Berkman Buzz: April 25, 2014

April 25, 2014

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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danah boyd jumps back into blogging


A few weeks ago, the good folks at Medium came to me with an interesting proposal. They asked if I’d be willing to be a regular contributor to a collection they were putting together. Rather than simply offering me a platform with a large audience, they offered me something else: a small community to blog with. To my delight, that community included all sorts of old friends as well as folks who I don’t know but respect. Members of the group who are much funnier than I am concluded that the collection should be labeled: “The Message: A Pandaemonium Revolver Collection.”

From danah boyd's blog post, "Rekindling my blogging practice: Why I’m part of 'The Message' on Medium"
About danah | @zephoria

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Google Hangout on #NetNeutrality Mon 4/28 @ noon EDT, feat @levjoy, @jamilahking, the great @erinmckeown, and others
Cyberlaw Clinic (@cyberlawclinic)

Dan Gillmor explains how best to advocate for net neutrality


This is a potentially tragic turning point in American politics and policy. We are on the verge of turning over the internet – the most important communications system ever invented– to telecoms that grew huge through the government granting them monopoly status. Barring a genuine shift in policy or a court stepping in to ensure fair treatment of captive customers – or better yet, genuine competition – companies like Verizon and Comcast will have staggering power to decide what bits of information reach your devices and mine, in what order and at what speed. That is, assuming we're permitted to get that information at all.

From Dan Gillmor's post for The Guardian, "The FCC is about to axe-murder net neutrality. Don't get mad – get even"
About Dan | @dangillmor

Willow Brugh discusses mutual aid and the crowd

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If data must be collected on a group of people, either ambiently through things like the Firehose or directly provided, the output should be useful to those people. This is the difference that makes ethical digital response seeking the integration of multiple datasets to have better situational awareness, and what the NSA does. For instance, if you’re collecting information on homeless shelters and the movements of homeless individuals, the information should be able to be used by those folk to self-organize. Else we’re just recreating the systems we’ve been trying to get away from. We’re even making them more robust with new technologies, the biases hidden away in algorithms.

From Willow Brugh's blog post, "Mutual Aid and the Crowd"
About Willow | @willowbl00

Ethan Zuckerman explores the link between water monitoring and citizenship in China

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This January, a few hundred employees of Alibaba, the massive online retailer and digital payments company, participated in an interesting experiment. Like many Chinese, they traveled home to celebrate the Lunar New Year. While at home, they used inexpensive water testing kits to sample water in their villages and uploaded their findings via smartphone to an environmental mapping website, Danger Maps. Employees measured water quality in 420 locations across 28 provinces, testing open bodies of water as well as sources of drinking water.

The experiment was a trial run for a much more ambitious rollout, announced this week. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s billionaire founder, announced that water testing kits would be sold through Taobao for between 65-80 yuan ($10-13) and invited the public to join his employees in becoming water quality monitors. Yang Fangyi, one of the managers of the Alibaba Foundation, explained that by mapping areas of poor water quality, the Foundation can work with local environmental authorities and NGOs to work on cleanup plans.

From Ethan Zuckerman's blog post, "Water monitoring in China, and the changing role of citizenship"
About Ethan | @ethanz

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hey #railsconf, my presentation on "Humor In The Code" is up on @SlideShare along with links + videos —Baratunde Thurston (@baratunde)

How Technology and Citizen Media Shaped Taiwan's Sunflower Movement

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Throughout the three-week occupation of Taiwan's legislative building by protesters angry over a secretly negotiated trade deal with China, citizen media played an important role in keeping the public informed.

Members of the Sunflower Movement set up a number of websites dedicated to the protest and the Cross-Strait Service and Trade Agreement (CSSTA), whose passage by the legislature in mid-March without a clause-by-clause review sparked the occupation. Some worried the trade agreement would make democratic Taiwan vulnerable to political pressure from the communist mainland.

From I-fan Lin's post for Global Voices, "How Technology and Citizen Media Shaped Taiwan's Sunflower Movement"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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Last updated

April 25, 2014