Berkman Buzz: May 23, 2014

May 23, 2014

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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Whitney Erin Boesel explains why Google Glass isn't the problem


Brace yourself for more Glassholes. Beginning last week, Google started to make available a limited supply of Google Glass to anyone with $1,500 to spare. To be certain, Glass still affords—or makes possible—a whole range of problematic behaviors. There are concerns about distracted driving; about people (probably men) taking photographs of other people (probably women) without consent; about Glassholes serving as foot soldiers in Google’s data-gobbling army, expanding the corporation’s ongoing assault on what we used to call privacy.

These are real issues but not new ones; rather, they are the newest manifestations of much larger long-standing problems. While Glass may make those problems more visible than they were before, hating Glass (or even Glassholes) won’t make the problems go away.

From Whitney Erin Boesel's piece for, "Google Glass Doesn’t Have a Privacy Problem. You Do."
About Whitney | @weboesel

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More handsome & interesting than expected MT @kg_ubu 5522 tweets sent w/in the same second from the world, in 4 books
Dan Cohen (@dancohen)

Hasit Shah reflects on digital news, devices, and design thinking in India


Indians love the news. Uniquely for any major nation in the world, their newspaper industry is growing and TV news ratings are up. And with half of the population—600 million people —under the age of 25, it is a market that will only continue to grow.

It is also perhaps the most uniquely difficult digital news market to reach in the world. More than a billion people in India aren’t connected to the Internet. Three hundred million don’t have electricity and a similar number can’t read. Half the population doesn’t even have a toilet at home.

I’ve spent the past year as a Nieman-Berkman Fellow in Journalism Innovation here at Harvard trying to reconcile this great opportunity in India with these staggering challenges.

From Hasit Shah's post on the Harvard Business School Digital Innovation & Transformation blog, "Digital News, Devices, and Design Thinking in India"
About Hasit | @hasitshah

Malavika Jayaram digs into the world's biggest biometrics identity program

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India's Unique Identity (UID) project is already the world’s largest biometrics identity program, and it is still growing. Almost 600 million people have been registered in the project database, which collects all ten fingerprints, iris scans of both eyes, a photograph, and demographic information for each registrant. Supporters of the project tout the UID, which is run by a government agency, as a societal game changer. The extensive biometric information collected, they argue, will establish the uniqueness of each individual, eliminate fraud, and provide the identity infrastructure needed to develop solutions for a range of problems. Detractors see these claims as hype, pointing out that despite the potential benefits, critical concerns remain about the UID’s legal and physical architecture as well as about unforeseen risks associated with the linking and analysis of personal data.

From Malavika Jayaram's piece for the Boston Review, "India's Big Brother Project"
About Malavika | @MalJayaram

Primavera De Filippi reviews the regulatory challenges for Bitcoin

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This article provides an overview of national policies and current discussions on the regulation of bitcoin in Europe and beyond. After presenting the potential threat that cryptocurrencies pose to governmental and financial institutions worldwide, it discusses the regulatory challenges and the difficulty for national regulators to come up with a sound regulatory framework, which the author believes explains the current (lack of) regulatory responses in this field. The article concludes that regulation is needed, but that in order not to excessively stifle innovation in this nascent ecosystem, some of these challenges might better be addressed through self-regulation.

From Primavera De Filippi's article in Internet Policy Review, "Bitcoin: a regulatory nightmare to a libertarian dream"
About Primavera

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if you're curious about what it is i do at @berkmancenter & @civicMIT, check it out: we just launched our new website http://mediacloud.orgWhitney Erin Boesel (@weboesel)

Ethan Zuckerman explores georemixing and the politics of Pharrell's "Happy"

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The georemix builds on the idea that the original “Happy” video is a love letter to Los Angeles, a portrait of the city’s architecture, landscapes, people, and spirit—and moves the party to a new location. More than a thousand georemixes of “Happy” exist, and they portray happy people on all six continents....

I think of the georemix as a claim to attention, a way of demanding part of the spotlight that shines on a popular video. It’s a very basic demand: accept that we’re part of this phenomenon, too.

From Ethan Zuckerman's piece in The Atlantic, "YouTube Parody as Politics: How The World Made Pharrell Cry"
About Ethan | @ethanz

The First Five Hours of Thailand’s 12th Coup

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Two days after declaring martial law and failing to mediate between rival political forces, the Royal Thai Army has launched a coup in Thailand, suspended the 2007 Constitution (except provisions on the monarchy), seized control of major media stations, and imposed a night time curfew. This is Thailand’s 12th coup; but more than 20 if we include the unsuccessful coup attempts in the past century.

From Mong Palatino's post for Global Voices, "The First Five Hours of Thailand’s 12th Coup"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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Last updated

May 23, 2014