Too much information: links for week ending 22 June 2012

Ethiopia: Government bans VoIP, while deep packet inspection of all internet traffic begins
TechCrunch reports that the government of Ethiopia has criminalised the use of Voice Over IP (VoIP) services such as Skype and Google Talk. The law, passed last month, carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison. Meanwhile, the TOR blog reports that the sole telecommunications provider in the country, the Ethiopian Telecommunication Corporation, has begun to deploy deep packet inspection of all internet traffic.
Techcrunch | TOR blog

Ukraine: Interior minister wants to “adjust” access to the internet
Ukraine’s interior minister Vitaliy Zakharchenko has spoken of his desire to “adjust” access to information online, following revelations that suspects in April’s bombing in Dnipropetrovsk found out how to make the bombs from sources on the internet.

South Africa: Crunch time for DNA database
The Forensic Genetics Policy Initiative reports on developments towards a proposed new law that would allow for the expansion of South Africa’s forensic DNA database.

Europe: New report shows little access to company data has released a new report into the availability of company data across EU member states. The reports found that levels of access to basic company information were relatively poor, and, moreover, that several EU directives and initiatives “positively hinder access to company data”.

UNCTAD report sees sustainable African growth in IP flexibilities
IP Watch reports on findings published by the United Nations trade and development agency (UNCTAD) in their Economic Development in Africa report for 2012 “that the region’s sustainable future depends on using flexibilities in intellectual property rights”.

Facebook: 0.038% of users vote on data use policy change
Ars Technica reports on the poor turnout for the user vote on Facebook’s new data privacy policy earlier this month. The low turnout means that the vote will not be binding. The report observes that “Facebook made no material effort to make users aware of the vote beyond posting to its Site Governance page”.

Digital freedoms in international law
This new report authored by Ian Brown and Douwe Korff for the Global Network Initiative makes recommendations for how governments, companies, and other stakeholders can collaborate to protect rights to freedom of expression and privacy online.

You, for sale
The New York Times investigates the “quiet giant” of consumer data mining, the Acxiom Corporation: “Few consumers have ever heard of Acxiom. But analysts say it has amassed the world’s largest commercial database on consumers… Its database now contains information about 500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person — and it wants to know much, much more.”

An Eye without an “I”
Ross Andersen charts the rise of automated surveillance and underlines the ethical questions that surround it.

Filesharing and the Greek Crisis
This guest post on the Media Piracy in Emerging Economies blog from Dr. Petros Petridis of Panteio University in Athens details his research into the political and cultural factors at play in Greek filesharing practices, arguing that “P2P networks have played a part in the growth of an alternative public sphere”.

All songs considered
This well-written but one-sided and occasionally inflammatory piece is a quality example of the emotions and arguments that are often levelled at those who campaign against repressive copyright enforcement proposals like ACTA, SOPA and PIPA. The post has attracted a lot of attention online, and it appears that its authors are posting comments mostly by readers who support their views.

OER and education policy in Poland
This post on the Creative Commons blog gives details of Poland’s new “Digital School” education program, which includes the development of Open Education Resources as a central strategy.

The problems with algorithms: User-generated censorship and non-objective filters
Chris Peterson sets out the case that, as web platforms have deployed tools that incorporate “social” feedback into quality assurance algorithms, users have begun to strategically repurpose these tools in order to silence speech they don’t like. Meanwhile, Jonathan Stray outlines the challenges that face news organisations trying to design meaningful filters in the age of information abundance.
Peterson | Stray

Book: Open access
Peter Suber’s new book for MIT Press, “Open Access” is “a concise introduction to the basics of open access, describing what it is (and isn’t) and showing that it is easy, fast, inexpensive, legal, and beneficial”.

Audio: The art and science of working together
John Palfrey and Urs Gasser discuss the ideas in their new book “Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems” in this Radio Berkman podcast.

Comments are closed.