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Berkman Buzz: July 20, 2012

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.

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We are delighted to announce a Call for Papers for The Kinder & Braver World Project: Research Series (danah boyd and John Palfrey, editors) presented by the Berkman Center and the Born This Way Foundation, and supported by the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The deadline is July 25.

The Berkman Center is hiring! We are now accepting applications for a number of technically-inclined leadership positions.

Urs Gasser and Matthew Becker explore the interoperability of bar codes

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The second case studies in our interop series looks into Bar Code interoperability, a great case that highlights the aspects inter-industry cooperation as well as collective action problems. The case was researched by incoming Berkman student fellow Matthew B. Becker. He submitted the following blog post as an introduction to the case:

When approaching the subject of interoperability, bar codes were an immediate interest of mine. Practically ubiquitous today, bar codes can be found on nearly every package, and are increasingly common in many other applications beyond retail. It is precisely this prevalence that made me wonder how such a technology came to be implemented so widely.


From Urs Gasser's blog post on Law and Information, "Interop Case Study #2: Bar Code Interoperability"
About Urs Gasser | @ugasser

Urs Gasser introduces Paul Kominers' smart grid case study in an interop series

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As previously noted, “Interop” is part of a series of experiments regarding the format of a book. In the case of Interop, we publish it along with a set of case studies that have served as the raw data for the analysis and theory we present in the book version. As our early case studies on digital music, digital identity systems, and mash ups, all the materials are freely available online, via SSRN. Over the next few weeks, we will introduce some of the more recent case studies, several of them authored by wonderful research assistants on our Interop research team. Today – in time with the very high temperatures outside and the increased energy consumption – we would like to introduce the case study on the “smart grid” written by Paul Kominers. Paul submitted the following abstract to introduce the case he researched with us:”

Imagine a mountain climber without a map. Rather than going downwards to return to town as might be sensible, he wants to find the highest point in the entire mountain range. But due to a blizzard, he cannot see very far; he can only tell whether a certain direction takes him higher or lower, and he has to stop every fifty yards or so to reevaluate and pick a new direction.


From Urs Gasser's blog post, "Interop Case Study #1 Fitness Case Study and the Electric Grid"
About Urs Gasser | @ugasser

Peter Suber discusses the UK's open access efforts

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There were three separate, significant announcements today from the UK. All three make major moves toward assuring open access to publicly-funded research. But they differ in important respects. We shouldn't overlook the differences or think there was just one large announcement. Here's a quick overview:

(1) The Research Councils UK (RCUK) strengthened its long-standing OA policy. My blog post includes a short list of the major points on which the new RCUK policy differs from the Finch recommendations. (2) David Willetts, the UK Science Minister, accepted the OA recommendations in the Finch report. In a comment, my blog post pulls together my previous criticisms of the Finch report. (3) The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) announced plans to mandate OA for research submitted to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) after 2014.


From Peter Suber's blog post, "Sorting out three big open-access announcements from the UK today"
About Peter Suber | About Harvard Open Access | @petersuber

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Google May Have To Start Censoring Search Results In France: ...
Opennet (@ONInews)


Dan Gillmor contemplates Marissa Mayer's next steps at Yahoo

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On paper, or maybe that should be in pixels, Marissa Mayer is a brilliant choice to run Yahoo. No one disputes her talent or drive; even if some colleagues anonymously call her personal style prickly, that would not be an issue if we were talking about a male chief executive.

No, the big question is about Yahoo itself. Has the downward trajectory of the past several years become an unrecoverable tailspin? If so, nothing she or anyone else can do will matter much in the end.


From Dan Gillmor's post, "What Marissa Mayer has to work with at Yahoo"
About Dan Gillmor

ISPs halt implementation efforts for Copyright Alert System

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The nation's largest Internet service providers, in an unprecedented partnership with titans of the entertainment industry, have agreed to implement a uniform policy aimed at deterring online copyright infringement known as the Copyright Alert System. An agreement that sets forth extensive details about the program was finalized more than one year ago, but it has yet to take effect. Coverage of the scheme by Time and CNN has drawn attention back to the program in recent weeks. So, where exactly does the Copyright Alert System stand?

For those of you unfamiliar with the CAS, it is a graduated response approach to copyright enforcement created in an agreement between five major ISPs and representatives from the entertainment industry. Often referred to as the "six strikes" plan (for the number of warnings subscribers may receive), the program will result in a series of alerts that increase in seriousness if an Internet user's account is flagged by a content owner as one associated with the unauthorized sharing or downloading of copyrighted material via a peer-to-peer network.


From Natalie Nicol's post, "Coming Soon? Graduated Response Measures by Internet Service Providers"
About Natalie Nicol | @natnicol

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check out this awesome @Flickr set on @TechGirls discussion w/@berkmancenter youth & media crew #GeekIsChic
Suzanne Phillion (@SuzKP)


YouTube implements a facial blurring tool to protect identity of content providers

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Yesterday, YouTube announced a new tool within their upload editor that enables people to blur the faces within the video, and then publish a version with blurred faces. WITNESS has advocated for YouTube and other platforms to take this step for a number of years in blogs, public presentations, reports and private advocacy and applauds YouTube for leading the way in including this functionality.

We'll be reviewing the tool in the coming days, and explaining how to use it well to protect vulnerable people in your videos. In this post I'll discuss the human rights perspective on why tools like this are important for commercial platforms to adopt.



From Witness's post, "YouTube's New Face Blur Tool and What It Means for Activists Globally" for Global Voices
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices
About Witness | @witness org

This Buzz was compiled by Royze Adolfo.

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