Links for week ending 8 April 2011

US to shut down major digital transparency projects
The Sunlight Foundation reports that the US federal government’s two open government data portals, and face “virtual extinction” if current budget proposals being considered by US legislators are made law: “The funding source for these e-government initiatives is the Electronic Government Fund, a $34 million bucket of money that would be drained to $2 million for the remainder of this fiscal year”.

Czech Constitutional Court rejects data retention law
European Digital Rights (EDRI) report that the constitutional court of the Czech Republic has ruled that the country’s implementation of the European Data Retention Directive is unconstitutional. The ruling was made on the grounds that the law represented an unacceptable level of mass surveillance. The law was repealed by the court.

Campaign launched to expand open access policy
The Right to Research Coalition has launched a campaign to put pressure on US federal funding agencies to mandate open access policies on all research they fund. This week is the third anniversary of the National Institutes of Health adopting such a policy.

Appeal begins in gene patents case
The Council for Responsible Genetics reports on the opening days of a hearing at the US Court of Appeals which will rule on whether patents on two genes associated with increased breast and ovarian cancer risk are valid, or whether the genes can’t be patented because they are “products of nature”.

Profile: the Guardian Project
The Personal Democracy Forum blog profiles the Guardian Project, an initiative to create a secure, private communications platform for activists and journalists on top of Google’s Android mobile phone operating system.

WikiLeaks: The illusion of transparency
This working paper by US legal professor Alasdair S. Roberts sets out a clear and compelling argument why, despite the excitement over Wikileaks, the forces stacked against radical transparency are more powerful than those acting in its favour.

A critique of legislative monitoring websites
David Sasaki uses the story of a successful grassroots campaign against legislation to enact an “internet tax” in Mexico to show where legislative monitoring websites are going wrong.

Designers make data much easier to digest
This New York Times feature is a great introduction to why information design matters.

Audio: Interview with Tim Wu
Little Atoms interview Tim Wu, author of the Master Switch and recent appointment to the Federal Trade Commission, about business cycles in telecommunications and media and their effect on free expression.

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