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Berkman Buzz: Week of May 19, 2008

May 23, 2008

BERKMAN BUZZ:  A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations.  If you'd like to receive this by email, just sign up here. The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School

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*This just in: David Ardia on YouTube's citizen news channel
*John Palfrey and Colin Maclay provided written testimony on Internet filtering to the U.S. Senate this week
*Derek Bambauer discusses US companies laying bricks in the Great Firewall
*Broadband in the US is sooooo sloooooooooooow, Persephone Miel laments
*Doc Searls provides a VRM roundup from the past couple of weeks
The Internet & Democracy Project looks at Iran's efforts to block websites promoting women's rights
*Weekly Global Voices: "Tajikistan: The power of gossip"
*Weekly Publius Essay: "Susan Crawford: ICANN’s Constitutional Moment"

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The Full Buzz

"Earlier this week, YouTube announced that it had designated a news manager for the site and created a Citizen News channel. Olivia M. (strangely, she didn't include her last name), YouTube's new News Manager, announced the initiative on YouTube's blog: 'Thanks to better, cheaper, and easier access to video equipment, there's an amazing amount of news being reported on YouTube every single day by citizens in all corners of the globe. You're conducting interviews with local community leaders, doing weekly reports on the latest campus news for your school television station, and investigating untold stories you think the world should know about. This stuff is fantastic, but we want to see more from you all and to bring more citizen journalists into the fold...'"
David Ardia, "YouTube Announces New Citizen News Channel"

"Mister Chairman, distinguished members of the Committee: I would like to offer my deep appreciation for the Committee’s interest in this important matter. Congressional engagement is an important factor in deepening understanding of the nexus between global Internet freedom and corporate responsibility, and an essential element for ensuring that the Internet continues on its path towards becoming an ever-greater force for democratic participation and human rights advancement worldwide..."
John Palfrey, "Testimony on Internet Filtering and Surveillance"

"Google, Yahoo!, and Cisco faced questions from the subcommittee on human rights (part of the Senate Judiciary Committee) about their role in China’s Internet censorship system. Cisco was in particularly hot water after an internal document surfaced - it discusses how Cisco technology can 'Combat Falun Gong evil religion and other hostiles.' Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked the tough questions and had a great response to the suggestion that a filtered ‘Net (abetted by U.S. tech companies) is better than none - 'I heard that argument when companies were doing business in South Africa during apartheid...'"
Derek Bambauer, "Tech Companies Called on The Carpet in DC. Again."

"If you don’t haz broadband you don’t haz convergence, duz u? Thanks to the still-young site Ground Report, I came across the Communication Workers of America Speed Test. Try it out, it’s a great way to drive home what my fellow fellow David Weinberger pointed out earlier this week: the US is in 15th place (out of 30 developed countries) in broadband penetration and far from the top in any number of other measures..."
Persephone Miel, "Miserable broadband in the US - why is this not a big story?"

"A lot went down at conferences these last two weeks. The main three were IIW, Berkman@10 and iCitizen. Many of the below items were from the iCitizen, where my keynote met with much face-to-face approval and enthusiasm, but the blogging and twittering veered toward the skeptical side (not negative, but more wait-and-see). That’s what you’ll see below..."
Doc Searls, "VRM post-iCitizen linkage and coverage"

"According to a story by AFP, the Iranian government has redoubled efforts to block websites that support women’s rights. In our paper on the Iranian blogosphere, we drew on research from the OpenNet Initiative (ONI) that found blogs are far less blocked than we would have expected. ONI researchers did indeed find that blogs by women’s groups were blocked, suggesting that this type of content is becoming increasingly sensitive. Women’s Rights activists such as Parvin Ardalan have also been jailed and harassed by the regime recently..."
The Internet & Democracy Project, "Iran Increases Efforts to Block Websites Supporting Women’s Rights"

"Recently, the Uzbek website UzMetronom disseminated information about possible murder of Hasan Sadulloev, the bother-in-law of Tajik President Rahmon. Hasan is considered to be one of the wealthiest and powerful persons in today's Tajikistan. According to the website, Hasan was shot by his nephew on May 2 and died in a German hospital on May 8. This information was picked up by many other respected information agencies and subsequently by bloggers. For the last two weeks it was one of the main topics of discussions in the Tajik society. However, it still remains on the level of gossips and no one has credible information to either prove or disapprove this...'"
Vadim Sadonshoev for Global Voices, "Tajikistan: The power of gossip"

"The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, coordinates name and number identifiers for the Internet. In a nutshell, ICANN coordinates actors who make sure that there is only one .com in the list of top level domains (like .com, .net, .org, and .edu) to which most Internet access providers around the world refer. ICANN also makes sure that these top level domains are linked to the 'right' Internet Protocol addresses of the machines that have information about second-level domains underneath them (like"
Susan Crawford's Publius essay, "ICANN’s Constitutional Moment"

Last updated

May 24, 2008