Berkman Buzz: December 9, 2011

December 9, 2011

A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations

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

* The Internet & Democracy Project investigates DDoS attacks during recent elections in Russia
* Public Radio Exchange is launching a new Public Media Accelerator
* danah boyd explores the role of technology in human trafficking
* Jonathan Zittrain discusses the proposed SOPA compromise
* Ethan Zuckerman welcomes (sort of) Al-Shabaab to Twitter
* Weekly Global Voices: "Russia: Analyzing the Possible Scale of Saturday's Election Protests"

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The full buzz.

"Over the course of the weekend, a seemingly coordinated distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack flooded a number of the leading Russian independent media, election monitoring and blogging sites. Many users and content publishers, including the Global Voices RuNet project, have been reporting the attacks against sites including LiveJournal, Echo of Moscow, Novaya Gazeta, New Times, Bolshoi Gorod,,,,, and the online ‘map of violations’ created by the election monitoring group Golos (which has been the target since last week of a government campaign against ‘outside’ influence on the election (they are funded by US and European groups)."
From Hal Roberts and Bruce Etling's post for the Internet & Democracy Project, "Coordinated DDoS Attack During Russian Duma Elections"

"A new effort will provide funding and expertise to entrepreneurial teams with innovative ideas for increasing the impact of public service media. Called the Public Media Accelerator, the project will be launched and operated by PRX, and is supported by a $2.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation."
From Jake Shapiro's blog post for Public Radio Exchange, "Public Radio Exchange (PRX) to launch Public Media Accelerator with $2.5 million investment from Knight Foundation"

"Networked technologies – including the internet, mobile phones, and social media – alter how information flows and how people communicate. There is little doubt that technology is increasingly playing a role in the practices and processes surrounding human trafficking: the illegal trade of people for commercial sexual exploitation, forced labor, and other forms of modern-day slavery. Yet, little is known about costs and benefits of technology’s role."
From danah boyd's blog post, "What is the Role of Technology in Human Trafficking?"

"The proposal omits the elements of SOPA that had run into the most resistance. Gone is tinkering with fundamental Internet architecture such as the use of the domain name system. Gone is the involvement of the Attorney General. Gone is the criminal copyright streaming provision that could, theoretically, make a teenage Justin Bieber a felonfor streaming amateur videos featuring his renditions of songs by his favorite artists.In all these ways, the Wyden compromise is significantly better than SOPA. So what’s left?"
From Jonathan Zittrain's blog post, "A SOPA compromise is floated"

"That Al-Shabaab is using social media isn’t entirely surprising. They’ve developed a reputation for issuing well-written English language press releases, and had maintained a website, chat rooms and other web presences. (Many have been removed – it’s not clear to me whether they were removed by the decision of ISPs hosting them, or whether those companies came under government pressure.) And Al-Shabaab has shown a willingness to use multiple media platforms to spread their message. Omar Hammammi, aka Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, an American muslim who joined Al Shabaab in 2006, has an extensive collection of videos on YouTube, and has recently been releasing rap recordings, including 'Send Me A Cruise', a plea for martyrdom by cruise missile."
From Ethan Zuckerman's blog post, "Welcoming (?) Al-Shabaab to Twitter"

"As the situation with the Russian election results and the country's detained protesters has not yet been resolved, people in many cities are preparing for demonstrations on Saturday 10 December, 2011."
From Alexey Sidorenko's post for Global Voices, "Russia: Analyzing the Possible Scale of Saturday's Election Protests"

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Compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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 9, 2011