Monthly Archives: May 2013

Interview with Ian Brown and Chris Marsden for Little Atoms

Many thanks to the wonderful Bill Thompson, for helping me interrogate Ian Brown and Chris Marsden about their new book Regulating Code on a sunny day in Cambridge a few weeks ago. The resulting podcast for Little Atoms is available here.

Come for the surprising ideas about the positive role European regulators might play in our digital future. Stay for the geek jokes.

Too much information: Links for week ending 24 May

Each week, at the behest of the Open Society Foundations Information Program, I prepare a digest of links to the week’s most interesting stories and analysis online. Here’s the latest edition, which was prepared by Wendy M. Grossman, who has been minding my patch in the months I’ve been away. Thanks, Wendy!

The New Yorker releases Strongbox platform for safer news leaking
The New Yorker has announced Strongbox, a tool for anonymous communication between journalists and sources via Tor. Written by the late Aaron Swartz and hacker–turned security journalist Kevin Poulsen, the underlying code, DeadDrop, will be open source. The Source collects first reactions and responses, which are cautiously welcoming.
New Yorker | Source Pt 1 | Source Pt 2

Peru: Trans–Pacific Partnership negotiations
EFF reports that early arrival in Lima has enabled it to get ahead of the 17th round of negotiations of the Trans–Pacific Partnership treaty and discusses the backroom manoeuvrings to increase the term of copyright still further and regulate temporary reproductions of copyrighted files such as computer caches. EFF also reports on protests surrounding the meetings.

CDT reports that a group of leading security experts including Matt Blaze (University of Pennsylvania), Susan Landau, Roger Dingledine (TOR Project3), Ed Felten (Princeton), Bruce Schneier, and Philip Zimmermann (developer of PGP) have written a report explaining the fundamental security flaws in the FBI’s proposed CALEA II, which would require ISPs to modify their services to make them wiretap–friendly.

US: EPIC asks FTC to investigate SnapChat
EPIC has filed a complaint with the FTC regarding SnapChat, a mobile app publisher that encourages users to share intimate photos and videos on the basis that they can then be deleted permanently. According to the complaint, such material can be accessed by other users after it is supposed to have been deleted.

Pew report on “Teens, Social Media and Privacy”
The Pew Internet and American Life Project, together with the Berkman Center, issues a new report on how teenagers share information about themselves on social media sites.  Danah Boyd reflects on two conclusions, that “race is a factor in explaining differences in teen social media use” and “teens are sharing a lot of content, but they’re also quite savvy”.
Pew report | Danah Boyd commentary

Is ‘cyber war’ just a scare tactic?
“Officials warn of looming cyber–Armageddon. Critics say that’s a subterfuge to erode online privacy and accountability”. An interview with EFF’s Lee Tien.

Data Dealer
This sarcastic game about privacy (published under a Creative Commons license), created by a four–person team of Austrian game designers and activists, is based on research into the data broker market. Players start as small backroom data dealers and play to become data moguls running giant empires. Learn how to trick your users and make cash with their personal data! In the video clip, from TEDxVienna, team leader Wolfie Christl explains the background.
Game | Video

UK: Shakespeare review on open data
In this blog posting, the Open Knowledge Foundation analyses the newly published Shakespeare Review of public sector information. Among the highlights: the review recommends the speedy release of more data, the removal of restrictive licensing, open access to publicly funded research, and the establishment of the economics value of open data through research and auditing.

World Health Assembly preview
In this blog posting, Intellectual Property Watch lays out its hopes for the UN World Health Assembly, taking place in Geneva May 20–28. IPW hopes to reopen the R&D Resolution in order to address the failures of the current system of incentives to generate the research and development needed to meet urgent healthcare needs in developing countries. Knowledge Ecology International’s Jamie Love has published his presentation on R&D and access to medicines in Europe, presented to the EU Parliament on May 16.
IPWatch | KEI

Civil society calls for openness in global telecoms policymaking
In this closing statement delivered to the World Telecommunications/ICT Policy Forum, a group of civil society organizations including CDT, Consumers International, and APC calls on the ITU to ensure openness, transparency, and inclusivity in policy processes.

Audio: The Digital Rights Movement
In this podcast, author and Temple University professor Hector Postigo discusses his new book, The Digital Rights Movement.



So, after six months introducing my baby daughter Zadie to the world I am now back at the keyboard. My continued work with the Open Society Foundations’ Information Program means you can expect resumption of the weekly links posts, plus intermittent dispatches from the frontier of rights and technology. But this will be the only baby pic:

Cthulu - small


A few more announcements: after five years on the Board of the Open Knowledge Foundation, I’ve decided to step down so I can make some space in my life for new projects. OKF remains one of the most exciting and fast-moving organisations in the open space, and I will be keeping my hand in through my place on their Advisory Council. I’ve also accepted OfCom’s invitation to join their Advisory Committee for England – so far, the view I’m getting from my seat there is… interesting (and I don’t just mean the stunning vista their offices enjoy of the Thames river).

It’s not all been nappies and prams (US readers: diapers and strollers) these past six months – you can expect some new writing, as well as at least one new show for Little Atoms, to be signposted from this blog fairly shortly.

It’s good to be back.