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Berkman Buzz: April 29, 2011


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


*danah boyd gets kicked off Tumblr by a company and writes about getting her identity back
*Doc Searls chronicles the recent public debate about personal data
*Dan Gillmor does not support the blogger lawsuit against Huffington Post
*Ethan Zuckerman explores the roles facts and values play in polarization
*Stop Badware is developing best practices for malware reporting
* Weekly Global Voices: "Rwanda: Ask Rwandan President Questions on YouTube"

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The full buzz.

"Yesterday, I threw a public hissy fit when I found out that Tumblr’s customer service had acted on a trademark request from a company called Zephoria who had written them to ask that they release my account to them. (Tumblr has since apologized and given me my identity back.) In some ways, I feel really badly for Tumblr – and all other small social media companies – because brokering these issues is not easy. In fact, it’s a PITA. Who has the legitimate right to a particular identity or account name? What happens when the account is inactive? Or when the person who has the account is squatting? Or when there are conflicting parties who both have legitimate interests in an account name? Or when the account owner has died?"
From danah boyd's blog post, "A Customer Service Nightmare: Resolving Trademark and Personal Reputation in a Limited Name Space"

"Here in the U.S. we’ve been focused more on prophylaxis than empowerment, at least at the federal level. This is a problem with our obsession with privacy as an issue in itself. Focus on privacy alone, and conversation inevitably veers toward policy. What new laws and regulations do we need to protect ourselves? we ask. That may be a good question, but it ignores answers that are already coming from the marketplace — answers that see today’s privacy problems as secondary effects of market dysfunction, and which pursue opportunities that marginalize and obsolete today’s privacy-threatening business practices."
From Doc Searls' blog post for Project VRM, "Personal leverage for personal data"

"I do not support Tasini’s lawsuit. In fact, if this case doesn’t get laughed out of court by the first judge who hears it, I’ll be amazed. I’ll also be willing to testify on Huffington’s behalf. Her lawyers are surely smart enough not to call me, of course, because I’d hold my nose as I defended their client, and would explain why to anyone who asked."
From Dan Gillmor's blog post, "No, I Do Not Support the Blogger Lawsuit Against Huffington Post"

"If the path that leads from polarization towards common ground is rooted in understanding values as well as facts, we’ve got a challenge – how do we start listening to the needs, wants and aspirations of people who view the world differently?"
From Ethan Zuckerman's blog post, "Overcoming political polarization… but not through facts"

"Last month, we released a set of best practices for hosting providers responding to malware reports. The best practices are intended to address inconsistency within the industry about how to responsibly and effectively respond to malware reports; they lay out a high-level framework that web hosting providers of all sizes can follow. Today, we at StopBadware are pleased to announce that we have already begun to take the logical next step in helping to strengthen the Web ecosystem: developing a set of best practices for malware reporters."
From Caitlin Condon's blog post for Stop Badware, "StopBadware to develop best practices for malware reporting"

"On May 5, 2011 President Paul Kagame of Rwanda will be the first African leader to be interviewed on YouTube World View. World View is a series of monthly interviews with the world's foremost leaders, where you ask the questions. The top-rated questions will be asked in exclusive interviews."
From Ndesanjo Macha's blog post for Global Voices Online, "Rwanda: Ask Rwandan President Questions on YouTube"

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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