Too much information: Links for week ending 15 June 2012

UK: Websites to gain libel immunity in exchange for revealing user identities
The BBC reports on new proposals put forward by the UK government that would grant website operators immunity from prosecution if they reveal the identities of users accused of posting defamatory comments. The proposals are part of wider reforms to the UK’s notorious libel laws. Campaigners are worried the measures threaten people’s privacy and will have a chilling effect on free expression.

India: Copyright amendments “bad but could have been much worse”
The Business Standard reports on amendments to India’s copyright law that provide for new rights for disabled people such as the visually impaired to access copyrighted works. Other provisions provide cause for concern.

Tajikistan: leading independent news website blocked
KyivPost reports that internet service providers in Tajikistan have been required by the state Telecommunications agency to block access to the country’s leading local independent news source, Asia-Plus.

UK: Internet surveillance proposals published
The text of a draft law that would mandate draconian levels of internet surveillance in the UK was published this week, the BBC reports. The proposals face significant political opposition.

ITU: Internet Governance Project release analysis of leaked documents
The Internet Governance Project blog publishes an analysis of proposed amendments to the International Telecommunication Regulations, which were leaked last week. The Regulations are an important international treaty governing global telecommunications, which activists fear will be redrafted at December’s meeting of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in order to grant governments greater control of the internet. The analysis concludes that the most worrying of the new proposals would attempt to change international economic arrangements around internet connectivity in a way that “could be damaging to the internet’s status as a relatively open platform for new services”.

New “Cyber Stewards” programme announced
The Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and Citizen Lab have announced a new research programme to support cybersecurity experts in the global South, and are inviting candidates from Central America, the Caribbean, South America, sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa, and Asia to submit project proposals “to articulate a vision of cyber security in which rights and openness are protected”.

Journal offers flat fee for “all you can publish”
Nature reports on the launch of a new open access science-publishing venture, “PeerJ”, which charges a one-off fee for a lifetime “membership” allowing them to publish peer-reviewed research papers without charge. The model was conceived by PLoS ONE’s Peter Binfield and Mendeley’s Jason Hoyt, and is being funded by O’Reilly Alpha­TechVentures.

Keep the library open after graduation
The Washington Post celebrate the success of the 25,000-strong petition to the Obama administration (promoted by the Right to Research Coalition and others) to grant public access to publicly-funded research with this editorial calling for learning to be allowed to flourish beyond the walls of the institution: “Although the bulk of published research is publicly funded, the journals that publish such crucial resources are often prohibitively expensive”. The Hill covers the escalating battle for publicly-funded research in Washington.
WaPost | The Hill

A Downward Spiral for Freedom of Expression in Ethiopia
Katrina Kaiser of the Electronic Frontier Foundation casts the spotlight on increasing online repression in Ethiopia: “While Ethiopian Internet penetration is only about 1%, there is still a vibrant, tightly-knit community of bloggers whose websites, blogs, and Facebook pages have been blocked by the government.”

Creating room on radio spectrum
This New York Times feature outlines innovative responses to spectrum scarcity, which focuses on promoting efficiency.

Obama’s data advantage
Politico carry a long feature outlining the scale of the Obama campaign’s 2012 digital operation, and how it may give them the advantage come election time.

Book review: Tubes
Evgeny Morozov reviews “Tubes”, Andrew Blum’s new book about the physical realities of the internet, told in the style of a travelogue.

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