Berkman Buzz: March 18, 2011

March 18, 2011

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

* Larry Lessig and Jonathan Zittrain take on kill switches for Radio Berkman
* Yochai Benkler speaks out against the treatment of alleged Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning
* Peter Suber points out recent watershed events in the open access movement
* Ethan Zuckerman wonders if the number of Facebook friends an African leader has can predict regime instability
* David Weinberger ponders the amount of information in the world
* Weekly Global Voices: "Nigeria: Standup Naija 2011"

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The full buzz.

"In recent months citizens of the Middle East and North Africa have experienced widespread shutdowns of internet access, coinciding with revolutions to overthrow national leadership. The seeming ease with which the Internet has been silenced in Libya, Egypt, and other countries has raised questions about ethical issues behind an Internet “Kill Switch,” the idea of a single point of access by which any nation’s leadership could shutdown their internet access."
From Radio Berkman 175, "Lessig and Zittrain Take On...the Kill Switch"

"For those of you who have not been following the events, Manning has been held under conditions that PJ crowly called last Thursday "ridiculous, counterproductive, and stupid,"and promptly got fired for being the only government official to call it like it is on this one. Bruce Ackerman and I have started an open letter hosted on Balkinization, inviting other academics to join us in asking the Administration to either publicly explain and justify the particulars of the treatment, or to stop tormenting Manning and give him a proper trial consistent with his rights under the Fifth Amendment, and punishment, if he is found guilty, consistent with the requirements of the Eight Amendment."
From Yochai Benkler's post for Talking Points Memo, "Bradley Manning Abuse"

"OA has the momentum of thousands of forward steps every year, in every academic field and every part of the world. But some developments are larger than others, and some are large enough to count as watershed events. I've noticed an upswing in watershed events recently and want to point out half a dozen of them. Pointing them out doesn't amount to a prediction, any more than tremors predict earthquakes. But if you were too preoccupied with local noise to notice these tremors, take a moment to notice them."
From Peter Suber's SPARC Open Access Newsletter

"The data set I’m most enjoying is this one: the number of Facebook Friends various African leaders can claim. Some leaders have official pages, some private, personal pages. A large number simply have fan pages, put together by a community of supporters. Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan leads the pack – by a lot – with 341,759 friends in December 2010. He’s embraced Facebook rather aggressively, going as far as to announce his candidacy for the presidency on the site, probably to preempt the announcement of a rival. A close look at African leaders with lots of Facebook friends might offer a caution for Jonathan."
From Ethan Zuckerman's blog post, "Facebook friends = regime instability?"

"As PR for an upcoming appearance by James Gleick, whose new book The Information I am greatly looking forward to reading, Zocalo Public Square asked four or five folks “Can there be too much information?” It’s an interesting collection of responses."
From David Weinberger's blog post, "Can there be too much information? And what would it be too much of?"

"Nigeria's presidential election will be held on 9 April 2011. What are the expectations of Nigerian voters? StandUp Naija is a series of impactful videos highlighting the expectations of average Nigerians and policy areas the 2011 elections should address."
From Ndesanjo Macha's blog post for Global Voices Online, "Nigeria: StandUp Naija 2011"

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Compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

The weekly Berkman Buzz is selected 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

March 18, 2011