<--The Filter--> January 2005

January 4, 2005
No. 7.01 <--The Filter--> 01.04.05

[1] In the News: I+S Report, Online Vigilantism, Grokster
[2] Berkman News: EUCD Report, Global Voices
[3] Conference Watch
[4] Bookmarks
[5] Quotables
[6] Filter Facts


* Votes, Bits & Bytes Review

The Berkman Center hosted its biannual Internet & Society conference last month. This year's topic, "Votes, Bits & Bytes," focused on how the internet affects politics. Prior to the conference, the Berkman Center released a "Working Hypothesis," which Executive Director John Palfrey refined based on input from attendees. The document describes the upsides and downsides of online politics and concludes that one of the biggest effects of the internet involves the ability to improvise. The Hypothesis argues that the best political model may not be a "pure-play internet strategy but rather a combination of 'classical' campaign tactics with the 'jazz' of these new internet-enabled activities." The conference was free to the public, thanks to sponsorship from eBay, the Omidyar Network, the Open Society Institute, the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, and Harvard's Institute of Politics.

CNET on the Conference: <http://news.com.com/2100-1028_3-5487855.html>
Working hypothesis and briefings: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/is2k4/briefings>
The Conference: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/is2k4/home>
Post-Conference Updates: <http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/palfrey/2004/12/13#a749>

* Screensaver Wars and Online Vigilantism

The controversy started in late November after Lycos released a screensaver, "make LOVE not SPAM," to retaliate against spammers. The screensaver was designed to call up websites classified as spam sites by Spamcop and other sources. Lycos speculated that the increase in traffic to spam sites could clog sites and possibly increase their bandwidth costs. The experiment ended a few weeks later when a virus masquerading as the Lycos screensaver appeared in emails. According to a report in The Register, opening the attachment would install a virus that logged users' key strokes. The screensaver's original website now reads, "Please note that the 'makelovenotspam' initiative has been discontinued. There is no point in trying to obtain a copy of the screensaver, as it will not function anymore." The incident raises questions about online vigilantism, trusted computing, user control, and legal versus technological recourse.

Original Home of Screensaver: <http://makelovenotspam.com/intl>
The Register's Follow-Up: <http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/12/07/fake_lycos_screensaver_trojan
Technical Analysis from Nart Villeneuve: <http://ice.citizenlab.org/archives/000067.html#more>

* Defining "Community Standards" for the Internet

Sections of the Communications Decency Act have concerned advocates for online freedoms since passage of the law in 1996. While many of the CDA's provisions about internet "indecency" were overturned in Reno v. ACLU in 1997, other provisions, such as limitations on ISP liability and restrictions about online "obscenity," remain intact. Plaintiffs in the recent lawsuit, Nitke v. Ashcroft, are now challenging these obscenity standards. New York artist Barbara Nitke, whose photography depicts sexual and controversial scenes, filed for declaratory judgment to protect online displays of her work in 2001, and written arguments in the case were finally submitted last month. One of the core issues raised in Nitke v. Ashcroft is the difficulty of determining "obscenity" on the internet, since its definition depends on measuring "contemporary community standards." Which community standards apply to the global Internet? Technology experts and internet activists have sided against the law based on this concern and as well as concerns about First Amendment freedoms and online anonymity. The case now falls to the Southern District of New York for a decision.

Plaintiff's Overview (John Wirenius): <http://www.wireniusreport.net/overview.html>
Original Media Coverage (CNN): <http://archives.cnn.com/2001/TECH/industry/12/20/obscenity.suit.idg/>
Expert Testimony about Challenges to Geolocation (Seth Finkelstein): <http://sethf.com/nitke/ashcroft.php>
* Did Blogs Guess Right on Grokster?

As the Supreme Court considered whether or not to weigh in on file-sharing, legal experts, technologists, and bloggers were placing bets online. Writing on Larry Lessig's blog, Tim Wu correctly predicted that the Court would take up Grokster. He gave seven reasons, which included legal and historical arguments, but more importantly, according to Wu, "The Court loves to be the center of attention, and this would make it so." The EFF predicted that the Court would pass because, as Fred von Lohmann argued, "It's Congress that writes the Copyright Act, not the courts." With the future of file-sharing services hanging in the balance of the Grokster decision, the online controversy is unlikely to settle soon.

Yes on Cert: <http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/002103.shtml>
No on Cert: <http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/001987.php>
The Verdict: <http://www.wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,65995,00.html>

* EU Nations Adopt the EUCD

Berkman Fellow Urs Gasser and researcher Michael Girsberger (University of Lucerne) recently released a new paper that analyzes the ways in which EU member states have taken provisions of the EU's Copyright Directive (EUCD) regarding the protection of technological and transposed them as national laws. The paper suggests that the EUCD has led to a certain level of harmonization of member states’ laws but that significant differences among member states in the field of anti-circumvention laws persist. In addition, the paper's website provides an interactive chart showing international and national legislation on technological protection measures in EU member states.

EUCD paper: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/media/eucd>
Latest Updates: <http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ugasser/2004/12/16#a28>

* Global Voices Unite

"A new movement is launched!" wrote Berkman Fellow Rebecca MacKinnon on her blog. Bloggers and technologists from around the world came to Cambridge last month during the conference "Votes, Bits & Bytes" to discuss common interests and goals of a new group of "cyber-citizens." The results was the creation of a new blog, "Global Voices," and a consortium of global members committed to sharing ideas, promoting free speech, and using the internet to further these goals. Read more on the group's blog.

Global Voices: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/globalvoices/>
Audio Documentary about Global Voices: <http://cyber.harvard.edu/audio/globalvoices>


* January 3-6, 2005, Big Island, Hawaii - The Semantic Web: The Goal of Web Intelligence
* January 18-19, 2005, Brisbane, Australia - Open Content Licensing (OCL): Cultivating the Creative Commons <http://www.law.qut.edu.au/about/news.jsp#ocl>

* January 26, 2005 New York, NY - True Voice: The Business of Blogging <https://www.bdionline.com/calendar/events.asp?ID=71>
* January 31 - February 4, 2005, Trento, Italy - 2005 International Symposium on Applications and the Internet <http://www.saint2005.org/>


* February 1-3, 2005, Sydney, Australia - Information Online 2005 <http://online.alia.org.au/>

* February 8-10, 2005, San Francisco, CA - Emerging Technology, Business and Policy for Senior Executives <http://www.mediacenter.org/content/5098.cfm>

* February 14-20, 2005, Vancouver, BC - Music Library Association 74th Annual Conference <http://www.musiclibraryassoc.org/2005_conference/>

* February 21-25, 2005, Mumbai, India - International Conference on Information Management in a Knowledge Society <http://www.icim2005.org/>

* February 23-25, 2005, Algarve, Portugal - IADIS International Conference: Web Based Communities 2005 <http://www.iadis.org/wbc2005/>


* March 3-5, 2005, Cambridge, MA - Morph05 @ Harvard: Whose News - Media, Technology and the Common Good <http://www.mediacenter.org/content/5100.cfm>

* March 4-5, 2005, Ottawa, Ontario - The Concealed: Anonymity, Identity and the Prospect of Privacy <http://www.anonequity.org/concealedi>

* March 9-11, 2005, Washington, D.C. - IAPP National Summit 2005 <http://privacyassociation.org/html/conferences.html>

* March 29-April 1, 2005, Shanghai, China - The Seventh Asia Pacific Web Conference <http://apweb05.csm.vu.edu.au/>

* March 29-April 1, 2005, Hong Kong - IEEE International Conference on e-Technology, e-Commerce and e-Service <http://www.comp.hkbu.edu.hk/~eee05/>

* Internet Censorship Explorer Blog <http://ice.citizenlab.org/>

* "Googlezon" Movie by The Museum of Media History <http://www.robinsloan.com/epic/>

* Harvard Libraries, Meet Google Print <http://print.google.com/googleprint/library.html>

* New Berkman Center Mailing Lists <http://cyber.harvard.edu/signup/>


"You have had a great deal of deliberate, deceptive and misleading information. The parents and grandparents who run the companies in P2P United are not Darth Vader."

- Adam Eisgrau, Executive Director of P2P United in remarks to the FTC


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Last updated

January 16, 2008