Berkman Buzz: May 16, 2014

May 16, 2014

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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Jonathan Zittrain reflects on the "right to forget"


The European Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday that Europeans have a limited “right to be forgotten” by search engines like Google. According to the ruling, an individual can compel Google to remove certain reputation-harming search results that are generated by Googling the individual’s name. The court is trying to address an important problem — namely, the Internet’s ability to preserve indefinitely all its information about you, no matter how unfortunate or misleading — but it has devised a poor solution.

From Jonathan Zittrain's op-ed for the New York Times, "Don’t Force Google to 'Forget'"
See also Jonathan's blog post, The ten things that define you
About Jonathan | @zittrain

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Anti-#NetNeutrality companies spent more than $80M lobbying against it, 3x what proponents spent @SunFoundation
David Weinberger (@dweinberger)

Zeynep Tufekci explores the "right to forget" in the context of genocide


It may seem like an extreme jump, from drunken adolescent photos to genocide and ethnic cleansing, but the shape, and filters, of a society’s memory is always more than just about individual embarrassment or advancement. What we know about people, and how easily we can identify or classify them, is consequential far beyond jobs and dates, and in some contexts may make the difference between life and death.

“Practical obscurity”—the legal term for information that was available, but not easily—has died in most rich countries within just about a decade. Court records and criminal histories, which were only accessible to the highly-motivated, are now there at the click of a mouse. Further, what is “less obscure” has greatly expanded: using our online data, algorithms can identify information about a person, such as sexual orientation and political affiliation, even if that person never disclosed them.

From Zeynep Tufekci's post on Medium, "The “Right to Forget” a Genocide: The EU ruling on Google and the importance of forgetting"
About Zeynep | @zeynep

Bruce Schneier discusses trust and Internet subversion

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In addition to turning the Internet into a worldwide surveillance platform, the NSA has surreptitiously weakened the products, protocols, and standards we all use to protect ourselves. By doing so, it has destroyed the trust that underlies the Internet. We need that trust back.

From Bruce Schneier's blog post, "Internet Subversion"
About Bruce | @schneierblog

Mako Hill explains why even if you don't use Gmail, Google has your email

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A few years ago, I was surprised to find out that my friend Peter Eckersley — a very privacy conscious person who is Technology Projects Director at the EFF — used Gmail. I asked him why he would willingly give Google copies of all his email. Peter pointed out that if all of your friends use Gmail, Google has your email anyway. Any time I email somebody who uses Gmail — and anytime they email me — Google has that email.

Since our conversation, I have often wondered just how much of my email Google really has. This weekend, I wrote a small program to go through all the email I have kept in my personal inbox since April 2004 (when Gmail was started) to find out.

From Benjamin Mako Hill's blog post, "Google has most of my email because it has all of yours"
About Mako | @makoshark

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"Two talks, no waiting" - videos posted of two recent talks I've given on Rewire and related issues - #blogselfieEthan Zuckerman (@EthanZ)

Countdown to the End of Twitter in Russia

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The deputy director of Russia’s chief censorship agency, Roscomnadzor, has threatened that the government could block Twitter or Facebook entirely, in a matter of minutes. Maxim Ksenzov told Izvestia newspaper that Twitter is a “global instrument for promoting political information,” implying that it serves American geopolitical interests that endanger Russia. Twitter currently has over 200 million users worldwide, with more than 1 million in Russia. Facebook has over 1.3 billion users today, with 21.4 million in Russia.

Hours after Ksenzov’s comments were published, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev lashed out, writing on Facebook that state officials “sometimes need to turn on their brains” instead of “announcing in interviews the shutdown of social networks.” Medvedev’s post attracted more than 5 thousand “likes.” Shortly thereafter, Roscomnadzor reversed a previous statement and clarified that Ksenzov’s comments reflect only his personal opinion, rather than the agency’s official position. Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitri Peskov, later told Izvestia that “persecuting mass media or social networks is unacceptable,” but reiterated the need for foreign websites to obey Russian laws.

From kevin Rothrock's post for Global Voices, "Countdown to the End of Twitter in Russia"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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Last updated

May 16, 2014