Berkman Buzz: March 4 2015

March 4, 2015

The Berkman Buzz is a weekly collection of work, conversations, and news from around the Berkman community.

Everyone Wants You To Have Security, But Not From Them

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by Bruce Schneier

In December Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt was interviewed at the CATO Institute Surveillance Conference. One of the things he said, after talking about some of the security measures his company has put in place post-Snowden, was: "If you have important information, the safest place to keep it is in Google. And I can assure you that the safest place to not keep it is anywhere else."

The surprised me, because Google collects all of your information to show you more targeted advertising. Surveillance is the business model of the Internet, and Google is one of the most successful companies at that. To claim that Google protects your privacy better than anyone else is to profoundly misunderstand why Google stores your data for free in the first place.

From Forbes | @schneierblog

More from Bruce this week:
Cyberweapons have no allegiance (Vice)
How to Mess With Surveillance (Slate)

Why I'm Saying Goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft

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by Dan Gillmor

I've moved to these alternative platforms because I've changed my mind about the politics of technology. I now believe it's essential to embed my instincts and values, to a greater and greater extent, in the technology I use.

Those values start with a basic notion: We are losing control over the tools that once promised equal opportunity in speech and innovation—and this has to stop.

Control is moving back to the center, where powerful companies and governments are creating choke points. They are using those choke points to destroy our privacy, limit our freedom of expression, and lock down culture and commerce. Too often, we give them our permission-trading liberty for convenience-but a lot of this is being done without our knowledge, much less permission.

From Backchannel | @dangillmor

More from Dan this week:
When Tech Companies Betray Consumers, Why Don't They Own Up to It? (Slate)

New Research on Games and Classroom Assessment Practices


by Justin Reich

Over recent years, advocates of games in classroom settings have argued that games have great features for assessing student learning. Games present students with a series of challenges, and they can be instrumented to capture richly detailed data about how students deal with those challenges and how successful they are. What if instead of having students take tests, we had them play games with "stealth assessments" embedded within them that captured similar data about student learning.

From Education Week | @bjfr

Following the Digital Breadcrumbs: How to distinguish online nutcases from honest-to-God villains.


by Josephine Wolff

When news of a mass shooting breaks, do you try to find the alleged perpetrator on Twitter? Perusing the social media accounts and online activity of murderers and terrorists has become one of the strangest and most immediate rituals of post-tragedy news analysis. In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, we read Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's tweets; following the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, we analyzed shooter James Holmes' online dating profiles; after Adam Lanza killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we learned about his online alter ego, "Kaynbred," and penchant for violent video games and editing Wikipedia articles about mass murderers. We latch on to these details because they are some of the most immediately available information in the aftermath of inexplicable tragedies about the people who perpetrated them and why they would do such things.

From | @josephinecwolff

What Happens After College


a new infographic from Alison Head

Project Information Literacy (PIL) released a new infographic this week from their large-scale lifelong learning research study. The infographic features preliminary findings about information-seeking practices for continued learning after college, based on survey responses from a sample of recent grads (n=1,651) from 10 US colleges and universities.

Based on key trends and preliminary findings from Alison Head's latest report for Project Information Literacy (PIL)

Fact Checking the Conflict in Eastern Ukraine

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by Aric Toler

Amid the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, an information war between Russia and Ukraine has raged online and in the media. Much of the information warfare revolves around framing the conflict itself and arguing about its origins and implications, both historical and geopolitical, but some of the mud-slinging is a little more down to earth.

According to Russian state-controlled media outlets, the Kremlin hasn't sent a single piece of military equipment to the rebels in eastern Ukraine. Moscow's narrative is that all vehicles and weapons controlled by separatists were seized from the Ukrainian military. On the other side of the conflict, Kyiv regularly states that an overwhelming number of the separatists' vehicles and weapons are provided by Russia, saying the Ukrainian military has lost relatively minimal supplies of equipment throughout the war.

From Global Voices | @globalvoices

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March 4, 2015