Too much information: links for week ending 25 May

Pakistan: Twitter goes through weekend of censorship
Global Voices reports on a Twitter blackout in Pakistan last weekend, established by Pakistani Internet Service Providers at the behest of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority. Twitter service was restored nine hours later, seemingly in response to public outcry.

European Commission urges Google to change search practices
The New York Times reports that the European Commission have warned Google to change its search practices or face possible antitrust proceedings: “In issuing the ultimatum, European regulators sent their strongest signal yet that they believe Google, which has long said its search results are neutral, tips the scales in its favour”.

Facebook users force vote on privacy changes
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) reports that Facebook will be forced to allow its users to vote on a new privacy policy, after more than the required 7,000 users lodged comments on the proposed changes. The vote will only be binding if more than 30% of Facebook’s users participate.

Open Access advocates issue call to action on US research funding policy
Open Access advocates have issued a call to action, asking those who favour public access to publicly funded research in the US to sign a petition calling for President Obama “to implement open access policies for all federal agencies that fund scientific research”. The groups hope to raise 25,000 signatures in under 30 days. The Chronicle of Higher Education provides useful background to the story.
Call to action | Petition | Background

Civil Society groups protest ITU process over internet governance fears
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) reports that more than thirty civil society organisations have signed a letter of protest calling on the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a secretive UN agency, to open up the planning process around this December’s World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT). Civil society groups fear the conference, from which they are currently broadly excluded, will be used to re-open negotiations on an international telecommunications treaty in order to allow greater government control of the internet. Global Voices provide background to the story.
EFF | Global Voices

Exporting copyright: Inside the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership
This long report by Ars Technica from the Dallas round of negotiations of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), throws the spotlight on the secret new treaty critics fear contains draconian intellectual property enforcement measures, and the organised resistance that has sprung up to face it.

“Exit, stage left some of the Masters of the Universe”
Russel Southwood analyses how telecoms business models are evolving in Africa.

“Private: some search engines make money by not tracking users”
Ars Technica profiles three new search businesses that make a virtue out of protecting their users’ privacy.

“The rise of Europe’s private internet police”
Rebecca MacKinnon puts the spotlight on the increasing role of private internet companies in policing their users’ behaviour, in this feature for Foreign Policy magazine.

Newspapers: building a “print edition” for the web
British designer and programmer Phil Gyford explains in this blog post what inspired him to use the Guardian’s content API to make a “print edition for the web”, and details the design choices he made during the project.

“Universities that offer the elite to all”
The Financial Times profile Coursera, a for-profit online educational resources platform.

Book: Accelerating development using the web
Tim Unwin promotes a new volume edited by George Sadowsky and supported by the Rockerfeller Foundation, the World Wide Web Foundation and the UNDP, which explores “ways through which the Web can be used by some of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people to enhance their lives”.

Video: Howard Rheingold on web literacy
This video from the MIT Media Lab features a lecture by Howard Rheingold on the five essential survival skills he thinks we all need in today’s connected world.

Silence is a Commons
This 1983 address by Ivan Illich argues that “Computers are doing to communication what fences did to pastures and cars did to streets”.

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