Links for week ending 28 January 2011

Egypt severs internet connection amid growing unrest
As anti-government demonstrations continue across Egypt, the BBC report that much of the country’s internet has been cut off from the outside world. Web watchers Renesys report that “the Egyptian government appears to have ordered service providers to shut down all international connections to the Internet”. Such a move would be unprecedented.
BBC | Renesys

Legal experts warn ACTA is not consistent with European law
Intellectual property law experts from the Max Planck Institute, together with scholars and experts from across Europe have signed an open declaration highlighting the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement(ACTA)’s inconsistencies with European law. The signatories are requesting that EU institutions and national legislators withhold consent to the draconian intellectual property enforcement treaty until it has been made compatible with EU law.

Flat World Knowledge secures $15 million in series B funding
Flat World Knowledge, one of the largest commercial publishers of open educational resources in the world, has secured $15 million in series B funding from a group of investors which includes Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments and Bessemer Venture Partners.

UAE aims to create DNA database in 10-year project
Gulf News report that the United Arab Emirates plan to build a comprehensive forensic DNA database covering the country’s entire population over the next ten years.

Iran internet censorship targeting Tor
The Tor project report on new developments in Iranian cyber censorship that are making it harder for people inside Iran to access the Tor anonymisation network: “It appears that one of the five Iranian ISPs is experimenting in blocking censorship circumvention tools such as Tor, Freegate, Ultrasurf, and Hot Spot Shield”.

The inside story of how Facebook responded to the Tunisian hacks
This Atlantic feature provides in-depth detail of the former Tunisian government’s cyber-attacks against its own citizens in the early days of the recent revolution: “After more than ten days of intensive investigation and study, Facebook’s security team realized something very, very bad was going on. The country’s Internet service providers were running a malicious piece of code that was recording users’ login information when they went to sites like Facebook.”

A day in the life of a digital librarian
Dorothea Salo participates in the 6th biannual “Library Day in the Life” project, documenting a typical day’s work for a digital information professional. Anyone with “stale, stereotyped” ideas about librarians will find themselves surprised.

Map: National DNA Databases
The Council for Responsible Genetics have produced a map showing the countries around the world with operational and planned forensic DNA databases, in conjunction with a detailed country-by-country report on the issue published this week. They warn that “resources must be mobilized to establish strong standards and universal safeguards for this most invasive form of surveillance and profiling”.
Map | Report

Open grantmaking in practice, not just in principle
Outgoing director of the White House Open Government Initiative Beth Noveck points out the wider implications of last week’s $500m grant for open educational materials: “Since grants represent half of the federal budget this is important news with potentially powerful implications for changing the culture of grantmaking”.

Open Spectrum for development: policy brief
This policy brief produced by the Association for Progressive Communications details how spectrum use has developed over the past eighty years, examines current issues and management practices and makes the case for open spectrum.

Audio: Studio 360 episode on surveillance
An entertaining, up-to-date and accessible overview of surveillance and data privacy online and off, produced by US public radio show Studio 360. Includes segments on security cameras, social networks, smart phones, cookies and facial recognition technology.

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