Too much information: week ending 17 June

President of Poland declares support for building open government
Poland looks set to fast track its way to open government, as reports emerged this week that the President of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski, has declared his support for a policy to open up public sector data at a rapid pace. In May, the Polish Prime Minister announced “all information funded from public sources should be available as public property, free for everyone to use as they wish”. The work of Koalicja Otwartej Edukacji (“Coalition for Open Education”) has been vital in pushing forward this agenda.
Presidential support | Prime Ministerial announcement

WIPO’s leader calls for “positive agenda”
The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Francis Gurry, has raised concerns among intellectual property reformers by calling for what he dubbed a “positive agenda” for future work at the UN institution, IP Watch reports. Such an agenda could move WIPO away from discussions about mandatory limitations and exceptions to copyright law which, for example, facilitate access to knowledge for disadvantaged groups.

ECLAC launches regional broadband observatory
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) has launched a regional broadband observatory with the aim of lowering costs and increasing access in the region.

Turkey: 32 suspected “Anonymous” members arrested
The Open Net Initiative reports: “The Turkish government has arrested 32 hackers for their suspected involvement in a series of recent attacks against government sites launched by the online activist group Anonymous”. The attacks were motivated by government plans to implement nationwide filtering of the internet.

WSJ and Al-Jazeera lure whistleblowers with false promises of anonymity
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) present a legal analysis of WikiLeaks “copycats” launched earlier this year by Al Jazeera and the Wall Street Journal, warning users not to fall for “false promises of anonymity offered by these sites”. The detailed analysis follows earlier reports that the sites security measures were technically unsound.

Netherlands first European nation to adopt net neutrality
The Dutch Parliament have voted to adopt a new telecommunications law that mandates net neutrality principles. The Register reports: “The law will force ISPs and telecom operators to ensure access to all types of content, services or applications available on the network”.

EU ministers seek to ban creation of ‘hacking tools’
Computerworld reports on a recent meeting of EU Justice Ministers to discuss proposals put forward by the European Commission to combat cyberattacks, stating that “in addition to approving the Commission’s text, the ministers extended the draft to include ‘the production and making available of tools for committing offenses'”. Where such laws have been enacted in member states – in particular the UK and Germany – they have been met with fierce criticism, centred mainly on the fact most of the tools the laws seek to ban have legitimate and crucial uses in computer security work.

US: Hacking blitz drives cyberinsurance demand
Reuters reports that demand for insurance by US companies seeking to cover the costs of cyberattacks is soaring: “companies [are trying] to protect themselves against civil suits and the potential for fines by governments and regulators, but also [seeking] help paying for mundane costs like ‘sorry letters’ to customers”.

Kenya: Finance Minister uses social media to prepare budget
Global Voices reports on the Kenyan finance minister’s use of Facebook, Scribd and Google Docs to solicit public opinion on what to include in the country’s budget.

Russia: 6 month suspended sentence for forum comment
Global Voices reports on the 6-month suspended sentence handed down to former government employee and blogger Yuri Yegorov for what the court ruled were libellous comments he posted online detailing corruption in the office of the Tatarstan ombudsman: “additionally, the court ruled to destroy Yegorov’s laptop ‘as a weapon of crime'”.

Of goats and headaches
The Economist exposes the workings of the academic journal industry in this short feature.

Working paper: Social media, human rights and political change
This working paper provides a good overview of current critiques of the role of social media in political change, with a focus on the Arab Spring.

Book: The internet of elsewhere
This new book by Cyrus Farivar exposes US readers to internet cultures in Estonia, Iran, South Korea and Senegal, arguing that those who see the ‘net uniquely through a US lens miss crucial developments elsewhere.

Book review: The filter bubble
Evgeny Morozov reviews Eli Pariser’s new book “The Filter Bubble”, which he concludes “deserves praise for drawing attention to the growing power of information intermediaries whose rules, protocols, filters and motivations are not always visible.”

Video: Interview with Rufus Pollock on Open Spending
Breaking Tech interview Open Knowledge Foundation co-founder Rufus Pollock about his work to build a platform to track government spending across the world.

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