in making the device but no manufacturing or distribution deals have been finalised. The tablet project is part of a national education technology initiative, which also aims to bring broadband connectivity to India’s colleges and universities and make study materials available online.
Street protest in Istanbul over internet censorship
The Open Net Initiative report that street protests in Istanbul against Turkey’s internet censorship policies attracted thousands of participants: “This rise in frequency of protests for Turkey is really unexpected and nothing quite like it has yet happened in other nations who practice Internet censorship.”
Indo-EU Trade Dispute draws global attention
Brazil, China, Canada, Japan, Turkey and Ecuador have each filed requests to join in consultations at the World Trade Organization’s investigation into the Indo-EU trade dispute over the seizure of in-transit Indian generic drug consignments at various ports in the Netherlands. According to this report, “the future of these consultations and the outcome of the dispute may very well be key to determining whether ACTA will proceed as planned.”
WHO agrees that East African laws confuse fake and generic drugs
The World Health Organization’s Director of Essential Medicines and Pharmaceutical Policies, Hans Hogerzeil, has warned that draft anti-counterfeiting laws in Kenya and Uganda could “lump together actual counterfeit and fake medicines with generic medicines”, echoing the concerns of many in the access to medicines community.
When Arabs Tweet
“One cannot take seriously the United States or any other Western government that funds political activism by young Arabs while it simultaneously provides funds and guns that help cement the power of the very same Arab governments the young social and political activists target for change.” Rami G Khouri gives an Arab perspective on new US approaches to promoting internet freedom as a tool for political change.
Is copyright a help or a hindrance?
This British Library report brings important perspectives from the academic research community to the topic of copyright reform.
New ACTA analysis from Michael Geist
Michael Geist asks, “Could the EU walk away from ACTA?” and uses a new leak of the latest treaty text to highlight the major areas of disagreement that still remain.
Forensics: how wide should a genetic net reach?
The New York Times asks whether familial searching – looking through existing DNA records for partial matches to DNA material from crime scenes in order to find the family members of suspected perpetrators – warrants the invasion of privacy it entails.
Visualisation: Facebook users
The “population” of Facebook hit 500 million this week. This visualisation shows where they live in the real world, and which countries contain the highest proportion of Facebook users per head of population.
Podcast: Thinking about thinking about the net
What are the most basic points of view about the significance of the internet? In a wide-ranging conversation (episode 158 of the excellent Radio Berkman podcast) David Weinberger argues that three variables capture just about every attitude towards the Net, while Tim Hwang works through some of the common memes and metaphors that help us make sense of it, and their implications.