Links for week ending 19 November 2010

Final ACTA text officially released
IP Watch report that the US Trade Representative (USTR) have released what they say is the final text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, subject to a legal review that will take place in Sydney, Australia in early December. The text will then go to national governments to “undertake relevant domestic processes”, USTR said.

Number of mobile subscribers in Africa hits 500 million
The African continent is now home to over half a billion mobile subscribers, according to a new poll by Informa Telecoms and Media. The milestone coincides with the 25th anniversary of mobile telephony in Africa.

China Telecom rejects claims it hijacked US web traffic
China Telecom has rejected claims it hijacked a proportion of internet traffic in April 2009. The accusations surfaced in a report published this week by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The report claimed China Telecom rerouted sensitive US web traffic to China, including traffic destined for the websites of the US Senate, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, NASA and the Commerce Department.

Police put pressure on ISP to close down website in UK
Police in the UK have forced the suspension of a website, FITwatch, that has been engaged in sousveillance of police “Forward Intelligence Teams”, teams of police officers who gather intelligence about political activists at demonstrations and protests through overt surveillance. The suspension follows recent violent protests against rises in student tuition fees, and was initiated via the website’s hosting provider,

Illegal communications surveillance uncovered in Trinidad and Tobago
Police have raided a “secret snooping agency” within the National Security Ministry of Trinidad and Tobago, bringing to light an extensive list of people whose phone calls, text messages and emails have been monitored over five years. The list includes Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. Investigations are ongoing.

WIPO Copyright Committee agrees to extra time on visually impaired access
Following negotiations that stretched past midnight on the last day of meetings of WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR/21), delegates have agreed on a work programme to aid access to reading materials for the visually impaired. The programme stipulates three extra working days to be dedicated to discussions on limitations and exceptions to copyright law. Knowledge Ecology International and the World Blind Union have been the key advocates during negotiations.

Can technology end poverty?
This Boston Review special forum presents contrasting perspectives on the contribution of ICT to development. It includes contributions from Nicholas Negroponte, Evgeny Morozov, Archon Fung and Kentaro Toyama.

Tim Wu: The Master Switch
The New York Times talks to Tim Wu about his new book, “The Master Switch: The rise and fall of information empires”, in which he explores the way the open internet might gradually become enclosed by a few dominant US corporations. “My book is a history of information empires in America and the rise and fall of companies like ABC, NBC, AT&T, and eventually Facebook and Google. It’s largely a story of the American affection for information monopolists and the consequences of that fondness.”

Citizen media and digital activism in Kosovo
This feature includes an interview with the editor of Kosovo 2.0, Besa Luci, about the state of online citizen media in Kosovo in the run up to the republic’s first general elections since it declared independence in 2008.

Video: Machine Learning: A Love Story
Hilary Mason, lead scientist at, presents the history of machine learning, covering some of the most significant developments that have taken place the last two decades.

Interview with Robert Cook-Deegan of the Center for Genomics at Duke
This short interview conducted by Creative Commons with the Director of Duke University’s Center for Genomics, Robert Cook-Deegan, highlights some of the information-handling challenges that lie ahead for the study of human genomics. While individuals are rightly worried about issues of privacy and abuse of private data, “most research institutions and private firms are more concerned with mining what’s under their control already, rather than sharing and creating value collectively”.

Video: A perfect dystopian storm
This short presentation by Tom Scott at recent conference Ignite London 2 imagines the story of a flashmob gone wrong.

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