European Commission announces review of data protection and copyright frameworks
The European Commission officially announced its much-anticipated review of the EU data protection framework this week. The review will be led by justice commissioner Viviane Reding. Also last week, former competition commissioner and now European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes announced the commission’s desire to review the copyright framework, stating “our fragmented copyright system is ill-adapted to the real essence of art”.
Data Protection | Copyright
Attack severs Burmese internet
Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks targeting Burma’s main internet service provider effectively took Burma offline last week. Security specialists Arbor Networks report: “While the motivation for the attack is unknown, Twitter and Blogs have been awash in speculation ranging from blaming the Burma/Myanmar government (preemptively disrupting internet connectivity ahead of the November 7 general elections), to external attackers with still mysterious motives”
New challenges imposed by misguided cybercrime draft bill
A2K Brazil report that a draft Cybercrime Bill, dismissed following public outcry in 2009, has been snuck back onto the legislative agenda in Brazil. The Center for Technology and Society at the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Rio de Janeiro have launched several criticisms of the draft proposals, focussed on the fact that they criminalise ordinary consumer behaviour and threaten citizens’ privacy.
LiveJournal suspends accounts of opposition bloggers in Russia and Kazakhstan
Global Voices report two separate instances of blogging platform LiveJournal suspending the accounts of opposition bloggers last week, in Russia and Kazakhstan. LiveJournal is Russia’s most popular blogging platform and was bought by Russian media company SUP in 2007.
Kazakhstan | Russia
Turkey unblocks, then reblocks YouTube
Turkey has reportedly lifted and then reinstated its blocking of YouTube. According to campaign group European Digital Rights (EDRI), the site was originally blocked because it hosted videos considered insulting to Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. That block was lifted at the beginning of November, once the videos in question had been removed by a user. Now the block is back in place because, according to the Open Net Initiative (ONI), YouTube is hosting a potentially compromising video of former opposition leader Deniz Baykal. The Turkish government’s blocking of YouTube is being challenged in court by Istanbul Bilgi University.
Unblocked | Blocked
Focus: Open textbooks
These two articles detail the progress and potential of open textbooks in the United States education system. The first reports on initiatives to drive down the cost of textbooks using openly-licensed solutions, led in Washington State by Cable Green, Director of eLearning and Open Education at the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. The second is an interview with Eric Frank, the founder of the for-profit open textbook publisher, Flat World Knowledge.
Report | Interview
Book: SMS Uprising – Mobile activism in Africa
Released at the beginning of 2010, this collection of essays examines the use of mobile devices by activists in Africa. It is published by Fahamu Books and Pambazuka Press, and edited by Sokari Ekine.
Book: Access to Knowledge in the Age of Intellectual Property
This new collection of essays from MIT Press charts the rise of the access to knowledge movement, mapping the terrain of legal, cultural and technical issues that activists in the movement negotiate every day. The book includes contributions from Yochai Benkler, Peter Drahos, Lawrence Liang and Senior Information Program Manager Vera Franz. It is available for free download.
Opinion: Facing up to the generational privacy divide
Michael Geist uses the recent annual conference of the world’s privacy and data protection regulators as a springboard into a discussion of our shifting attitudes to privacy online. “Bringing offline social activities to the online environment raise a host of issues”, he writes, highlighting the contexts in which we share information about ourselves as the defining aspect of our subsequent expectations of privacy.