Too much information: week ending 29 July 2011

Malawi cracks down on media covering protests
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports on a media crackdown in Malawi in response to national anti-government protests in which as many as 18 people are reported to have died. Journalists have been arrested, the signals of private radio broadcasters have been switched off, and independent media websites have been experiencing massive sustained DDoS attacks.

Web surveillance sends chill through parts of Chinese economy
The New York Times reports that: “new regulations that require bars, restaurants, hotels and bookstores to install costly web monitoring software are prompting many businesses to cut internet access and sending a chill through the capital’s game-playing, web-grazing literati who have come to expect free wi-fi with their lattes and green tea”.

Italy blocks proxy servers
LINX reports that Italian ISPs have been forced by Italy’s cybercrime police unit to block access to, a legal proxy-server website, after authorities realised it could be used to access websites banned under Italy’s strict copyright enforcement regime.

Special: Online debate and the virtual public sphere
“The age of rage” is an in-depth feature by Tim Adams for the UK’s Observer newspaper which examines the effects anonymity and pack mentality have on online debate. Meanwhile “Tunnel vision”, a short comment piece for the Guardian’s Comment is Free, argues that the internet’s fragmentation of the public sphere can nurture and catalyse extremist viewpoints.
Age of rage | Tunnel vision

The politics of surveillance in Latin America
The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Katitza Rodriguez details how communication interception is being used as a political tool to identify, control and stifle dissent in Latin America.

(S)low impact research and the importance of open in maximising re-use
Cameron Neylon of the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council argues that new approaches to publishing and evaluating scientific research could increase the value of basic and low-impact research.

Marshall McLuhan speaks
This month marks the centenary of the birth of Marshall McLuhan, the media theorist who coined the phrases “the global village” and “the medium is the message”. This website celebrates McLuhan’s work, and includes a 20-minute video narrated by Tom Wolfe.

Tool: public domain calculator
The “public domain calculator” is a joint project of the Europeana Connect project and the Austrian National Library designed to be used to discern whether a particular work is in the public domain in a particular jurisdiction, an ostensibly simple task that turns out to be very complicated in practice thanks to disconnected and complex copyright laws across the world.

Visualisation: privacy maps
Nymity create useful maps detailing privacy laws around the world, and have just launched new maps for Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Video: A year in the life of the New York Times Homepage
This bewitching video plays images of the New York Times homepage as it has changed over the past year. Its creator, Phillip Mendonça-Vieira, writes: “Traditionally, the purpose of a newspaper’s front page was to entice the reader into delving further into the publication. As a consequence, they are roughly equivalent with whatever the editors thought were the most relevant news items of the day.”

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