Too much information: week ending 22 July 2011

US: Activist charged for downloading millions of academic articles
Aaron Swartz, a well-known programmer and internet activist, was arrested this week and charged with violating US hacking laws for downloading millions of copyrighted academic articles from JSTOR. The criminal charges are being driven by the United States Attorney’s Office: the New York Times reports that subsequent to Swartz returning hard drives containing the articles to JSTOR and not to disseminate the material, JSTOR will take no further action. In a separate development, GigaOm reports that a user calling himself Greg Maxwell has uploaded a torrent containing over 18,500 scientific articles to filesharing site The Pirate Bay. The move was accompanied by a message confirming it was a reaction to Swartz’s arrest, and arguing that “the liberal dissemination of knowledge is essential to scientific
New York Times | GigaOm

OSCE declares access to the internet a human right
European Digital Rights (EDRi) highlight a report published by the OSCE earlier this month which expresses concern over the general trend in Europe towards regulation, censorship and control of the internet, and sets out access to the internet as a fundamental human right.

Major website in Turkmenistan hacked
New Eurasia report that, a website belonging to the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights, was taken offline this week. The website was one of few reporting on suspected explosions at an arms depot in Abadan.

Consultation on open access to scientific information launched
The European Commission launched a consultation on open access to scientific information last week. The Commission is seeking the views of scientists, research funders, universities and other interested parties on how best to use modern digital infrastructure to facilitate access, and on how to meet challenges “such as high and rising subscription prices to scientific publications, an ever-growing volume of scientific data, and the need to select, curate and preserve research outputs”. Deadline for responses is 9 September 2011.

Omidyar Network and Indigo Trust to support “co-creation” hub in Nigeria
Omidyar Network and The Indigo Trust have this week announced their joint support for the Co-Creation Hub in Lagos, Nigeria, a non-profit venture that will provide shared work space for people collaborating on technology that addresses social challenges.

Phone hacking, technology and policy
Professor Ross Anderson of the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory links the UK phone hacking scandal with longstanding concerns he and colleagues have been airing around the UK government’s proclivity towards collecting and storing data on its citizens in centralised databases.

The Measured Life
This feature from Technology Review examines how “a rapidly growing movement of fitness buffs, techno-geeks, and patients with chronic conditions who obsessively monitor various personal metrics” are driving the market in consumer-oriented versions of monitoring equipment used in healthcare, medical research and the military. It argues that what might seem like a narcissistic pursuit at first glance could lead to real medical breakthroughs.

Book Review: Don’t be evil
Evgeny Morozov takes on two recent big-name books about Google, “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives”, by Steven Levy and “The Googlization of Everything (And Why We Should Worry)” by Siva Vaidhyanathan, in this long-form book review for the New Republic.

Visualisation: Webs of deceit
Alexis Madrigal of the Atlantic points to research by organisational theorist Brandy Aven, who analysed Enron’s internal emails to reveal the contrasting patterns formed by communications pertaining to legal and illicit projects.

Video: Seven ways to ruin a technology revolution
James Boyle, Professor of Law at Duke Law School, warns of the dangers ahead for the open internet, in this engaging Google Tech Talk.

Comments are closed.