Tag Archives: Internet Freedom

Morning Stories (1-13-2012)

  • The Hill reports that Sen. Patrick Leahy will be putting forth a manager’s amendment of PIPA for the January 24 vote, pledging to cut the DNS blocking provision from the legislation. Mike Masnick at TechDirt provides some critical analysis.
  • Meanwhile, Rep. Jared Polis has taken to the League of Legends gaming forum to rally the opposition to PIPA and SOPA. And Carl Franzen at TPM asks what the upcoming January 18th “Blackout” and House Oversight Committee hearing will accomplish.
  • Gen. Keith Alexander, head of US Cyber Command,  reiterates that active defenses are increasingly necessary to thwart cyber threats, suggesting the current approach used by most businesses is akin to the “Maginot Line.”
  • At the Technology Liberation Front, Berin Szoka, Geoffrey Manne, and Ryan Radia have a thoughtful piece on Google’s Search Plus Your World:

All the usual blustering and speculation in the latest Google antitrust debate has obscured what should, however, be the two key prior questions: (1) Did Google violate the antitrust laws by not including data from Facebook, Twitter and other social networks in its new SPYW program alongside Google+ content; and (2) How might antitrust restrain Google in conditioning participation in this program in the future?

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Morning Stories (1-11-2012)

  • From the WSJ, a story on the continued rise of Internet activism in Russia, with interesting stats on financial support protesters have received via the web.
  • Google has unveiled a new search feature, called “Search, plus Your World.” Twitter came out swinging against it, but other reactions have been more positive. Ian Paul at PC World provides some further analysis.
  • Stewart Baker briefly discusses his upcoming testimony against SOPA, slated for January 18.
  • CES also took to the SOPA debate, hosting a panel that included various stakeholders. ars technica provides a good recap.
  • Dara Kerr at cnet reports that Facebook will begin inserting sponsored ads into users’ news feeds. Users can place their mouse over the item to determine whether it is from a friend or a sponsored ad.
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Morning Stories (1-9-2012)

  • Adam Clark Estes at the Atlantic and Adam Thierer at TechLiberation present their takes on Vint Cerf’s NY Times op-ed from last week on Internet as human right.
  • CSIS Has A Set of Critical Questions For 2012. The entire list is worth reading, but I wanted to highlight the technology segment and cybersecurity segment for particular attention, both of which were written by CSIS’s James A. Lewis.
  • Apple’s Siri is a data hog, and highlights looming spectrum crunch facing mobile providers.
  • The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) asked the FTC to probe Facebook over privacy concerns with the social media giant’s new Timeline feature.
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Morning Stories (1-6-2012)

  • Larry Downes has an excellent piece discussing Silicon Valley’s response to SOPA, the risk of unintended consequences when regulators intervene in areas they don’t fully comprehend, and the potential for the tech community to establish a bulwark against ill-conceived legislation that threatens innovation and prosperity.
  • Google, Facebook, and Twitter have endorsed the OPEN Act, proposed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), as an alternative to SOPA and PIPA.
  • Vint Cerf had an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday making the point that technology is “an enabler of rights, not a right in itself,” and that engineers and technology creators have an obligation to empower and protect users of that technology. He closes on a thoughtful note:

Improving the Internet is just one means, albeit an important one, by which to improve the human condition. It must be done with an appreciation for the civil and human rights that deserve protection — without pretending that access itself is such a right.

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that the Iranian government is instituting draconian obligations on Internet cafes, requiring them to install surveillance equipment and obtain personal information from customers. There is speculation that this is a precursor to what will be an Iranian intranet, designed to “insulate its citizens from Western ideology and un-Islamic culture, and eventually replace the Internet.”
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Morning Stories (1-4-2012)

  • Yesterday there was a great deal of ballyhoo over news that Belarus had passed a law to prevent its citizens from browsing foreign websites. The law is a bit more nuanced than that, but nevertheless concern is warranted. Glyn Moody at TechDirt and Gavin Clarke at The Register give good breakdowns on what we know about the law.
  • John Dunn at CIO discusses Japan’s development of a new “virus cyberweapon” that can be used to back trace attacks and shut down offending systems.
  • Brendan Sasso at The Hill reports that the ACLU is suing a Missouri public library after it blocked websites related to Wicca.
  • Want to know where your representatives in Congress stand on PIPA and SOPA? Check out SOPA Track - you can see whether your lawmakers are actively supporting or opposing the legislation, and how much money they’ve raised from groups in favor of and opposed to the legislation.
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Morning Stories (12-30-2011)

  • Carl Franzen at TPM gives a rundown of SOPA opponents’ plans to deal with the bill’s supporters, including going after two Republican legislators. If you’re curious about who is undeserving of political support in this next election, consider rewatching the SOPA markup hearing to get some insight.
  • Joe Brockmeier at ReadWriteWeb calls 2011 “the year the free ride died.”
  • Charities are investigating whether contributions they received were the result of the Anonymous STRATFOR hack. They’ve pledged to refund any such money.
  • Finally, a couple stories that aren’t entirely tech related but nonetheless relevant reading:
    • First – Egyptian military forces raided the offices of over a dozen NGOs yesterday, seizing computer equipment and documents. From the article:

The raids, particularly those on American pro-democracy and human-rights organizations, mark a significant deterioration in the relationship between Washington and one of its closest military allies in the Middle East. The U.S. government has supported Egypt’s military since the 1970s, with $1.3 billion in annual funding that now amounts to an estimated 20% of its budget.

    • Second – Vidgar Helgesen writing at ISN heralds 2012 as the beginning of the Age of the Citizen. From the article:

It’s true also that the idea of the free citizen as the source of all political power is age-old. But never has it been applied so directly as in 2011. What happened first in Tunisia and Egypt were called leaderless revolutions, but really what we saw was ordinary citizens taking the lead. 

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Morning Stories (12-29-2011)

  • The CEO of Rackspace, Lanham Napier, writes that SOPA will lead to censorship, and is worse than the problem it purports to solve. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) provided a response.
  • Quinn Norton at ars technica provides a further update on the STRATFOR hack.
  • John Paul Titlow at ReadWriteWeb asks if the world’s next political revolution can be predicted by computers.
  • Meanwhile, cnet’s Declan McCullagh and Business Insider’s Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry provide 2012 predictions. Among them: Google will  jump into the tablet market, Facebook will surprise everyone with more rapid-than-predicted growth, SOPA’s major opponents will undertake significant efforts to thwart the legislation, and aggressive antitrust enforcement will continue.
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Morning Stories (12-27-2011)

  • David Rusenko at Startup Adventures gives a brief anecdote of what the Internet will look like under SOPA.
  • Meanwhile, conservative opposition to SOPA continues to grow, and includes the well-known think tank the Heritage Foundation.
  • Do companies have a property right in the social media accounts of their employees? NY Times reports on the interesting case of Noah Kravitz and PhoneDog.com.
  • Andy Greenberg at Forbes has a story on Telecomix, a group dedicated to exposing those who fight against free speech on the Internet.
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Morning Stories (12-23-2011)

  • Bloomberg Businessweek has a piece examining the optimism of Silicon Valley
  • Tim B. Lee discusses the boycott facing GoDaddy over its support for SOPA
  • Wired has a great profile on Dropbox and what’s in store for the future of Cloud
  • Apparently Israelis are the biggest users of social networks, according to The Next Web (H/T Financial Times)
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Morning Stories (12-21-2011)

  • The continued markup of SOPA has been delayed until next year. As reported at engadget, a petition at WhiteHouse.gov calling on the President to veto SOPA and similar legislation has already gained nearly 32,000 signatures.
  • Tools and methods of circumventing SOPA provisions are already being deployed, according to a report by Forbes. SOPA’s flaws demonstrate that the law would merely “reinforce the Internet’s fundamental security problems without blocking access to copyright-infringing sites for any user savvy enough to use simple software tools.”
  • This morning the WSJ reported that hackers in China had successfully breached the systems of the US Chamber of Commerce, accessing “everything stored on its systems, including information about its three million members.” The breach was discovered and thwarted back in the spring 2010, though two sources suggested the hackers may have had access to the systems for over a year.
  • Better policy is needed to keep entrepreneurs coming to the US and creating jobs with venture-funded businesses, according to a study by the National Foundation for American Policy.
  • National Journal reports that the swift moves by the DOJ and FCC to stifle the AT&T / T-Mobile merger may chill any future mergers for the duration of the Obama administration.
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