Digital Media Mash Up: January 2012, Week 2

In this Issue

Upcoming Events - In Washington, D.C. and Beyond

In the News:


Upcoming Events - In Washington, D.C. and Beyond

Beyond Washington

Information Technologies and Marginalization in African Market Economies (Society and the Internet Lecture Series, Part 9)
Tuesday 17 January 2012 16:00 - 17:30
It is often argued that poor and marginalized communities self perpetuate their poverty by inhabiting closed networks. Closed networks and a lack of trust in weak social ties limits the ability to trade, form new business connections, access useful market information, and successfully innovate. This lack of trust in weak social ties is especially prevalent throughout the Global South due to a range of political, organizational and technological factors. However, the rapidly increasing use of the Internet coupled with liberalizing economies has been seen by many as a way for people to participate in traditionally unreachable social and economic networks. Using case studies from the Sudanese labour market, this talk problematizes the link between technologically mediated weak ties and embeddedness in African economic networks. It suggests that the Internet and other ICTs are not the levelers that many expected them to be. Whilst codified information on the Internet is in theory accessible to all, it remains that a range of barriers including access, technological proficiency and literacy, class, tribe and gender all play a role in restricting growth, innovation and social equality for the traditionally marginalized. Internet initiatives focused on development need to deal with this larger range of issues if they are to succeed.
Featuring: Laura Elizabeth Mann, Oxford Internet Institute
Location: Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, 1 St Giles Oxford OX1 3JS

Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom
February 2, 6:00PM
A global struggle for control of the Internet is now underway. At stake are no less than civil liberties, privacy and even the character of democracy in the 21st century. Many commentators have debated whether the Internet is ultimately a force for freedom of expression and political liberation, or for alienation, and repression. It is time to stop arguing over whether the Internet empowers individuals and societies, and address the more fundamental and urgent question of how technology should be structured and governed to support the rights and liberties of all the world's Internet users. In her timely book, Rebecca MacKinnon warns that a convergence of unchecked government actions and unaccountable company practices is threatening the future of democracy and human rights around the world. Consent of the Networked is a call to action: Our freedom in the Internet age depends on whether we defend our rights on digital platforms and networks in the same way that people fight for their rights and accountable governance in physical communities and nations. It is time to stop thinking of ourselves as passive "users" of technology and instead act like citizens of the Internet - as netizens - and take ownership and responsibility for our digital future.
Featuring: Rebecca MacKinnon, hosted by Berkman Center for Internet and Society and MIT Center for Civic Media
Location: MIT Media Lab, Silverman Room (E14-648), Boston, MA

In the News

Global Censorship Update

View the Global Censorship Update in a Google Map

Hushing Twitter: The Danger of Double Standards
Twitter has been hit recently by a spate of calls demanding the company remove accounts belonging to "terrorist organizations." Though a letter sent in late December to Twitter by Israeli law firm Shurat HaDin has received the lion's share of press attention, US Senator Joseph Lieberman issued a call nearly a month earlier for Twitter to ban the Taliban from using their service, and a New York Times article quotes an unnamed source as saying the government is "exploring legal options to shut down the Shabab's new Twitter account." (Al-Akhbar, 1/10)

This Week in Censorship: Grave Threats to Netizens the World Over
Chinese netizen slapped with ten year sentence; Bahraini human rights activist attacked; online journalist's murder has grave implications for free expression in Rwanda; Turkish academics sign declaration in protest of new filters. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 1/11)

BAHRAIN: Human Rights Defender Nabeel Rajab Attacked, Hospitalised
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR), the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) hold the authorities in Bahrain fully responsible for the life and safety of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab. (IFEX, 1/6)

BAHRAIN: Bahrain Tries 5 Police over Blogger's Death in Custody during Anti-Government Protests
A lawyer for the family of a prominent Bahraini blogger says five police officers have gone on trial over the activist's death while in custody. The lawyer, Mohammed al-Tajir, says the police were arraigned in the High Criminal Court on Wednesday. Two are charged with beating the blogger, Zakariya al-Asheri, with a water hose. Three others are charged with hiding the beatings from prison authorities. (Washington Post, 1/11)

BELARUS: Pro-Opposition News Website Attacked, Shut Down
It's not unusual for Charter 97, a Belarusian pro-opposition news website, to be disrupted online. CPJ has documented intimidations, threats, and arrests against its staff members, the murder of its founder, and denial-of-service attacks against the website. (IFEX, 1/2)

BULGARIA: Anti-Mafia Unit Raids Large Torrent Sites, Arrests 17-Year-Old Admin
Two of Bulgaria's largest torrent sites have been raided by the country's organized crime unit. The sites, which served in excess of three quarters of a million members, had been established for several years. Three locations were raided and two site admins, one just 17-years-old, were arrested. (Torrent Freak, 1/10)

BURMA: Musician Win Maw and Blogger Nay Phone Latt Included in Large Scale Amnesty
The Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International welcomes the release of leading musician Win Maw and prominent blogger Nay Phone Latt , who are among 651 prisoners to be freed as part of a presidential amnesty announced on 13 January 2012. (Pen International, 1/13)

CHINA: Online Writer Imprisoned in China
A 10-year prison term given to online critic Chen Xi last month is the latest severe sentence targeting dissenters in China, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. (Committee to Protect Journalists, 1/10)

IRAN: Iran Escalates Campaign Against Online Expression
The Iranian regime is doing everything they can to scare their citizens into silence. Ranked among the worst in the world in terms of online censorship, Iran has taken harsher, increasingly sophisticated steps to stifle free expression online and condemn the act of information sharing in light of increasing political and economic tensions. While a recent initiative to create a national "halal" Internet would essentially block Iranians from the outside world, last week the country's Ministry of Information Communication Technology (MICT) also issued regulations that force Internet cafés to install security cameras, document users' browsing history and usage data, as well as collect personal information for each session of use. Worse still, bloggers continue to be arrested, detained, and now, even sentenced to death. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 1/12)

MALDIVES: Leading Journalist Released but His Blog Remains Banned
Reporters Without Borders notes the decision by a Maldivian court to free the blogger Ismail Kilath "Hilath" Rasheed, arrested on 14 December four weeks after his blog was closed down on the government's orders. (Reporters Without Borders, 1/9),41...

NETHERLANDS: Dutch Court Orders Block on Pirate Bay Website
Two Dutch cable companies were ordered by a court on Wednesday to block access to the website The Pirate Bay to prevent the illegal downloading of free music, films and games in a case brought on behalf of the entertainment industry. (Reuters, 1/11)

SPAIN: Spain's SOPA Law: How It Works And Why It Won't
Last week-less than two months after winning control over the Spanish parliament-the right-leaning Partido Popular passed a controversial new anti-internet piracy law that will impose strict penalties on website owners who fail to remove copyrighted material from their sites. Sound familiar? The law, named after the Culture Minister Angeles Gonzalez-Sinde, gives the Spanish government nearly the same broad ranging authority found in the proposed SOPA law, which is now grinding through the gears of the U.S. Congress. (IEEE Spectrum, 1/9)

SYRIA: RSF Launches Parody Video on Censorship
VIDEO: To draw public attention to media censorship in Syria, Reporters Without Borders and the JWT Paris ad agency have produced a short video inspired by parodies of Siri, the star app on the new iPhone 4S. It shows a man hunched over his iPhone failing to get any information from Siri about Syria except the weather forecast, the only news the government is not censoring. (IFEX, 1/9)

UNITED STATES: U.S. Government Threatens Free Speech With Calls for Twitter Censorship
EFF has witnessed a growing number of calls in recent weeks for Twitter to ban certain accounts of alleged terrorists. In a December 14th article in the New York Times, anonymous U.S. officials claimed they "may have the legal authority to demand that Twitter close" a Twitter account associated with the militant Somali group Al-Shabaab. A week later, the Telegraph reported that Sen. Joe Lieberman contacted Twitter to remove two "propaganda" accounts allegedly run by the Taliban. More recently, an Israeli law firm threatened to sue Twitter if they did not remove accounts run by Hezbollah. (Electronic Frontier Foundation, 1/6)

Digital Media News Affecting Journalists and Activists

Keeping It Local: Is Grassroots Journalism the Future?
It was one of those ideas that came from yet another conversation about the future of journalism. You know the discussion, the internet is killing journalism, newspapers are cutting back, journalists are relegated to regurgitating press releases, and how do we make money. That was how Inside the M60 was born. (The Journalism Foundation, 1/9)

Spying on Journalists is Easy
When promising anonymity, discreetly stashed notes and a tight lip are the precautions of journalism's past. Reporters have gone to jail rather than share the information they've gathered for a court proceeding, but as reporters increasingly depend on technology to correspond and collect material, the fruits of that labor can be accessed without a summons, subpoena, or the journalist even realizing it. (Columbia Journalism Review, 1/9)

Looks Like There's No Pulitzer for Twitter Reporting
Late last year, the board that oversees the journalism prizes named after newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer changed the definition of its "breaking news" award to stress the real-time nature of the category. This led to speculation about whether someone who used Twitter as a reporting tool - the way that Andy Carvin of National Public Radio did during the Arab Spring revolutions in Egypt and elsewhere last year, for example - might be eligible for one. But a spokesman for the Pulitzer board said on Monday that he would not, because Twitter is not considered a news entity for the purposes of the prize. But should it be? (GigaOM, 1/9)

Ummm...What Exactly Is a Journalist?
A libel case in Oregon, US, has highlighted an issue that is already troubling the media in this country - what, exactly, is a journalist? (Press Gazette, 1/10)

Data Mining, Portable Media, Digital Best Practices Tackled at Canadian Journalist Conference
Developments in digital media and mobile technology continue have a dramatic impact on journalism, in the way consumers get their news, and in the way journalists report it. (Mediacaster Magazine, 1/10)

The New York Times's Nick Kristof On Journalism In A Digital World And The Age Of Activism
Interview with Nick Kristof. (Fast Company, 1/10)

Nick Kristof on Occupy and the Rise of Citizen Journalism
Many traditional journalists seem inherently suspicious of "citizen journalism" - that is, the idea that anyone with a cellphone camera and a Twitter account can function as a journalist given the right circumstances. And their suspicion probably isn't surprising, since this democratization of distribution threatens the information-gatekeeper role that mainstream media has always played. But not everyone sees this as a threat, or something to be discouraged: Nick Kristof, the New York Times foreign correspondent and author, said in an interview this week that he sees the benefits of the phenomenon - and put his finger on one of the main reasons why it is a good thing for journalism and for society as a whole. (GigaOM, 1/11)

3 Laws for Journalists in a Data-Saturated World
At the Cyberspace Conference in London in November, Igor Shchegolev, the Russian minister of communications and mass media, referred to sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. Let me propose Three Laws for Journalists in the Digital World. (PBS MediaShift, 1/11)

When Tweeters Become Twits, Communication Suffers
The other day, I sat down with a group of journalists and activists to discuss our annoyance at how almost everyone who opens a Twitter account thinks they've become an instant expert, an activist, a writer or an artist - often all at the same time. But what if you've never actually produced a piece of art, written a proper article or actually stood and protested for anything? You tweet, therefore you are? (The National, 1/12)

4 Ways to Start Researching the Market for Your New Journalism Venture
Journalists love to dive in. Once we've got a topic in mind, we rush off to report, write/record, edit and publish. When launching a new venture, though, whether a local or niche site, an app, a network or something else entirely, it's useful to add a fifth step early on: market research. (Poynter, 1/11)

19 Free ebooks on Journalism (for your Xmas Kindle)
As many readers of this blog will have received a Kindle for Christmas I thought I should share my list of the free ebooks that I recommend stocking up on. (Online Journalism Blog, 1/9)

How To Deal With Complaints On Facebook Pages
Any brand with its own Facebook page has likely run into some sort of negative commentary, and we can never get enough advice on how to address this in social media.
So we appreciate the following suggestions from analytics platform KissMetrics on how to create something positive out of the negative. (All Facebook, 1/12)

Update on Digital Media Companies and Outlets

Google to Twitter: You Asked Us Not to Index Tweets
It wasn't until late Tuesday night that Google responded to Twitter's comments about the search engine's announcement that it will start incorporating Google+ information into its search results. (Washington Post, 1/11)

Who Loses in the War between Google and Twitter? Users
In case you missed it, Google has been taking a beating in some quarters over the addition of Google+ content to search, something the search giant argues is beneficial for users, but critics say is an unfair use of the company's market dominance. Twitter is one of those complaining that Google is promoting its own social network, but Google says it is just obeying Twitter's request to not index its content, and that Twitter is the one who backed out of a deal between the two. The reality is that both sides are being disingenuous, and the real issue is about control over social content - and users of both services are the ones who wind up losing in the end. (GigaOM, 1/11)

Media Memo: Google Just Upped the Ante on Being Social
There are plenty of things to be concerned about when it comes to Google's new "personalized search" features, including the risk that the search giant is waving a red flag in front of antitrust regulators by throwing its weight around. But for media companies, one of the key facts about this change is that it makes a social-media strategy even more imperative. In some ways, as Jeff Sonderman of the Poynter Institute points out in a blog post, Google has just made social connections and links the new search-engine optimization strategy, whether you like it or not. If you ignore that message, be prepared to see your content suffer. (GigaOM, 1/12)

Appifier Launches New Service That Turns WordPress Sites Into Mobile Apps
Appifier is a new service, previously in beta, that turns WordPress sites into mobile apps. That's not mobile websites, mind you, but actual mobile applications complete with push notifications, offline access, Twitter and Facebook sharing, plus a native look, feel and speed. (TechCrunch, 1/11)

Bigger than Google+, MySpace Isn't Dead Yet
MySpace, the grand daddy of social services is still wheezing along, comScore says in its latest social media report. In fact it is bigger than Tumblr and Google Plus. I have no idea where (and why) MySpace is getting so much traffic - still. Infact, people spend more time on MySpace, a dying platform than on Google Plus says a lot about the latter. Compare the time spent on Google Plus and Facebook and realize that Google is climbing what is essentially the side of a glass building. Also, did you notice Pinterest just cracked the top ten list! As I said, Pinterest is hawt! (GigaOM, 1/12)

FACEBOOK: How Facebook's Targeted Advertising Destroyed the Life of a Young Man
This is a story about how the world's biggest social networking site - in the single-minded pursuit of profit - teamed up with the marketing industry to unwittingly risk the safety of a vulnerable young person. It raises some uncomfortable questions about how large corporations gamble with the lives and reputations of people and how privacy is being routinely circumvented throughout modern business models. (Privacy International, 1/11)

FACEBOOK: Access Facebook on any Mobile Without the Internet
Do you have an old mobile phone, like the Nokia 1100, that has no browser and can do little more than make phone calls? Or are you stuck in some remote place where there's no Internet or no other form of data (EGDE/GPRS/3G) connectivity is available? (Digital Inspiration, 1/12)

FOXCONN: Foxconn Resolves Pay Dispute With Workers
Foxconn Technology, the largest contract electronics manufacturer in the world, said Thursday that it had resolved a pay dispute with scores of workers at one of its factories in central China, following a large protest that involved threats by some workers to commit suicide by leaping from the top of a factory building. (New York Times, 1/12)

GOOGLE: First Test Results: Is Google Unwiring the Web for Google+?
Wednesday in ReadWriteWeb, Jon Mitchell posted a very pointed opinion on how Google's social network, Google+, is leading to gradual, though noticeable, adjustments in how all of Google's services work. In his article, Jon provided evidence that Google search results appear to favor recommendations on Google+ that link to an article that meets the search criteria, over a direct link to the article itself. (Read Write Web, 1/6)

GOOGLE: Google Admits Profiting from Illegal Olympic Ticket Ads
Google is profiting from ads for illegal products generated by its flagship automated advertising system, the BBC has found. (BBC, 1/10)

GOOGLE: Google Launches Personal Search Tool Linked with Social Media
Google is taking Googling yourself to a whole new level, by folding users' personal data into Google search results. The personalized search results pull data from users' Google accounts such as Picasa and Google+, and offers users the option to toggle between searching their own personal data and searching the Web as a whole. (Washington Post, 1/10)

GOOGLE+: How Google+ Hangouts Will Transform Traditional TV Broadcasting
Sarah Hill is the interactive anchor at KOMU-TV 8, the broadcast lab for the University of Missouri School of Journalism. She also has over 350,000 followers on Google+, where she's been blazing a trail with Google Hangouts with the help of interactive director Jen Reeves. (Lost Remote, 1/11)

ICANN: U.S. Gov't Official: ICANN Plan Should Move Forward
Calls for the US government to delay the program could lead to other countries seeking control of the Internet, Lawrence Strickling says. (Computer World, 1/11)

TUMBLR: Tumblr Is Launching Its Own Journalism Operation
If history is any guide, tech companies should absolutely not try and become media companies. But the 25-year-old CEO of precious New York blog platform Tumblr has the fearlessness of youth. Which is why he's recruiting his own writer and editor types. (Gawker, 1/5)

Digital Media in the Middle East

Eyes and Ears of the Arab Spring
For millions of people around the world, including actual participants on the ground and in the streets of the Middle East, the single most important news source for the events still unfolding in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain is the English-language channel of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera television-news network. Like it or not, it is no exaggeration to say that Al Jazeera has been the eyes and ears of this crucial news story. More often than not, Al Jazeera correspondents are the first on the scene, and Al Jazeera anchors and interviewers provide the most detailed follow-up, discussion and analysis of breaking events in the Arab world. (National Interest, 1/4)

Better Reception for Regional TV
Cautious optimism prevails in the Middle East television industry after a year of turmoil sparked by the Arab Spring. Hopes of bumper revenues last year were dashed after the Egyptian advertising market crashed in the first six months. (The National, 1/5)

BAHRAIN: Bahrain Opposition Group Plans Satellite TV Station
An opposition group in Bahrain has announced plans to set up a satellite television channel and a newspaper. The Information Affairs Authority (IAA) was unable to comment on the case, but sources confirmed authorities were reviewing an official application from Al Wefaq National Islamic Society. It is seeking to publish a daily Arabic newspaper and set up an Arabic TV channel as part of efforts to ensure its message gets out. (Media Network, 1/7)

EGYPT: Turning the Internet Back on in Egypt
VIDEO: On December 17th, 2010, Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouaziz set himself on fire to protest the near daily harassment he was suffering at the hands of corrupt Tunisian police. His death sparked a maelstrom of civil resistance and public protest that eventually forced then President Zine Ben Ali to step down after 23 years in power. (We Are Legion, 1/10)

IRAQ: A Strange Animal
VIDEO: Deadlines and death threats. The U.S. troops are leaving, but the journalists are staying. In a short doc special for the Daily Beast, filmmaker Richard Pendry reveals the new techniques -- more John LeCarre than J-school -- reporters have devised to get the story in Iraq. (The Daily Beast, 1/11)

ISRAEL: Israeli Students Reach Youth Worldwide with New Media
Journalism - so surveys and polls warn - is a profession in danger of disappearing. Just don't tell that to the students enrolled at the Asper Institute for New Media Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya. (The Canadian Jewish News, 1/9)

LEBANON: Bin Talal Coup: What Remains of LBC?
After a war of control with Lebanese Forces head Samir Geagea, the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) Chairman and CEO Pierre Daher may have shot himself in the foot. Presumed Daher ally, Saudi billionaire Alwaleed Bin Talal who bought major shares in the station, is set to sideline Daher and swallow up any independence the station boasts. (Al-Akhbar, 1/8)

LEBANON: Lebanon Blogosphere Facts and Figures
Just as we did last year, with the Lebanese Blogosphere Facts & Figures 2010, we honor this tradition which will hopefully last a long time and come to you this year with the newest updates and figures about the Lebanese bloggers and the blogs that have emerged and few turned into more. (Lebanon Aggregator, 1/10)

SYRIA: Syrian Social Media Crossfire Kills Users
Syria is vowing to investigate the death of a French TV reporter. He was killed along with eight Syrians when a mortar shell hit a crowd gathered for a pro-government rally. But it is not only the media being caught between the conflicting sides. (RT, 1/13)

China Update

CHINA: The Chinese Internet Takes an Arrow in the Knee
"Then I took an arrow in the knee," might just have been the Western internet's last big meme of 2011, emerging just after the release of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and quickly catching on until it was suddenly absolutely everywhere. For those not in the know, the joke comes from the aforementioned Skyrim, an expansive single-player RPG in which it seems every guard you meet in every city tells you the same sad story: "I used to be an adventurer like you. Then I took an arrow in the knee." (Penn-Olson, 1/5)

CHINA: Beijing Calling: The Trouble With China's New English-Language News Network
The Chinese government has dreamed for years of creating an English-language news network that could successfully compete with CNN or Al Jazeera for global eyeballs. The TodayChina network is China's third attempt to start a BBC of its own. Will the third time be the charm? (Fast Company, 1/6)

CHINA: China's Internet Users Breach Half Billion Mark
The number of Internet users in China have crossed the half billion mark, reaching 505 million users at the end of November last year, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) reported. (Reuters, 1/11)

CHINA: China's Internet: One Click Forward, Two Back
It's easy to talk about the global development of the Internet. You just have to throw out the names of some big companies and major memes, and you can have a conversation. It's hard to discuss the Internet industry in China, however, because the whole thing is in a state of chaos. Its development is, to a large extent, shackled to the development of the nation. (MarketWatch, 1/11)


AZERBAIJAN: Azerbaijan to Register All Mobile Phones, Seriously
While the world is absorbed by new Draconian Internet law in Belarus and Iran's attempts to create "halal Internet", their kindred soul, the Azerbaijani government enacted another shameful and disgraced piece of communications regulation. (In Mutatione Fortitudo, 1/6)

COTE D'IVOIRE: Uproar Over Unauthorized Press Use of Blogger's Photos
Christmas 2011 in Côte d'Ivoire was different from those of previous years. Eight months after the change of regime, the authorities wanted to mark it with completely new decorations in the country and by organizing huge fireworks displays [fr] on December 30-31, 2011. (Global Voices, 1/9)

JAMAICA: Interview with Marcia Forbes, PhD
One of Jamaica's foremost media specialists, Dr Marcia Forbes has most recently been exploring the ways technology impacts Jamaican society and culture. Her first book, Music, Media & Adolescent Sexuality in Jamaica, looked at the ways traditional media - from television to radio, influenced the attitudes of Jamaican youth. Her newest book project is Streaming: Social Media, Mobile Lifestyles, which will look at the power of social media in the country and how it is affecting Jamaican society. (Caribbean Journal, 1/9)

NORTH KOREA: North Korean Newspaper Goes English on Web
The launch this week of an English language website by North Korea's state newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, confirms that the Dear Editor's legacy lives on. The site, as the [South] Korea Times tells it, exists to "amplify the North's voice outside its borders." (Columbia Journalism Review, 1/11)

PHILIPPINES: Internet Security
The Senate Committee on Science and Technology Sunday pushed for the passage of two bills that seek greater Internet security following reports of the latest cyber attacks. (Manila Bulletin, 1/8)

RUSSIA: Smear in Russia Backfires, and Online Tributes Roll In
Does Russia's leading opposition activist cavort with space aliens? Or just with enemies of the state? A photograph of a grinning Aleksei Navalny, the blogger turned leader of street protests in Moscow, standing beside a bulbous-headed extraterrestrial could be found on his own Web site over the weekend. (New York Times, 1/9)

RUSSIA: Putin's Bad Internet Week
Vladimir Putin is having a very bad week online. The Russian premier once derisively dismissed the Internet as "50 percent pornography." But with more and more of his compatriots getting wired and web savvy he has had no choice but to at least try and embrace the medium. And the results have not been pretty. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1/12)

UNITED KINGDOM: UK Minister Says Children 'Bored' by IT Classes
Education Secretary Michael Gove will unveil major changes to the way technology is taught in schools Wednesday, saying children are "bored out of their minds" by current classes. (Physorg, 1/11)

Privacy and Identity

The 'Right to Be Forgotten' - Worth Remembering?
In the last few years there has been a lot of buzz around a so-called 'right to be forgotten.' Especially in Europe, this catchphrase is heavily debated in the media, in court and by regulators. It will appear that the 'right to be forgotten' clearly has merit, but needs better definition to avoid any negative consequences. As such, the right is nothing more than a way to give (back) individuals control over their personal data and make the consent regime more effective. Measures are required at the normative, economical, technical, as well as legislative level. The article concludes by proposing a 'right to be forgotten' that is limited to data-processing situations where the individual has given his or her consent. Combined with a public-interest exception, this should (partially) restore the power balance and allow individuals a more effective control over their personal data. (Computer Law and Security Review, 12/9)

Privacy Is about Individual Choice, Online and Off
The New York Time's Nick Bilton announced recently that "privacy is on its deathbed". This prediction was prompted by the "creepy" ease with which he hunted down the identity of a girl with not much more than his internet connection, the girl's first name, a few photos, and a Facebook friend list. (WA Today, 1/6)

Pseudonyms, Trolls, and the Battle over Online Identity
The battle over online identity has been going on for almost as long as the internet has been around. Should users - including members of social networks or commenters on blogs and other websites - be forced to use their real names, or allowed to remain anonymous? (GigaOM, 1/10)

Homeland Security Watches Twitter, Social Media
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's command center routinely monitors dozens of popular websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Hulu, WikiLeaks and news and gossip sites including the Huffington Post and Drudge Report, according to a government document. (Reuters, 1/11)

People Using Pseudonyms Post the Highest-Quality Comments, Disqus Says
One of the most popular commenting services for news websites and blogs says its data shows that commenters using pseudonyms are "the most important contributors to online communities." (Poynter, 1/11)

Around the Blogosphere

Politics of whether the Internet is a fundamental Human Right or merely a tool to help free expression? Vint Cerf creates a stir in the Internet and Human Rights community!
Internet Access Is Not a Human Right stated Vinton G. Cerf in a recent opinion article in the New York Times NYT here that attempts to build and clarify a single sided relation between the Internet, Human Rights and Civil Liberties. His article created a stir globally for people that believe in the fundamental human right to communicate and express freely while access to the Internet itself being a fundamental human right. (Internet's Governance, 1/7)

Letter to a Young Emerging Creative Who Thinks She Wants to Blog (Gods Help Her)
Anything with a low barrier of entry will let in a lot of crap. This is just the natural order of things (of social media, of blogging). But this only makes it more important - not less - to strive for excellence, relevance and meaning. (Justine Musk, 12/30)

The First Round-Up of 2012: Internet Rights and Restrictions
PODCAST: After a break for the Holidays, the Monday Round-Up is back! In case you missed it, NDItech's first podcast looks at some of the work we've been doing in Nicaragua. (NDI Tech, 1/9)

Can Newspapers Innovate Too Fast? Is That What Went Wrong?
Can you innovate too fast? That's what the Washington Post's ombudsman Patrick B. Pexton wants to know. The answer to innovating too fast really depends on your position as a company. (Interchange Project, 1/10)

Is Internet Access A Human Right?
A curious op ed appeared in The New York Times recently, titled "Internet Access is Not a Human Right." In this piece-which I read as I do most news and media, via my computer-Vinton Cerf, a "father" of the Internet, makes an argument that despite the critical role of Information Communication Technologies (the internet) in the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, access to the Internet is not a human right. (Amnesty International, 1/10)

Is Internet Access a Human Right?
A recent United Nations Human Rights Council report examined the important question of whether internet access is a human right. Whilst the Special Rapporteur's conclusions are nuanced in respect of blocking sites or providing limited access, he is clear that restricting access completely will always be a breach of article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the right to freedom of expression. (Inforrm's Blog)

The Akunin-Navalny Interviews (Part I)
Just before the last Moscow demonstration on December 24, two of the protest movement's most popular leaders - writer Boris Akunin and politician-blogger Aleksey Navalny - got together for a fascinating public conversation. The three-part interview, published on Akunin's blog, is arguably the fullest profile of Russia's leading opposition politician and covers many of the more uncomfortable aspects of Navalny's politics. ODR is pleased to present the full English translation of the interviews. (Open Democracy, 1/11)

Regulating the Internet .BY Decree
The recent announcement of a Belarusian law on aspects of Internet regulation certainly raised a number of alarm bells for many groups seeking to protect free expression online. Certainly, Belarus is no stranger to internet repression, ranging from pro-democracy websites repeatedly under attack, tracking down and arresting activists, and many other insidious acts. Given the extensive and differing coverage of the law in the press, here is a summary of what is expected to take place with this law. (NDI Tech, 1/11)

Nothing New Under the Sun? Social Media, the Arab Spring, and the Reformation Era
A few weeks ago, the Economist provided an interesting take on social media, the Arab Spring, and the Reformation era. The article, How Luther Went Viral, claims that centuries before Facebook and the Arab Spring, social media helped bring about the Reformation era. (People, Spaces, Deliberation, 1/12)


A Powerful Year of Online Media by and for Indigenous Peoples
VIDEO: Even though Indigenous voices are regularly marginalized and twisted around by governments, corporations, think tanks and various others, it's not something we take lying down. Given how many challenges we face, this growing flood of online media by and for Indigenous Peoples comes none too soon. Recommended films from 2011. (Intercontinental Cry, 1/3)

The Pirate Bay Shows Futility of Domain and DNS Blocks
In October 2011, a court in Finland ordered local ISP Elisa to block The Pirate Bay to stop copyright infringement among its subscribers. Today, the blockade - which covers many domains and IP addresses - took effect, but behind the scenes there is an effort to unblock the site and render the court order useless. Meanwhile there is already collateral damage - the court order has succeeded in blocking a domain linking to Electronic Frontier Finland. (Torrent Freak, 1/9)

One Laptop Per Child Project Looks to Off-Grid Clean Power
The latest iteration of the One Laptop per Child project was unveiled at CES this week, and it's fully focused on ways to integrate with off-grid clean power, both solar and human power. Many of the kids that could be using the laptop, which has now morphed into a simple tablet, won't have access to grid power. (GigaOM, 1/9)

Listen To The Twitter Choir Sing About Microsoft At CES
VIDEO: This one's a strange one: Microsoft closed out its CES keynote on Monday with a Twitter choir, singing about the tweets that contained "Microsoft" and "CES" in them. In what was quite possibly the weirdest way to perform a keyword search I've ever heard of, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer welcomed a lively choir of Twitter-lovers on stage near the end of his keynote. (MediaBistro, 1/10)

Kazakh Billionaire's 'Jewish Al Jazeera' in Development
Plans for a news television station dubbed by the media as the "Jewish Al Jazeera" are still under wraps several months after officials said a general outline would be announced. (Jerusalem Post, 1/5)

Exploring The Factories Where All Our Gadgets Are Made
This week is the big Consumer Electronics Show -- and, like many in the tech field, I'm here in Las Vegas exploring the various gadgets that are coming out. Many (some might say most, though I'm not sure that's true) of the gadgets here are made in China. So it's interesting timing that the always excellent radio program This American Life chose this particular week to run its episode on what happens in the electronics factories in Shenzen, China. (Techdirt, 1/12)

A New 'Law' for the Mobile Computing Era
The new gadgetry at the International Consumer Electronics Show this week owes a lot to the crisp articulation of ever-increasing computer performance known as Moore's Law. First proclaimed in 1965 by Intel's co-founder Gordon Moore, it says that the number of transistors that can be put on a microchip doubles about every two years. But a new descriptive formulation that focuses on energy use seems especially apt these days. (New York Times, 1/11)

TripAdvisor Ruined our Business, Say B&B Owners
TripAdvisor, the website that allows travellers to post reviews of hotels and guest houses, has become one of the most widely used travel sites in the world. For many, it has helped promote their business and encourage bookings. But others say it has had a detrimental effect on their lives. (BBC, 1/11)

Musicians Praise BitTorrent and Creative Commons
While the major record labels see BitTorrent as a threat, thousands of independent musicians believe it's one of the best ways to gain an audience. The FrostWire BitTorrent client has been promoting independent artists for years, with great success. To celebrate a massive 2.4 million downloads in 2011, FrostWire just released a compilation album featuring free Creative Commons-licensed tracks from 30 artists. (Torrent Freak, 1/12)

Netizen Report: Celebration Edition
The new year opened with a bang and much reason to celebrate. The people of Tunisia are celebrating the first anniversary of the end of Ben Ali's rule. We are also celebrating the release of Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who was detained for 56 days for refusing to cooperate with the Egyptian military court. (We remain concerned, however, that he is still accused of multiple charges and will face trial in a civilian court.) Global Voices also celebrated its seventh year in existence. The image above shows how Global Voices is connected to citizen media conversations all over the world. (Global Voices Advocacy, 1/12)


Wired for Repression
Bloomberg's series "Wired for Repression" reveals how Western companies provide surveillance systems to authoritarian countries that claim some of the world's worst human rights records including Iran, Syria, Bahrain and Tunisia. (Bloomberg)

IRAN: Islamic Republic of Iran: Computer Crimes Law
The 2011 Computer Crimes Law of the Islamic Republic of Iran flagrantly violates international human rights law and is an affront to freedom of expression principles. Extensive legal reform, including the repeal of the Computer Crimes Law, is urgently required to protect the right to freedom of expression in Iran. (Article 19, December 2011)

Real Time Charitable Giving
Charitable donations from mobile phones have grown more common in recent years. Two thirds (64%) of American adults now use text messaging, and 9% have texted a charitable donation from their mobile phone. And these text donors are emerging as a new cohort of charitable givers. The first-ever, in-depth study on mobile donors-which analyzed the "Text to Haiti" campaign after the 2010 earthquake-finds that these contributions were often spur-of-the-moment decisions that spread virally through friend networks. (Pew Internet, January 2012)

GUINEA: Africa Media Barometer for Guinea
The first homegrown analysis of the media landscape in Africa series. (Fesmedia, December 2011)