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  • Gerrit Eicker 09:48 on 18. November 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Civil Rights, COICA, , , Demand Progress, E-Parasite Act, , Fight For the Future, , , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , H.R.3261, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , PPF, PRO-IP Act, , Public Knowledge, , , , S.986, , , , , , , , , ,   

    Internet Censorship: SOPA and PIPA 

    Internet censorship made in the USA: SOPA and PIPA are a major attack on Internet freedom; http://eicker.at/InternetCensorship

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:49 on 18. November 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wikipedia: “The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), also known as H.R.3261 and the E-Parasite (Enforcing and Protecting American Rights Against Sites Intent on Theft and Exploitation) Act, was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on October 26, 2011 by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and a bipartisan group of 12 initial co-sponsors. – The bill’s sponsors and advocates say it’s needed to help U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders fight online traffic in copyrighted intellectual property and ensuing revenue and job losses. Its opponents say it will ‘break the internet’, cost jobs, and threaten whistleblowers and other free speech. Now before the House Judiciary Committee, it builds on the similar PRO-IP Act of 2008. The Senate’s corresponding bill, the Protect IP Act, was prevented from passing in early 2011 with a hold placed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). – The bill is divided into two titles with the first focusing on combating ‘foreign rogue sites’, websites outside U.S. jurisdiction that enable or facilitate copyright infringement, and the second focusing on increased penalties to combat intellectual property theft via digital means.

      Wikipedia: “PIPA – Protect IP Act, or (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011), is also known as United States Senate Bill S.968. It was introduced on May 12, 2011 by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and 11 initial bipartisan co-sponsors. Its goal is to give the government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to ‘rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods’, especially those registered outside the U.S. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that implementation of the bill would cost the federal government $47 million through 2016, to cover enforcement costs and the hiring and training of 22 new special agents and 26 support staff. The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill, but Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) placed a hold on it. – The Protect IP Act is a re-write of the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA), which failed to pass in 2010. A similar House version of the bill, theStop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was introduced on October 26, 2011.

      American Censorship: “American Censorship Day: Nov 16, 2011 – Congress holds hearings of the first American Internet censorship system. This bill can pass. If it does the Internet and free speech will never be the same. Join all of us to stop this bill. … Website Blocking – The government can order service providers to block websites for infringing links posted by any users. … Risk of Jail for Ordinary Users – It becomes a felony with a potential 5 year sentence to stream a copyrighted work that would cost more than $2,500 to license, even if you are a totally noncommercial user, e.g. singing a pop song on Facebook. … Chaos for the Internet – Thousands of sites that are legal under the DMCA would face new legal threats. People trying to keep the internet more secure wouldn’t be able to rely on the integrity of the DNS system. … Supporters: Public Knowledge, EFF, Free Software Foundation, Mozilla, Demand Progress, Fight For the Future, PPF, Creative Commons, Wikimedia

      Mashable: “Tumblr, Firefox and Reddit drew broad black lines on their websites Wednesday to protest a proposed U.S. law that Internet companies have dubbed ‘censorship’ and entertainment companies ‘piracy protection.’ – Tumblr has blacked out all user-generated content you see when you first log in. When you click on the gray lines to investigate, you’re told: ‘Congress is holding hearings today and will soon pass a bill empowering corporations to censor the Internet unless you tell them no,’ and then have an option to leave a phone number to be connected to your elected representative.”

      TC: “Among numerous other issues, SOPA and its Senate counterpart, the PROTECT IP Act, would allow copyright holders to easily obtain court orders to stop US payment and ad providers from doing business with foreign sites, force search engines to block links to allegedly infringing sites, and require domain service providers to block domains of allegedly infringing sites from being accessible. Be sure to check out Devin Coldewey’s excellent teardown of SOPA and PROTECT IP for more details on why we and many (but not all) other internet users are opposed.”

      Guardian: “Stop Sopa now – The Stop Online Piracy Act will kill online innovation and serve the interests not of ordinary web users but a corporate cartel – America is fond of chiding other nations about freedom of speech in the internet age. Leaders including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are constantly reminding their global counterparts, especially in places like China, that internet censorship is a detriment to open government and honest self-rule. Yet, the Obama administration has used tactics that smell of censorship, and Congress is making common cause with a corporate cartel that wants to turn the internet into little more than an enhanced form of cable television. … The damage Sopa would cause to existing services is bad enough. But the longer-range damage is literally incalculable, because the legislation is aimed at preventing innovation – and speech – that the cartel can’t control. … Meanwhile, the major media have been essentially silent on the issue. I’m not surprised. Big Media is an ally and member of the copyright cartel – and there may be more than a few people in traditional news organisations who fear the internet more than they worry about stifling speech.”

      GigaOM: “The Internet isn’t just pipes; it’s a belief system – Draconian new anti-piracy laws that are being pushed through both the Senate and the House of Representatives are about more than just an academic debate over different legislative methods for fighting copyright infringement. … As the Stop Online Piracy Act – and its cousin the E-Parasite Act – have worked their way through the Senate and the House, a loose coalition of technology companies and open-Internet advocates have come together to oppose the legislation – including companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo… The Internet by its nature is – among other things – a giant copyright-infringement machine. Because anyone can grab whatever content they wish and change it, mash it up with other content and instantly republish, it’s hugely frightening and threatening for many media companies and content owners. … That doesn’t mean we should encourage piracy, or deprive content owners of the tools to fight it when it occurs, but the reality is that they have those tools already in the DMCA and other existing legislation. SOPA and the E-Parasite Act aren’t just an expansion of those tools, they would alter the balance of power on the internet in fundamental ways and threaten the openness and freedom that generates a lot of the web’s value, both for businesses and for society as a whole. That’s not a trade we should make lightly, if at all.”

      EFF: “This week the House of Representatives opens hearings on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill that EFF – along with a number of prominent organizations and other actors – has opposed loudly and vigorously. – Though the bill would have grave implications on free expression for American Internet users, website owners, and intermediaries, its effects on the international community are even worse. In light of that fact, a coalition of international civil society and human rights groups have penned a letter expressing their opposition to the bill.

      SOPA Letter From Int’l Human Rights Community: “As press freedom and human rights advocates, we write to express our deep concern withH.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). While this is a domestic bill, there are several provisions within SOPA that would have serious implications for international civil and human rights which raise concerns about how the United States is approaching global internetgovernance. … Through SOPA, the United States is attempting to dominate a shared global resource.SOPA puts the interests of rightsholders ahead of the rights of society.Censoring the internet is the wrong approach to protecting any sectoral interest in business. By adopting SOPA, the United States would lose its position as a global leader in supporting a free and open Internet for public good. – The international civil and human rights community urges Congress to reject the Stop Online Privacy Act.

      GigaOM: “What the web is saying about SOPA – We’ve gathered a sample from various sources to help readers get a feel for the comments out there and see the big picture. Happy reading.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:41 on 27. October 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , Content Takedown, , , Electronic Communications Privacy Act, , , Freedom of Speech, , Google Government Requests, Google Transparency Report, , Government Requests, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Private Information, , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Google Transparency Report 

    How do governments affect access to information? Google’s Transparency Report 2011; http://eicker.at/GoogleTransparencyReport

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 07:42 on 27. October 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Google: “How do governments affect access to information on the Internet? To help shed some light on that very question, last year we launched an online, interactive Transparency Report. All too often, policy that affects how information flows on the Internet is created in the absence of empirical data. But by showing traffic patterns and disruptions to our services, and by sharing how many government requests for content removal and user data we receive from around the world, we hope to offer up some metrics to contribute to a public conversation about the laws that influence how people communicate online. – Today we’re updating the Government Requests tool with numbers for requests that we received from January to June 2011. For the first time, we’re not only disclosing the number of requests for user data, but we’re showing the number of users or accounts that are specified in those requests too. … We believe that providing this level of detail highlights the need to modernize laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which regulates government access to user information and was written 25 years ago – long before the average person had ever heard of email.”

      Google: “Transparency is a core value at Google. As a company we feel it is our responsibility to ensure that we maximize transparency around the flow of information related to our tools and services. We believe that more information means more choice, more freedom and ultimately more power for the individual. – We’ve created Government Requests to show the number of government inquiries for information about users and requests to remove content from our services. We hope this step toward greater transparency will help in ongoing discussions about the appropriate scope and authority of government requests. – Our interactive Traffic graphs provide information about traffic to Google services around the world. Each graph shows historic traffic patterns for a geographic region and service. By illustrating outages, this tool visualizes disruptions in the free flow of information, whether it’s a government blocking information or a cable being cut. We hope this raw data will help facilitate studies about service outages and disruptions.

      GigaOM: “Any lingering fantasies of the web as a no-man’s land where content is free from the restraints of geographical boundaries probably should be put to rest. Google Tuesday morning released a treasure trove of data relating to content-takedown requests, and the numbers speak for themselves: requests are up worldwide and Google complies with the majority of them. … When it comes to requests for user data, all that Google and companies of its ilk really can do is ensure that requests are within the bounds of the law and notify users of requests for their data. But in the United States, at least, the laws regarding web-user data are still fairly lax and don’t require a search warrant in many instances. It’s yet another example of the web and the law not being anywhere near on the same page. – It’s easy to poke them for being too willing to bend to the wills of government officials and authorities, but web companies can’t flaunt the laws of the countries in which they want to operate, either. Otherwise, as separate Google data illustrates, the lights might go out on their services in those countries.

      RWW: “Google has updated its Government Requests tool with data from the first half of this year. For the first time, the report discloses the number of users or accounts specified, not just the number of requests. Google also made the raw data behind government requests available to the public. … Electronic communications have changed a bit since 1986. They form a ubiquitous, always-on fabric of our lives now. Fortunately, Google isn’t any happier with the status quo than privacy-aware users are. It’s among a number of major Web companies pushing for better laws. And Google and other data-mining companies take their roles in public policy seriously. Both Google and Facebook’s lobbying efforts broke records this year.

      TC: “Google Declines To Remove Police Brutality Videos, Still Complies With 63% Of Gov’t Takedown Requests – US Government requests for user data jumped, however: 5950 versus 4287 during the same period in 2010, asking for information on 11,057 users. 93% of these were complied with, ‘fully or partially.’ So while they’re making something of a stand on removing data, they don’t seem to have any trouble giving it out.

      Guardian: “Figures revealed for the first time show that the US demanded private information about more than 11,000 Google users between January and June this year, almost equal to the number of requests made by 25 other developed countries, including the UK and Russia. – Governments around the world requested private data about 25,440 people in the first half of this year, with 11,057 of those people in the US. – It is the first time Google has released details about how many of its users are targeted by authorities, as opposed to the number of requests made by countries.

      VB: “Notably, in the United States, Google refused to remove YouTube clips showing police brutality. In these cases in particular, we are seeing how relatively neutral platforms such as YouTube can have great social impact depending on the intentions of the person posting the content and the integrity of the content host in keeping that content online.”

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:50 on 6. October 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , DDL intercettazioni, , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Wiretapping Act   

    Wikipedia vs. Italy 

    Wikipedia shuts Italian language site, fights against DDL intercettazioni (Wiretapping Act); http://eicker.at/WikipediaVsItaly

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:51 on 6. October 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Wikipedia – L’enciclopedia libera: “Dear reader, at this time, the Italian language Wikipedia may be no longer able to continue providing the service that over the years was useful to you, and that you expected to have right now. As things stand, the page you want still exists and is only hidden, but the risk is that soon we will be forced to actually delete it. – Over the past ten years, Wikipedia has become part of the daily habits of millions of web users looking for a neutral, free-content, and – above all – independent source of Knowledge. A new, huge multi-lingual encyclopedia, freely available to all, at any time, and free of charge. – Today, unfortunately, the very pillars on which Wikipedia has been built – neutrality, freedom, and verifiability of its contents – are likely to be heavily compromised by paragraph 29 of a law proposal, also known as ‘DDL intercettazioni’ (Wiretapping Act). – This proposal, which the Italian Parliament is currently debating, provides, among other things, a requirement to all websites to publish, within 48 hours of the request and without any comment, a correction of any content that the applicant deems detrimental to his/her image. – Unfortunately, the law does not require an evaluation of the claim by an impartial third judge – the opinion of the person allegedly injured is all that is required, in order to impose such correction to any website. – Hence, anyone who feels offended by any content published on a blog, an online newspaper and, most likely, even on Wikipedia can directly request to publish a ‘corrected’ version, aimed to contradict and disprove the allegedly harmful contents, regardless of the truthfulness of the information deemed as offensive, and its sources. … With this announcement, we want to warn our readers against the risks arising from leaving to the arbitrary will of any party to enforce the alleged protection of its image and its reputation. Under such provisions, web users would be most probably led to cease dealing with certain topics or people, just to ‘avoid troubles’. – We want to be able to keep a free and open-to-all encyclopaedia, because our articles are also your articles – Wikipedia is already neutral, why neutralize it?

      BBC: “Wikipedia’s Italian edition has taken all entries but one offline in protest at a draft privacy law restricting the publication of police wiretaps. – Transcripts of his telephone calls have embarrassed Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, on trial for corruption and using underage prostitutes. – The draft law would oblige websites to amend content within 48 hours if the subject deems it harmful or biased. – Italian protesters wearing gags gathered outside parliament in Rome. … Wikipedia says it may take down its Italian site, http://www.wikipedia.it, permanently if the law is passed. Amendments would have to be published within 48 hours at the request of the person making the complaint, without any recourse to a court or independent adjudicator.”

      CDT: “DDL Intercettazioni, the proposed wiretap law (see page 24, paragraph 29(a)), would require online publications and websites to publish a correction within 48 hours of receiving notice about any content that any third party believes is detrimental to his or her image, with scant safeguards against abuse or judicial involvement. Failure to publish a correction could result in a [Euro] 12,000 fine. – It is unclear how this mandate would apply to websites that enable user-generated content – for example, a social network or a blog that allow users to comment on articles. Such websites should be protected under the Italian transposition of the E-Commerce Directive for the defamatory statements made by third party users. However, you can imagine that harmed victims may simply send requests for corrections to the user-generated content platform itself. – As Italian Internet activists have rightly pointed out, this requirement could profoundly chill freedom of expression and innovation online.

      TD: “All-in-all, the Italian politicians behind this proposed legislation emerge with little honor; at the very least, the new law will cast a chill over freedom of expression online in Italy, and at worst could see the Italian Wikipedia shut down permanently – a huge loss for its users and Italian culture. – Update: Via Carl Levinson, Roberta Ranzani and Jillian C. York on Google+, we’ve learned that the controversial paragraph 29 of the Wiretapping bill has been dropped (details in Italian). It’s not clear exactly why, but the action by the Italian Wikipedia must surely have concentrated people’s minds. However, it’s important to note that the rest of the bill is still going forward – and has plenty of other changes that will harm freedom of speech in Italy if enacted.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:57 on 11. September 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , Civility, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , , , , , , , Government ID, ID, ID System, ID Systems, , , , Identity Delivery, Identity Delivery Business, , , , Information Delivery, Information Delivery Business, , , , , , , , NSTIC, , , , , , , , , , , Pseudonymity, , , Real ID, Real ID System, Real ID Systems, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , TOSS, , Trusted Identities, , , , ,   

    #NymWars 

    Google Plusidentity crises led to #PlusGate and escalated to a war for pseudonymity: #NymWars; http://eicker.at/NymWars

    (More …)

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:58 on 11. September 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Guardian: “Google Plus forces us to discuss identity – Google’s Real Name policy embodies a theory that states the way to maximise civility is to abolish anonymity. … Google Plus’s controversial identity policy requires all users to use their ‘real names’. … [P]roblems include the absurdity of Google’s demand for scans of government ID to accomplish this task and the fractal implausibility of Google being able to discern real from fake in all forms of government ID. … The first duty of social software is to improve its users’ social experience. Facebook’s longstanding demand that its users should only have one identity is either a toweringly arrogant willingness to harm people’s social experience in service to doctrine; or it is a miniature figleaf covering a huge, throbbing passion for making it easier to sell our identities to advertisers. – Google has adopted the Facebook doctrine… There could be no stupider moment for Google to subscribe to the gospel of Zuckerberg, and there is no better time for Google to show us an alternative.

      Gizmodo: “Google, Facebook and Twitter now all have similar products. But Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (somewhat inadvertently) made it clear yesterday that while all three have social networking features and make money from ads, they are in fundamentally different businesses. – At a very basic level, Google+ and Facebook are in the identity delivery business, and Twitter is in the information delivery business. That’s a powerful distinction. It reflects a fundamentally different conception of what’s more valuable: information or identity. It also gets at who is more valuable, advertisers or users. – Google and Facebook’s social products are committed to a real names policy. Both can serve someone up to a network of peers or advertisers with some degree of certainty about identity. – Twitter takes exactly the opposite route towards building a network. You can be anonymous, or use a pseudonym, or even impersonate someone else (as long as you indicate that it’s a parody). It will still connect you to others on its network, and allow you to both serve and receive data. And that’s working well, for everybody.”

      SEW: “There has been a lot of speculation about why the push for real names on Facebook and now Google, with Google taking a much harder line than even Facebook, not allowing for even the simplest derivation of ‘nyms’ (pseudonyms). … Why is a company like Google taking such a hard line on something as simple as a name – even though there is no verification process for the ‘real name,’ so ultimately this policing is currently meaningless. … Google’s ambitions for Google+ appear to go far beyond social signals, marketing, and their efforts to make a better product. Dig a little further and you’ll find something called the National Strategy For Trusted Identities In Cyberspace‘ (NSTIC). … A way to establish identity was never invented, so one needs to be. The difference is that companies will hold the real IDs, rather than the government – companies with ‘identity services,’ such as Google. … Maybe we have a new wrinkle in the reason behind the real ID movement, not the betterment of services for Google, but the government initiative into a real online ID system. … Real ID systems should be of concern to anyone who believes in the Bill of Rights and our freedom of speech and to not incriminate ourselves – to live a life that isn’t monitored by entities, ‘private’ or not. Is Google part of this? You have to be the judge.

      Boyle: “Thoughts on rel=author, #nymwars, ‘identity service’ – Over the past month or so, the ‘nymwars’ have become the thing Google+ is most known for among my circle of friends. This is a problem of Google’s own making: they are suspending profiles based on naive heuristics about ‘real names’ (actually typical two part western names), and demanding government ID to reinstate them. … This is not an effective defence against trolls as was initially claimed; they’re more concerned with ideas about G+ as an ‘identity service’ and a way to ‘improve our products’ than about the wishes of their users or the fact that they’re perpetuating the exclusion of minorities. … I recommend linking together your profile pages on other sites, rather than only linking everything to your Google profile. … [D]on’t just do what’s on the left here, because all those associations will be lost when your G+ profile is taken down. If you do something more like what’s on the right, other identity services / social networks and other search engines will have a better chance of presenting what you want them to present.”

      Gartner, Blakley: “Google+ Can Be A Social Network Or The Name Police – Not Both – Google is currently trying to enforce a ‘common name’ policy in Google+. The gist of the policy is that ‘your Google+ name must be ‘THE’ name by which you are commonly known’. – This policy is insane. I really mean insane; the policy is simply completely divorced from the reality of how names really work AND the reality of how humans really work, and it’s also completely at odds with what Google is trying to achieve with G+. … A name is not an attribute of a person; it is an identifier of a person, chosen arbitrarily and changeable at will. … Google+’s naming policy isn’t failing because it’s poorly implemented, or because Google’s enforcement team is stupid. It’s failing because what they’re trying to do is (1) impossible, and (2) antisocial. … Google’s intention in moving into social networking is to sell ads, Google+’s common names policy gives them a lock on the North American suburban middle-aged conservative white male demographic. w00t.”

      Botgirl: “Ejecting virtually identified people with active social networks shows that Google sees online relationships as illegitimate. When Google ejects you for using virtual identity it not only disrespects your privacy choice, but also the choices of everyone who circles you. Shunning the pseudonymous makes intolerance a community standard. – Today, most of the privacy we relinquish is volitional. But If we lose the Nymwars we all become permanent residents in a global Big Brother reality house. The expression of identity is multidimensional, aspects emerging and submerging in a fluid dance with the changing environment. … It’s ironic that those calling for authenticity want to make all the world a stage and cast us all as full-time unpaid actors.

      GigaOM: “Can gamification help solve the online anonymity problem? – There’s been a lot written recently about the issue of online anonymity, and in particular how Google believes that a ‘real names’ policy is necessary so that the Google+ network maintains a certain tone and level of trust. … It’s not so much that badges or other rewards – Slashdot, a pioneering geek community, has long used ‘karma points’ as a way of rewarding users and selecting moderators – cure bad behavior, or prevent trolls from coming to a site. What they do instead is make it easier to distinguish between what Slashdot calls ‘anonymous cowards’ and those who have gained the trust of the community. Over time, it becomes obvious (theoretically) who is worth listening to and who isn’t… Instead of simply trying to ban or exclude anyone who doesn’t want to use a real name, as Google is doing with Google+, why not try to design a system that rewards the type of behavior you want to see, and lets the users of that community decide who they wish to pay attention to?

  • Gerrit Eicker 10:04 on 20. August 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , Developer Survey, , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Survey Data, , , ,   

    WordPress 

    Mullenweg, the state and power of WordPress: you get ownership of the code running your data as well; http://eicker.at/WordPress

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 10:04 on 20. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Mullenberg: “WP.com is different from every other social platform out there because in addition to giving you ownership of your data you get ownership of the code running your data as well, you could run the same Open source software yourself, and in fact we’ll even help you do it. – Open Source is like a Bill of Rights for software that protects your essential freedoms. When you bring a friend to WordPress you can do it without worry because we’re building something to be around ten, twenty, thirty years from now.”

      Mullenberg: “This has been an exciting year for WordPress. We’ve grown to power 14.7% of the top million websites in the world, up from 8.5%, and the latest data show 22 out of every 100 new active domains in the US are running WordPress. – We also conducted our first ever user and developer survey, which got over 18,000 responses from all over the world: We found a few interesting tidbits from the survey responses already, including that 6,800 self-employed respondents were responsible for over 170,000 sites personally, and charged a median hourly rate of $50. In tough economic times, it’s heartening to see Open Source creating so many jobs. – We know there’s more good stuff hidden in there and we’re open sourcing and releasing the raw information behind it. If you’re a researcher and would like to dig into the anonymized survey data yourself, you can grab it here. (Careful, it’s a 9MB CSV.)

    • Gerrit Eicker 08:51 on 21. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      VB: “One year ago, WordPress was used by 8.5 percent of the world’s top million sites, so it’s astounding how many domains are using it now. In July, WordPress-based sites passed the 50 million marker. And many of the most prominent blogs around the web, including VentureBeat, are also using the platform. … Mullenwag gave some examples of sites he thinks exemplify the future of WordPress and show off what it can do, including Jay Z’s Life + Times lifestyle magazine, art project Clouds 365, and awesomely designed time-waster Who Would Win a Fight. – Mullenwag also sees developers using WordPress more often as a platform for web applications. ‘Because it’s open-source, there isn’t an exact end point for what developers can do with it,’ Mullenwag said. ‘A lot of big businesses and startups are interested in using it.’

      TNW: “The popularity of microblogging platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr has led many to wonder if the long-form blogging medium is on the decline. However, while microblogging as an activity may appeal to a distinct user base, WordPress is a robust, customizable publishing platform that powers the websites of many top media brands, including The Next Web.”

      RWW: “Mullenweg’s address at the WordCamp conference in San Francisco this week goes through the history of the WordPress user interface, showing how its features developed over time and were then pared down to today’s minimal, efficient design. With its frequent adjustments to UI and its healthy market for ready-made and custom themes and plug-ins, WordPress’ user friendliness is key to its broad and rapid adoption by content creators.

  • Gerrit Eicker 07:34 on 8. August 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    My Name Is Me 

    #MyNameIsMe: We want people to be able to identify themselves as they wish; http://eicker.at/MyNameIsMe #PlusGate

     
  • Gerrit Eicker 08:07 on 29. July 2011 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    #PlusGate 

    Google Plus likes to escape its homemade identity crisis, but #PlusGate keeps trending; http://eicker.at/PlusGate

    (More …)

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 08:07 on 29. July 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Horowitz: “Last night, Robert Scoble shared some information based on his conversation with Vic Gundotra. That post went a long way toward clearing the air, and we want to thank many of you for your feedback and support. … We’ve noticed that many violations of the Google+ common name policy were in fact well-intentioned and inadvertent and for these users our process can be frustrating and disappointing. So we’re currently making a number of improvements to this process – specifically regarding how we notify these users that they’re not in compliance with Google+ policies and how we communicate the remedies available to them. … Second, we’re looking at ways to improve the signup process to reduce the likelihood that users get themselves into a state that will later result in review. … We’ll keep working to get better, and we appreciate the feedback – and the passion – that Google+ has generated.”

      Winer: “There’s a very simple business reason why Google cares if they have your real name. It means it’s possible to cross-relate your account with your buying behavior with their partners, who might be banks, retailers, supermarkets, hospitals, airlines. To connect with your use of cell phones that might be running their mobile operating system. To provide identity in a commerce-ready way. And to give them information about what you do on the Internet, without obfuscation of pseudonyms.

      Wired: “After a steady stream of angry blog posts and heated debate among its own users over the value of pseudonymity on the web, Google announced Monday that it was revising its ‘real name’ policy, at least for display, on Google+. … Google’s response aims to try to make social identification nearly as nuanced and granular as its approach to sharing content has been. Users can already add nicknames to their profile, as well as ‘other names’… Let’s be clear, though: All of these changes affect only the public display of identity to other users and the open web. Google itself still wants your full identity, or at least as much identity information as possible. Other users may only get partial glimpses at your multiple and overlapping identities, as well as the information you share. Google gets everything. … Under the banner of increased privacy and user control, it solicits information from you that, were it viewable by everyone in your networks, you would most likely keep to yourself. – Well, now we’ve given you almost everything, Google. Please don’t be evil.

      EFF: “A new debate around pseudonymity on online platforms has arisen as a result of the identification policy of Google+, which requires users to identify by ‘the name your friends, family, or co-workers usually call you’. This policy is similar to that of Facebook’s which requires users to ‘provide their real names and information.’ Google’s policy has in a few short weeks attracted significant attention both within the community and outside of it, sparking debate as to whether a social platform should place limits on identity. … It is well within the rights of any company – Google, Facebook, or otherwise – to create policies as they see fit for their services. But it is shortsighted for these companies to suggest that ‘real name’ policies create greater potential for civility, when they only do so at the expense of diversity and free expression. Indeed, a shift toward crafting policies requiring ‘real’ names will have a chilling effect on online free expression.

      Hinckley: “This whole persona/pseudonym argument may seem like a tempest in a teapot, but the fact is, the forum for public discourse is no longer the town hall, or newspaper, or fliers on the street. It is here on the Internet, and it is happening in communities like this, hosted by private sector companies. Freedom of speech is not guaranteed in these places. As Lawrence Lessig once said, ‘the code is the law.’ The code that Google applies, the rules they set up now in the software, are going to influence our right to speak out now and in the future. It is imperative that we impress upon Google the importance of providing users with the same rights (and responsibilities) as exist in the society that nurtured Google and brought about its success. … Behind every pseudonym is a real person. Deny the pseudonym and you deny the person.

      WSJ: “Actually, compared with Google’s other recent forays into the world of social media, Google+ has done pretty well. It took Buzz and Wave just a few hours before they began to be overwhelmed with bad publicity. It has taken a month for the knives to come out for Google+.

      TC: “Google Minus – Each of the past three weeks, we’ve been seeing less and less traffic referred. And that’s with the overall network supposedly growing. – Part of that may be Google’s own fault. They really screwed up the brand situation. They even gutted one of our employees who just wanted to share content. – It would be hard to overstate just how important this second phase of Google+ is for Google. While they’re not a small startup limited by resources and money, they still only get one chance to make a first impression. In the first two weeks, that impression was very good. In the last two, not as good.

    • Gerrit Eicker 08:28 on 2. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      NWW: “Google continues to suspend pseudonymous Profile accounts that are not real names, judging from today’s suspension of ‘Botgirl Questi‘, the avatar name of a well-known SL blogger. In real life, Botgirl is David Elfanbaum, co-founder of a high tech consultancy called Asynchrony Solutions. … ‘Out of 50,000 people who may be familiar with me, 95% know me as Botgirl Questi. So theoretically under their existing policy, it should be my real life account that got suspended.’ (Google’s rules state the profile name should be one ‘that you commonly go by in daily life.’) Also, Elfanbaum adds, ‘I’m in solidarity with the majority of those with avatar identities who have not linked with real life.‘”

      Botgirl Questi: “My new site aggregating #plusgate #nymwars posts and articles. Please /cc me on new links that I should add.

    • Gerrit Eicker 17:58 on 4. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Guardian: “Google+ pseudonym wars escalate – is it the new being ‘banned from the ranch’? – The list of blocked users is what is now being referred to as the NymWars extends to some fairly influential users. Most embarrassingly for Google, the latest is Blake Ross, co-founder of Firefox, who was inexplicably blocked from the service on Wednesday night. He trumps even William Shatner. … It’s risky for Google to take what feels like a hardline approach, for two reasons. Firstly, many of the users it is now penalising for using online monikers are valuable, influential early adopters – and Google really needs them to be on side. Secondly, given the battle for this space, and how Google+ needs to prove itself by getting to a critical mass of people as quickly as possible, it can’t afford to lose momentum.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 11:17 on 6. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      The Atlantic: “The kind of naming policy that Facebook and Google Plus have is actually a radical departure from the way identity and speech interact in the real world. They attach identity more strongly to every act of online speech than almost any real world situation does. … [I]n real life, we expect very few statements to be public, persistent, and attached to your real identity. Basically, only people talking on television or to the media can expect such treatment. And even then, the vast majority of their statements don’t become part of the searchable Internet. … [P]seudonyms allow statements to be public and persistent, but not attached to one’s real identity. – I can understand why Google and Facebook don’t want this to happen. It’s bad for their marketing teams. … They are creating tighter links between people’s behavior and their identities than has previously existed in the modern world.”

    • Gerrit Eicker 07:06 on 13. August 2011 Permalink | Reply

      BB: “+Soulja Boy, +T-Pain, and other pop celebrities won’t have a problem using Google+ with their stage names, but internet-eccentrics who’ve been known in the world by non-normal names for years can’t get a break – in some cases, even when those ‘weird’ names are in fact their legal names. Tim Carmody of Wired has the latest on Google+ nymwars. Yes, it’s still in beta, but boy oh boy do they seem determined to screw this pooch.

      Gizmodo: “Google’s Real Names Policy is Evil – Google’s horrible new policy on using real names in Google+ effectively means that the service is now a danger to real people. You have to ask yourself why a company that pledged to not be evil would do this. … Forget social networking, the big goldmine of the future is online identity verification. This could be Google prioritizing getting ahead in that race over its users’ preferences and safety. – In other words, it’s Google putting money and greed over humanity. It’s Google being evil. … The easy answer, of course, is simply to not use Google+. And I’m quite sure some people will posit that as a solution. But there are two reasons that’s not the answer. – First, Google is too big and too important. … Second, and this is related to the first, is that Google+ is a community. And we as a society we have a duty to work to make our communities free and open.”

      RWW: “Google’s Joseph Smarr refers us to this video interview (at 9:30) he did with Alex Howard, where among other things he offers the following explanation. (Thanks to Carolyn Martin for the transcription.) – ‘It’s not just enough to offer the ability to post under a pseudonymous identifier. If you’re going to make the commitment that we’re not going to out your real identity, that actually takes a lot of work, right? Especially if you’re using your real account to log in, and then posting under a pseudonym. And so we feel a real responsibility that if we’re gonna make the claim to people, ‘it’s safe, you’re not gonna get outed’, that we really think through the architecture end to end and make sure that there aren’t any loopholes or gotchas where all of a sudden you get outed. And that’s actually a hard thing to do in software. And so, I think that’s [ ] an angle people often miss … we don’t want to do it wrong so we’d rather wait until we get it right.’ – Does that sound like Google might change this policy in the future? I’ve followed up with Smarr to ask for more details.

  • Gerrit Eicker 20:11 on 21. December 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    FCC: Game Over for Net Neutrality? 

    FCC gives government power to regulate web traffic; http://eicker.at/FCC Wozniak: Keep the Internet free! http://eicker.at/Free

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 20:13 on 21. December 2010 Permalink | Reply

      WSJ: “A divided Federal Communications Commission approved a proposal by Chairman Julius Genachowski to give the FCC power to prevent broadband providers from selectively blocking web traffic. … The new FCC rules, for example, would prevent a broadband provider, such as Comcast Corp., AT&T, Inc. or Verizon Communications Inc., from hobbling access to an online video service, such as Netflix, that competes with its own video services. … The rules would allow phone and cable companies to offer faster, priority delivery services to Internet companies willing to pay extra. But the FCC proposal contains language suggesting the agency would try to discourage creation of such high-speed toll lanes. … The rules passed Tuesday are also likely to be legally challenged, and it isn’t clear if they will be upheld. Congress has never given the FCC explicit authority to regulate Internet lines, so the agency is using older rules to justify its authority.

      Wozniak: “Imagine that when we started Apple we set things up so that we could charge purchasers of our computers by the number of bits they use. The personal computer revolution would have been delayed a decade or more. If I had to pay for each bit I used on my 6502 microprocessor, I would not have been able to build my own computers anyway. … We have very few government agencies that the populace views as looking out for them, the people. The FCC is one of these agencies that is still wearing a white hat. Not only is current action on Net Neutrality one of the most important times ever for the FCC, it’s probably the most momentous and watched action of any government agency in memorable times in terms of setting our perception of whether the government represents the wealthy powers or the average citizen, of whether the government is good or is bad. This decision is important far beyond the domain of the FCC itself.

      Pethokoukis: “Milton Friedman had it right. Business is no friend of free markets. The Federal Communication Commission’s ‘net neutrality’ ruling is more evidence of this. What the FCC should have done is called it a year, went on holiday and left the Internet alone. – Instead, it found a solution in search of a problem. And that solution was more or less supplied by Verizon and Google last August. … The FCC’s new rules would ban providers such as Comcast and Verizon Communications from blocking or delaying lawful Internet traffic, such as online services offered by competitors. But the giant telecoms and landline providers would be allowed to sell faster service to content companies such as Google and Amazon.

      GigaOM: “The compromise is better than the original framework proposed earlier month, but it still has plenty of loopholes and rests on somewhat uncertain legal authority. That will ensure that the FCC is arbitrating network neutrality disputes for years to come and likely fighting for that power in the courts.”

      ATD: “Why not focus on what is clearly the more important problem and without question in the national interest, and leave the finer points of how service providers and Web companies carry content to sort themselves out? Like it or not, a new, more legally complicated Internet is here.

  • Gerrit Eicker 09:50 on 11. December 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Checks and Balances, Counter-democracy, , , , , , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , State, , , , ,   

    WikiLeaks: Pros and Cons II. 

    Shirky: Wikileaks should not be able to operate as a law unto itself [but] we need to keep [it] alive today; http://eicker.at/WL

     
    • Gerrit Eicker 09:50 on 11. December 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Shirky: “Like a lot of people, I am conflicted about Wikileaks.Citizens of a functioning democracy must be able to know what the state is saying and doing in our name, to engage in what Pierre Rosanvallon calls ‘counter-democracy’, the democracy of citizens distrusting rather than legitimizing the actions of the state. Wikileaks plainly improves those abilities. – On the other hand, human systems can’t stand pure transparency. For negotiation to work, people’s stated positions have to change, but change is seen, almost universally, as weakness. People trying to come to consensus must be able to privately voice opinions they would publicly abjure, and may later abandon. … In the US, however, the government has a ‘heavy burden’, in the words of the Supreme Court, for engaging in prior restraint of even secret documents, an established principle since New York Times Co. vs. The United States, when the Times published the Pentagon Papers. If we want a different answer for Wikileaks, we need a different legal framework first.Over the long haul, we will need new checks and balances for newly increased transparency – Wikileaks shouldn’t be able to operate as a law unto itself anymore than the US should be able to. In the short haul, though, Wikileaks is our Amsterdam. Whatever restrictions we eventually end up enacting, we need to keep Wikileaks alive today, while we work through the process democracies always go through to react to change. If it’s OK for a democracy to just decide to run someone off the internet for doing something they wouldn’t prosecute a newspaper for doing, the idea of an internet that further democratizes the public sphere will have taken a mortal blow.”

      Gillmor: “Of course, the New York Times, Washington Post and many other news organizations in the U.S. and other nations have published classified information themselves in the past – many, many times – without any help from WikiLeaks. Bob Woodward has practically made a career of publishing leaked information. By the same logic that the censors and their media acolytes are using against WikiLeaks, those organizations and lots of others could and should be subject to censorship as well. … Media organizations with even half a clue need to recognize what is at stake at this point. It’s more than immediate self-interest, namely their own ability to do their jobs.Like Clay Shirky, I’m deeply ambivalent about some of what WikiLeaks does, and what this affair portends. Governments need to keep some secrets, and laws matter. So does the First Amendment, and right now it’s under an attack that could shred it.”

      Sauter/Zittrain: “Everything You Need to Know About WikileaksWho is responsible for redacting the documents? What actions did Wikileaks take to ensure that individuals were not put in danger by publication of the documents? – According to the Associated Press and statements released by Wikileaks and Julian Assange, Wikileaks is currently relying on the expertise of the five news organizations to redact the cables as they are released, and it is following their redactions as it releases the documents on its website. (This cannot be verified without examining the original documents, which we have not done – nor are we linking to them here.) According to the BBC, Julian Assange approached the U.S. State Department for guidance on redacting the documents prior to their release. One can imagine the State Department’s dilemma there: assist and risk legitimating the enterprise; don’t assist and risk poor redaction. In a public letter, Harold Koh, legal adviser to the Department of State, declined to assist the organization and demanded the return of the documents.”

      Madrigal: “How to Think About WikiLeaks – In the days since WikiLeaks began releasing a small percentage of its cache of 250,000 cables sent by State Department officials, many people have tried to think through the event’s implications for politics, media, and national security. – Writers pulling at the knot of press freedom, liberty, nationalism, secrecy and security that sits at the center of the debate have produced dozens of fantastic pieces. We’re collecting the very best here. This page will be updated often. New links will be floated near the top of this list.

  • Gerrit Eicker 15:04 on 6. December 2010 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Bans, , , , , , , EveryDNS.net, , Freedom of Speech, , , , , , , , , Tableau Software, ,   

    Neutrality Test 

    Winer on WikiLeaks bans: The tech industry more or less failed the neutrality test; http://eicker.at/NeutralityTest

     
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