Too much information: links for week ending 9 December 2011

Russia: Massive DDoS attacks against independent websites on election day
Global Voices present a timeline of a “massive DDoS attack against most of the digital platforms seeking to provide independent coverage of the elections” in Russia, as well as detailing the arrest and detention of several key independent media figures.

WIPO session makes positive steps forward for limitations and exceptions to copyright
The 23rd session of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR 23) ended last week. Work on a Treaty for the Visually Impaired continued, with discussions focussed on the details of the text. Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) reports the conclusions of SCCR 23 to “agree and finalize a proposal on an international instrument” at SCCR 24. Meanwhile, Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) welcome progress to create a new treaty to benefit libraries, archives and their users.

Central Asia: Internet freedom worsens
The Telegraph details a new report produced by a consortium of human rights groups that has found that internet freedom in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan is amongst the worst in the world, with the situation in Kazakhstan also deteriorating rapidly. Security and trade relationships with the US and EU mean “Western powers have become more and more reluctant to apply pressure on Central Asian states”.

India: Investigation shows chilling effect of new online takedown rules
Legally India details a leaked report resulting from an undercover investigation led by the Centre for Internet and Society in India. A researcher for the centre sent “fraudulent” takedown notices to seven internet intermediaries, with six of the targets complying with the requests to remove material from the web despite the notices containing no evidence that the specified material violated provisions made under India’s new Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules: “The only response that was rejected outright was a facetious takedown request to a shopping portal that an ad for baby’s diapers ‘harmed minors’ by potentially causing babies’ rashes”.

UK: Government signals commitment for public access to publicly funded research
The UK government has signalled its commitment to public access to publicly funded research in a new strategy on scientific innovation and research published this week. They have commissioned an independent working group of academics and publishers to review the availability of published research, and to develop action plans for making this freely available. THe group will report in 2012.

Websense joins Global Network Initiative
The Global Network Initiative, a group of companies, civil society organisations investors and academics established to help protect and advance freedom of expression and privacy in the technology sector, has announced that Websense will become its fifth company member, joining Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and Evoca. The web filtering company “has a strict policy against selling to governments or internet service providers that engage in government-mandated censorship, except in the case of prohibiting minors from accessing pornography and prohibiting child pornography”.

How online learning companies bought America’s schools
This in-depth investigation for The Nation details the intense lobbying in the US education sector that is converting the K-12 education system into a “cash cow for Wall Street”.

Citizen Scientists
The Wall Street Journal details the rise of citizen science, focussing on a new project called “That’s My Data!”, which aims to “facilitate the flow of patients’ detailed genetic data to researchers in exchange for open access to the results for those who contributed samples”. Sharon Terry, who is helping to run “That’s My Data”, is a leader of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, an organisation established by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).

Hacktivists lend a hand in the Arab Spring
The Washington Post have published a short feature about a member of the cluster of internet activists known as Telecomix, and their work providing remote technical assistance to activists in the Middle East

“Same old song”
Joe Karganis takes a wry look at the evidence, past and present, put forward by the recording industry of the harm new technologies do to the music business in this post for the Media Piracy in Emerging Economies blog.

Audio/Video: Luis von Ahn
The Spark podcast speaks to Luis von Ahn, about his new project, Duolingo. Von Ahn invents “systems that combine humans and computers to solve large-scale problems”, and is responsible for the CAPTCHA and reCAPTCHA spam prevention systems . Duolingo aims to help you “learn a language while translating the web”, and claims that “if one million people would use Duolingo to learn, the entirety of English Wikipedia could be translated to Spanish in just eighty hours”. Von Ahn has also presented his project at TED.
Spark | TED

Comments are closed.