Berkman Buzz: January 26, 2015

January 26, 2015

The Berkman Buzz is a weekly collection of work and conversations from around the Berkman community.
The Berkman Center is now accepting applications for our 2015 summer internship program. Learn more!

The Network of Centers releases new report on multistakeholder governance

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This project explores existing multistakeholder governance groups with the goal of informing the future evolution of the Internet governance ecosystem. The research effort represents a globally coordinated, independent academic research pilot project by the Network of Interdisciplinary Internet & Society Research Centers (NoC) consisting of twelve case studies and a synthesis paper. The case studies examine a geographically and topically diverse set of local, national, and international governance models, components, and mechanisms from within and outside of the sphere of Internet governance. Key findings from these cases are summarized in a synthesis paper, which aims to deepen our understanding of the formation, operation, and critical success factors of governance groups and even challenge conventional thinking.

From the report, "Multistakeholder as Governance Groups: Observations from Case Studies"
About the Network of Centers | @Network_Centers

Rob Faris outlines the municipal broadband landscape

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No one disputes the importance of affordable access to high-speed internet for economic growth in the 21st century.

The United States has seen consistent and rapid growth in its broadband infrastructure since the internet became popular in the 1990s, offering more households and businesses connectivity at faster speeds. However, rather than leading the world, the United States is drifting towards mediocrity. Compared to the global leaders, consumers in the US pay higher prices, average connectivity speeds are in the middle of the pack and household penetration rates are far from the top.

From his essay on The Conversation, "Municipal broadband offers hope for lagging US internet"
About Rob

Rey Junco explores the link between Facebook use and academic performance

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In the current study, I surveyed over 1,600 college students and examined the time they spent on Facebook by splitting that time into two categories: 1) Time spent multitasking (i.e., task switching) with Facebook while studying and 2) "Regular" time spent on Facebook. Based on previous research, my hypothesis was that multitasking would drive the negative relationships seen between Facebook use and grades but that "regular" Facebook use would not. I also examined students at different class ranks (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors) to see if there were any differences that might be attributed to academic maturation.

From his blog post, "New Paper: Student class standing, Facebook use, and academic performance"
About Rey | @reyjunco

Ethan Zuckerman analyzes media coverage of Charlie Hebdo and the Baga massacre


Consider two tragic events that took place last week.

A small cell of Islamic terrorists attacked cartoonists at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and shoppers in a Paris supermarket, killing 17 people and sparking international outcry, solidarity and support.

The hashtag #JeSuisCharlie trended globally, and world leaders took to the streets to march in support of Parisian resilience.

In northern Nigeria, meanwhile, an army of Islamic extremists razed the village of Baga, killing as many as 2,000 people - mostly women and children who were unable to flee the attacks.

Later in the week, the same army - Boko Haram - introduced a horrific new weapon of war in the nearby city of Maiduguri. They strapped explosives to the body of a ten year old girl and sent her into the city's main poultry market. The girl was stopped by guards and a metal detector at the market's entrance, but the bomb detonated and killed at least 19.

There has been no global hashtag campaign or march for the victims of these most recent Boko Haram massacres.

From his piece on The Conversation, "Media coverage of Charlie Hebdo and the Baga massacre: a study in contrasts"
About Ethan | @ethanz

Leora Kornfeld charts the rise of the native podcast


I love that so many podcasts defy categorization. They aren't exactly journalism or even entertainment in the way broadcasting has long defined entertainmen...with genres and formats, timed and packaged and built around segments that move briskly from one shiny object (or audio equivalent) to the next. And what's more, the people tend to talk like, well, real people, and what would have once been considered bungles or outtakes are just left in...the coughs, the mistakes, the mispronunciations. It's about the content, not the slickness of the production, or the dulcet tones or ego of the announcer, and in this way it has opened up an entirely new universe of possibilities.

But why is podcasting breaking through now?

From her post "2015: The year podcasts took over the podcast charts"
About Leora | @LK617

Bruce Schneier argues against saving everything

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One of the social trends of the computerization of our business and social communications tools is the loss of the ephemeral. Things we used to say in person or on the phone we now say in e-mail, by text message, or on social networking platforms. Memos we used to read and then throw away now remain in our digital archives. Big data initiatives mean that we're saving everything we can about our customers on the remote chance that it might be useful later.

Everything is now digital, and storage is cheap—why not save it all?

From his Ars Technica piece, " The importance of deleting old stuff—another lesson from the Sony attack"
About Bruce | @schneierblog

Susan Crawford weighs in on Obama's community fiber announcement

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I want you to remember President Obama as he appeared Wednesday in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was loose, lanky, delighted; he was on his game. This was his FDR moment.

When FDR came into office 90 percent of farmers didn't have electricity, even though kids in New York City were playing with electric toys. The private electrical utilities had the market sewn up and they had no particular reason to expand service or charge reasonable prices. Remember that great photograph of FDR with his cigarette tipped upwards in a long holder? He took on those special interests, and that same confidence came shining through President Obama today.

From her piece,"Barack Obama: The FDR of Internet Access"
About Susan | @scrawford

Primavera De Filippi examines the potential of wireless community networks

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In this paper, we focus on an ongoing-though too often neglected-phenomenon of decentralization in telecommunications networks: we show how the current revival of grassroots community networks can counterbalance the erosion of autonomy of Internet users that results from current telecom policies. As opposed to more larger and centralized network infrastructures owned and managed by powerful third parties (such as the state or large, highly capitalized Internet Service Providers (ISPs)), grassroots community networks are deployed by the community and for the community at the local or regional level. Rather than being driven by profits, they focus on the actual needs of the needs of its participants. They also experiment with novel models of distributed governance relying on cooperation and sharing among a community of peers (from a dozen to tens of thousands participants), and that are reminiscent of commons-based peer production schemes (Benkler 2006).

From her paper, "Expanding the Internet Commons: the Subversive Potential of Wireless Community Networks"
About Primavera

Yemen's Uncertainty

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Yemen, often described as a “failed state“ or “on the brink” has become a country without a President and a government. Not only are observers, but also Yemenis living inside the country perplexed by the latest dramatic developments unfolding in Yemen which resulted in the swift takeover of the capital Sanaa, by the Houthi militia, and subsequently the state media, the Presidential Palace and residence, the Prime Minister's residence, blockading government buildings and taking over a military installation, ultimately resulting in the resignation of the Prime Minister, Cabinet and President on Thursday, January 20th.

From Noon Arabia's Global Voices article, "Yemen's Uncertainty"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

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Last updated

January 26, 2015