Skip to the main content

Berkman Buzz, week of September 8

A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations.  If you'd like to receive this by email, just sign up here.

What's going on... take your pick or browse below.

* Wendy Seltzer explains privacy uproar over at Facebook.
* David Weinberger transcribes and partakes in MA network neutrality debate.
* Bill McGeveran points to discussions about legal blogging.
* Tim Armstrong questions levy on blank CDs in Canada.
* Jake Shapiro maps relationship between listening and listnership.

The full Buzz.

"Context and granularity matter. When thinking about our information, we don't just have two settings, "public" and "private." Those who spill their lives into Facebook profiles still have expectations of privacy. We might be comfortable sharing information with some people, in some doses, expecting the typical human attention span to shield us from too much probing, but object when that same information is catalogued and read back. This is part of the horror of a wiretap or a secret police file, even if it discloses only innocent activities...."
Wendy Seltzer, "Facebook: Privacy defaults, tweaks, and user experience."

"The panel consists of me, Brent Olson (ass't vp, regulatory policy, AT&T) and Link Hoewing (ass't vp, Internet and tech issues, Verizon). Paul Deninger of Jeffries Broadview and TechNet (yay) is the moderator. [I'm typing this while on the panel so my coverage will be worse than spotty. BTW, I'm the only one in the room with a laptop open.] [There was one exchange I found particular clarifying. Click here to jump to it.] Brent from AT&T says that Net neutrality is an elusive concept but it generally means "how to respond to the changing nature of the Internet." It started out as being about whether providers can block access to sites but now it means allowing providers to enhance their service. He says AT&T is the main DSL provider. "We are a price leader in this market and we're committed to making more broadband available to more people at a lower rate." They're investing in fiber...."
David Weinberger, "[massnetcomms] Net neutrality panel"

"The Yale Law Journal’s online alter ego, The Pocket Part, has assembled a set of brief essays from leading law prof bloggers about legal blogging. Much of it is a repeat of the copious virtual ink already spilled on this subject, including the Berkman Center’s “Bloggership” conference (an event mentioned by several of the authors). But there are some interesting perspectives in there, particularly (in my view): * Steve Vladeck talks about the impact of instant blogging on scholarship by law students, who have traditionally written some of the earliest responses to legal developments (the short answer: students may have lost one route to writing good scholarship, but others remain open). * Christopher Bracey offers a sustained metaphor of online legal scholarship as avant garde jazz (although I think most legal bloggers hope their work is more accessible to and accepted by a broad general audience than was John Coltrane’s most experimental work; perhaps that’s unlikely, unfortunately, given the technicality of the law)...."
Bill McGeveran, "Pocket Part on Legal Blogging"

"According to the linked news item, Canadian consumers have expressed a willingness to pay nearly double the current levy of 21 cents each for recordable blank CDs, with the proceeds going to recording artists. The policy objective is to compensate artists for the revenues they lose when consumers copy a recording instead of purchasing a prerecorded CD. Ars Technica and Professor Geist both criticize the survey, which sounds like it might have been driven by the sort of push polling for which the MPAA recently drew fire here in the U.S. (Of course, everybody likes to say they support recording artists, and what’s 19 cents? It seems like it would be quite easy to phrase the question here in such a way as to virtually guarantee a positive answer. Whether that actually happened or not, I can’t say, but it wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.) Many of the criticisms focus on what seem, to me at least, to be peripheral issues...."
Tim Armstrong, "What Are Canadian Consumers Getting for their Blank CD-R Fees?"

"If public radio is successful at syndicating its programs through digital channels we may gain a sizable but not very loyal audience. This is particularly true if much of the interaction with programming happens on third-party sites and spaces like iTunes and mobile phones, where the context and flow of the experience is dictated by the user or the platform provider. There may be millions of downloads and exposure to public radio programs along with appeals to support them but to achieve the equivalent “average 3-5 years of listening before someone contributes” would be really difficult. For channels and spaces that are governed by public radio or supporting entities - such as stations sites, continuous Internet radio sidestreams, and national sites such as there are many more opportunities to create a unifying experience that could anchor this sense of reliance...."
Jake Shapiro, "Ooh, it makes me wonder"