South Korea: online identity policy phased out
Major online platforms in South Korea are taking the first steps towards ending their mandatory registration requirements following serious privacy concerns and phishing crimes, The Korea Times reports. They will also delete existing data of they have, about users’ official resident registration numbers.
India: Memo suggesting Western firms supplied intelligence backdoors is probably fake
ZDNet reports that “A US government body is investigating allegations that mobile device manufacturers Apple, RIM and Nokia allowed Indian military intelligence backdoor access to communications in exchange for Indian market presence”. The allegations follow the release by Indian hackers of an Indian Ministry of Defence memo outlining the country’s communications interception programme. The Times of India conclude the memo is probably fake, and speculate about who might be behind this “elaborate hoax”.
ZDNet | Times of India
US: Campaign against Research Works Act continues
The Alliance for Taxpayer Access, a campaign of the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), has issued a call for action against the Research Works Act, a proposed bill in the US that could reverse progress towards public access to publicly-funded research. Writing in the New York Times, Public Library of Science (PLoS) co-founder Michael B Eisen makes the case against the bill.
Call to action | Eisen Op-ed
Uganda: SIM card registration starting in March
The Uganda Communications Commission has announced that it will begin its program of mandatory mobile phone SIM card registration in March. SIM cards that have not been registered by 1 March 2013 will be cut off from the network.
Spain: Freedom of Information site hits crowd-funding target
A project to implement a Spanish version of MySociety’s Freedom of Information portal, Alaveteli, has raised €6,000 from 150 funders on the Spanish “open” crowd-funding platform, goteo.org. The project, “tuderechoasaber.es” (“Your Right to Know”), is being run jointly by Access Info Europe and a new foundation called Civio. The project team will be led by data journalist Mar Cabra.
US: Drones at home and abroad
The Atlantic invite philosopher Patrick Lin to share his presentation to the CIA’s venture-capital arm, In-Q-Tel, on the ethics of drones, looking at current and future scenarios involving the military use of robotics. The Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the US Federal Aviation Authority this week to reveal how drones are being used domestically, for example to patrol remote areas and borders.
Ethics briefing | EFF lawsuit
In search of serendipity
The Economist Intelligent Life magazine examines how the web might be narrowing our horizons: “The internet has become so good at meeting our desires that we spend less time discovering new ones.”
The limits of “cute cats”
Tom Slee and Sarah Kendzior engage with Ethan Zuckerman’s 2011 Vancouver Human Rights Lecture entitled “Cute Cats and the Arab Spring”, which emphasises the role politically-motivated shutdowns of general-purpose social media sites like YouTube and Twitter played in fomenting civil unrest in the Arab world. While Slee cautions Zuckerman not to forget the role of disruption to other institutions for public networking, such as mosques and football stadia, Kendzior emphasises the crucial missing element in the Central Asian context, public trust in dissident voices being suppressed.
Zuckerman | Slee | Kendzior
Audio: The business of lobbying
Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff reveals all the influence money can buy in the world of US politics.
Interview with Steve Jobs, CEO of NeXT Computer
Evgeny Morozov republishes Red Herring magazine’s 1996 interview with the late Steve Jobs, during his hiatus in between stints as Apple co-founder and CEO: “One way to view the Web is as the ultimate direct-to-customer distribution channel”.