Too much information: Links for week ending 8 June 2012

US: Obama order sped up wave of cyberattacks against Iran
The New York Times reports revelations about “Operation Olympic Games”, a US-sponsored cyberattack programme initiated under George Bush and accelerated by President Obama, which targeted Iran’s nuclear facilities. The programme included the development of the Stuxnet worm. Separately this week, Google have announced that it will issue a new warning to users of its email service if it suspects state-sponsored attackers are attempting to compromise their data or computers.
“Operation Olympic Games” | Google

Thailand: Court convicts newspaper director on computer crimes charge
Human Rights Watch reports on a court’s decision in Thailand last week to convict Chiranuch Premchaiporn (the director of online newspaper Prachatai) under Thailand’s Computer Crime Act, for publishing ten comments from anonymous readers which insulted the monarchy. Although the one year prison sentence was suspended, the case still “a criminal conviction for an internet intermediary in a lese majeste case marks a new low in Thailand’s intolerance of free speech”.

South Africa: Campaigners unite against secrecy bill
The Guardian reports on a new campaign to stop South Africa’s proposed new law the Protection of State Information Bill. The campaign has support from human rights lawyers, newspaper editors and Nobel prize-winning writers. The proposed law would impose heavy penalties on whistleblowers and journalists who “possess, leak or publish state secrets”.

ITU regulation reforms leaked
A compilation of all the proposals to amend the International Telecommunication Regulations, the international treaty which activists fear will be redrafted at December’s meeting of the International Telecommunications Union in order to grant governments greater control of the internet, has been leaked to the Internet Governance Project blog. Further analysis of the documents is promised by the coalition of academics who make up the project.

European Blind Union launch campaign for accessible reading materials treaty
Ahead of treaty negotiations to establish exceptions to copyright that would facilitate greater access to reading materials for the blind at the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the European Blind Union have launched a campaign encouraging people to contact EU governments and ask them about their position on the issue.

The spy who came in from the code
This feature for Columbia Journalism Review explores how journalists working with dissidents in the Middle East have been slow to react to the growing sophistication of surveillance technology, putting their sources at risk by failing to adopt appropriate information security measures.

On Avaaz
Jillian York outlines why she does not donate to the campaigns group Avaaz, in this detailed post critiquing their position in the human rights and technology community.

The war for India’s internet
Writing for Foreign Policy magazine, Rebecca MacKinnon reports on the growing protests against efforts to censor the internet in India.

What data can and cannot do
A thought-provoking piece by the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Jonathan Gray that attempts to dampen some of the hype surrounding data-driven journalism: “The thought of tethering our reportage, analyses and reflection to chunks of data-given truth is certainly consoling. But the notion that data gives us special direct access to the way things are is – for the most part – a chimera.” The winners of the Global Editors Network and the European Journalism Centre’s Data Journalism Awards, announced last week, provide a glimpse of the state of the art.
Opinion | Awards

Young scientists embrace crowd-funding
A short feature from the New York Times profiling a new crowd-funding platform for scientists and some of the research projects that are emerging from it.

Ten top tools for cause campaigners
A US-focussed list of useful software tools for campaigners.

Video: How do credentials change as education goes online?
A debate between Stanford President John Hennessy and Khan Academy founder Salman Khan about the future of education, filmed at a recent conference in the US.

Video: Witness/Storyful Human Rights Channel
Witness and Storyful have partnered to launch a new human rights video channel on YouTube. The channel features a mix of breaking news, activism videos and under-covered investigations, curated around a selection of human rights stories.

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