Berkman Buzz: Week of November 29, 2010

December 3, 2010

What's being discussed...take your pick or browse below.

* Several Berkman friends and fellows make Foreign Policy's list of this year's 100 Top Global Thinkers
* American Public Media interviews Jonathan Zittrain on the future of 3D printing
* Joseph Reagle explains why the rest of the world isn't more like Wikipedia
* Dan Gillmor evaluates the FTC's new do-not-track list proposal
* The OpenNet Initiative launches its weekly Threats to the Open Net roundup
* James Bessen explores whether China will out-innovate the U.S.

Special Section: This Week on WikiLeaks

* Hal Roberts discusses DDOS attacks and Amazon’s Wikileaks Takedown
* Dave Winer tracks WikiLeaks around the global web
* Rebecca MacKinnon questions the responsibilities of private companies to protect free speech
* Jillian York wonders whether digital natives have different expectations for government transparency
* Ethan Zuckerman analyzes the implications of Amazon's treatment of Wikileaks
* Weekly Global Voices: "Special Coverage: WikiLeaks and the World 2010"

Note: The Berkman Center has issued an open call for fellowship applications for the 2011-2012 academic year

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The full buzz.

Foreign Policy includes Berkman friends Ory Okolloh, Clay Shirky and Ethan Zuckerman in their list of "2010's global marketplace of ideas and the thinkers who make them."
From Foreign Policy's Second Annual List of the 100 Top Global Thinkers

"What if you didn't have to drive to the hardware store and instead you could just print out whatever tool or part or object you might need? What if when the kids were demanding the latest must-have toy, you could just print it instead? In 3D? That may be the world that's just around the corner."
From American Public Media's interview with Jonathan Zittrain, "The brave new world of 3D printing"

"Wikipedia is a grand achievement by a civil online community. So why isn't the rest of the web more like it? An interview with Joseph Reagle, fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and author of Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia."
From Jesse Brown's "Audio Podcast #69: Why Can't We All Be More Like Wikipedia?"

"Americans have become so numb to the relentless erosion of our privacy that we tend to view even small advances with skepticism, if not outright cynicism. Such is the case with yesterday's Federal Trade Commission proposal for a "do not track" system, whereby people could tell online marketers that they don't want their online activities to be captured and used by websites or online advertising firms."
From Dan Gillmor's post on Salon, "A do-not-track list? It's a start"

"From today forward, the OpenNet Initiative will no longer be updating its news feed. Instead, we will provide a weekly roundup (dubbed "Threats to the Open Net") on our blog, in addition to our usual in-depth blog posts."
From Jillian C. York's blog post for the OpenNet Initiative, "Threats to the Open Net: Week of 11/29/2010"

"Several recent articles argue that China is about to surpass the U.S. in innovation. While China is catching up to the U.S. in manufacturing production, these articles point to the number of new Chinese patent filings as evidence that China is also developing a world class ability to come up with new product ideas.... Really? In fact, a slightly closer look at the patent statistics reveals a very different picture."
From James Bessen's blog post for the Harvard Business Review, "China Is Not About to Out-Innovate the U.S."

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Special Section: This Week on WikiLeaks

" a society, we have reached a place where the only way to protect some sorts of speech on the Internet is through one of only a couple dozen core Internet organizations. Totally ceding decisions about control of politically sensitive speech to that handful of actors, without any legal process or oversight, is a bad idea (worse even than ceding decision to grandstanding politicians). The problem is that an even worse option is to cede these decisions about what content gets to stay up to the owners of the botnets capable of executing large ddos attacks."
From Hal Roberts' blog post, Amazon’s Wikileaks Takedown

"While the politicians and reporters are getting a fumbling on-the-job education in the architecture of the Internet (an NPR reporter said, hesitatingly, that it appears as if the server is now in Switzerland), the next question is where does the running stop? When does the situation reach equilibrium? What's the best outcome for the people of the planet?"
From Dave Winer's blog post, "WikiLeaks on the run"

"What is troubling and dangerous is that in the internet age, public discourse increasingly depends on digital spaces created, owned and operated by private companies. The result is that one politician has more power than ever to shut down controversial speech unilaterally with one phone call."
From Rebecca Mackinnon's post on CNN, "WikiLeaks, Amazon and the new threat to internet speech"

"Here’s the premise: My generation — the Digital Natives, Gen Y — and perhaps the one younger than it views the concept of Wikileaks very differently from older generations. We’ve grown up sharing the intimate details of our lives, we Tweet, we post our location on FourSquare, practically inviting stalkers into our lives…as a result, I believe that we expect more of a radical transparency from others…including our government."
From Jillian York's blog post, "Scribblings on Wikileaks: Some Thoughts on Digital Nativism and Transparency"

"The rise of internet hypergiants like Amazon that host servers for hundreds of thousands of clients makes these potential conflicts more clear. If you are dissatisfied with the terms of service of your hosting provider, you can always find another… up to a point. There’s been massive consolidation in the web hosting market, and companies like Amazon are likely to control large shares of the market in the future, both because there are economies of scale in providing low-cost service, and because large server farms can more effectively defend from attacks like DDoS. But if large providers like Amazon won’t take on clients like Wikileaks, they’re forced onto smaller ISPs, which may be more costly and less able to thwart DDoS attacks."
From Ethan Zuckerman's blog post, "If Amazon has silenced Wikileaks..."

"State secrets exposed this year by whistle-blower website Wikileaks keep causing the world to shudder. A video showing Iraqi civilians killed by U.S forces; a compilation of tens of thousands of documents about the war in Afghanistan; hundreds of thousands of documents about the war in Iraq; and now 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables. On Global Voices, we have looked at worldwide online citizen media reactions. The leaked documents contain so much information, both journalists and bloggers have struggled to make sense of them. The initial excitement is huge. What happens next?" From Global Voices Online Special Coverage section, "WikiLeaks and the World 2010"

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The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects and sometimes from the Center's wider network

Suggestions and feedback about the Buzz are always welcome and can be emailed to

Last updated

December 3, 2010