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Berkman Buzz: Week of July 21, 2008

July 25, 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 University

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*Harry Lewis explains why the FCC's child-friendly Internet is a bad idea
*A digital native does battle with the RIAA
*The Internet & Democracy Project explores growing online opposition to Nicaragua's President Ortega
*Sam Bayard discusses the decision to strike down COPA
*StopBadware intern Laureli Mallek looks at e-mail hackers-for-hire
*OpenNet Initiative intern Kanu Tewari considers the face-off over Facebook in Egypt
*Weekly Global Voices: "Slovakia: Refusal to Recognize Independent Kosovo"
*Weekly Publius Essay: "Anonymity on the Web"

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The full buzz.

"Readers of Chapter 7 of Blown to Bits will know some of the story of the U.S. government’s efforts to make the Internet 'safe' for children to see by banning from it many things that are legal and appropriate for adults. (We talked about part of this story yesterday, in our post about the COPA legislation.) Now the FCC has come up with the bright idea of a child-friendly Internet, that is, an Internet where no one could ever say anything that would be 'harmful' to children, down to the age of 5..."
From Harry Lewis' blogpost, "Protesting a Proposal for a Censored Internet"

"This video – 'The Ballad of Zack McCune, Part I' – is the first of a three-part piece created by Nikki Leon and John Randall of the Digital Natives summer team. It marks another installment in our weekly 'Digital Natives: Reporters in the Field' series, in which we delve into a variety of Digital-Natives-related topics. In this video, we take a look at digital natives’ attitudes towards illegal downloading. Part I, posted here, is the introduction to Zack McCune’s story..."
From the Digital Natives Project blogpost, "The Ballad of Zack McCune, Part 1"
Also take a look at, "The Ballad of Zack McCune, Part II"

"It appears that Nicaraguan cyber communities are taking part in growing opposition to the Ortega presidency. Ortega’s administration recently disqualified two opposition parties from participating in local November elections (Alianza Liberal Nicaragüense and Movimiento de Renovación Sandinista), a move that has stirred many young citizens to angry online protest.  Nicaraguan students have participated in the growing opposition movement through social networking channels like Facebook. When former Sandanista rebel leader, Dora Maria Tellez, began a hunger strike to protest the “dictatorial intentions” of the Ortega administration, a small number of Managua’s students formed a Facebook group entitled 'We Support Dora Maria Tellez...'"
From the Internet & Democracy Project blogpost, "Ortega Faces Student Opposition Online"

"Yesterday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court decision ruling that the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) violates the First Amendment.  COPA makes it a crime to knowingly post sexually explicit material that is "harmful to minors” on the web  “for commercial purposes.” Although Congress apparently intended that COPA apply to commercial pornographers, the statute's broad definition of "commercial purposes" could draw in ordinary websites that make money from advertising, which is why Salon Media Group,, and Dan Savage, among others, joined in the lawsuit challenging the Act..."
From Sam Bayard's blogpost, "Appeals Court Strikes Down the Child Online Protection Act (Again)"

"Dancho Danchev has blogged repeatedly about the commercilization of badware producers, and this week he mentioned another example: outsourced email hacking. The hackers-for-hire promise that their seven-step process, from submitting the information of the would-be victim to proof of execution and exchange of money, will be cleaner and yield better results than other methods (phishing, viruses, etc)..."
From the StopBadware blogpost, "Outsource that Email Hack"

"As spite spurs activism among the nation’s youth, Egypt contemplates banning Facebook- the infamous Social Networking Site (SNS) that has taken the country by storm. The rising food prices and consequential rise in cost of living in Egypt has caused a great deal of unrest, especially in the lower strata of society. Interestingly, though, it is the middle and upper classes that have been using the Internet (namely social networking sites) and other digital goods as a medium to organize protests and strikes comprising of over 80,000 people. Despite the class divide that is apparent in the Egyptian social structure, it seems that their mutual dislike of the governing system has united them, and thus instilled the use of Facebook and other social networking sites as a means to ‘spread the word.’"
From the OpenNet Initiative blogpost, "Facebook Faceoff"

"The Republic of Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008. Thus far, 43 out of 192 United Nation countries have recognized Kosovo's independence, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, and most of the EU. Most notably opposed — besides Serbia — is Russia. The Slovak government announced some months ago that they will not recognize Kosovo's independence. Furthermore, the Foreign Ministry has stated that the Slovak government will not recognize any documents from an independent Kosovo, including a Kosovar passport...'"
From Margarete Hurn's blogpost for Global Voices, "Slovakia: Refusal to Recognize Independent Kosovo"

"'C’mon. Give us the juice. Posts are totally, 100% anonymous.' So reads the web page. Read on and you’ll find every manner of gossip about America’s college students, searchable by name. Joe Johnson’s mental and venereal illnesses. Mary Smith’s suicide attempt after her sex life was splashed across the site a few days earlier. Of course, all you are really seeing is what nameless people claim, and what others namelessly claim about that. Many posts are cruel. There is no way to tell if they are true. And no one takes responsibility for them..."
From the Cheshire Cat's essay for the Publius Project, "Anonimity on the Web"

Last updated

July 26, 2008