Berkman Buzz: April 9, 2015

April 9, 2015

The Berkman Buzz is a weekly collection of work, conversations, and news from around the Berkman community.
Only one week left to apply for a spot in Advanced Copyright Practice, a new HLS Executive Education course taught by Berkman co-director William Fisher. Learn more
"Technology, Surveillance & the Contemporary Self" featuring Professors Peter L. Galison and Jonathan Zittrain at The American Academy of Arts & Sciences on April 16th. RSVP by Monday, April 13th

Digitally Connected: Global Perspectives on Youth and Digital Media

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The Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Youth and Media are excited to announce the release of the new ebook "Digitally Connected: Global Perspectives on Youth and Digital Media," a first-of-its kind collection of essays that offers reflections from diverse perspectives on youth experiences with digital media and with focus on the Global South. It creatively combines adult voices with written and visual contributions by young people from around the world.

The ebook is an output of Digitally Connected, an initiative incubated by the Berkman Center in collaboration with UNICEF that brings together a network of people from around the world who, together, are addressing the challenges and opportunities children and youth encounter in the digital environment.

Download the free book | Learn more about Digitally Connected

Zeynep Tufecki explains Turkey's Twitter block strategy


This is what Erdogan is now doing to social media: portray it as a place from which only ugly things come, and which poses a danger to family and to unity. Given that Turkey has a civil war that has erupted on its border with Syria, and is housing millions of distraught refugees, it is not hard to understand why people fear anything that they see as fomenting "disunity."

Erdogan is not trying to block social media as much as taint it.

From her post on Medium, "Everyone Is Getting Turkey's Twitter Block Wrong"
About Zeynep | @zeynep

Sam Gustin reports on the tech industry's response to "religious freedom" laws


The fierce backlash against Indiana's new law underscores how national attitudes are rapidly changing on the issue of gay rights, and highlights how important LGBT equality has become for some of the country's most influential tech companies.

In recent days, top executives at Apple, Salesforce, Yelp, EMC, and many other tech firms have voiced their strong opposition to Indiana's new law, and others like it that are proliferating around the country. It's a matter of business, they say, but also human rights and equality.

From his Vice article, "Silicon Valley's Attack on Anti-Gay Laws Is a Watershed Moment for Tech Activism"
About Sam | @samgustin

Susan Crawford suggests a different reason for Hillary's private email server


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is nothing if not earnest. From her high school time as a Goldwater Girl - "right down to my cowgirl outfit and straw cowboy hat emblazoned with the slogan 'AuH20'" - through her famously hard-working tenure as a cabinet official who traveled nearly a million miles and visited 112 countries during her long and exhausting stint in office, she has always Done Her Best. So why wouldn't Secy. Clinton have followed State Department policy warning against routine use of personal email accounts for government work?

Here's a possible reason: She wanted to be able to remember what she had done.

From her Medium post, "An Alternative Explanation for Hillary's Private Email Server"
About Susan | @scrawford

Kate Darling makes a case against Google's new patent


In one example from the patent, the robot goes so far as to assemble an entire personality on request. "Be mom" could prompt it to search your phone and computer for information about "mom," determining her voice from recordings and displaying her photograph. Way to make cool technology sound creepy, Google. And it gets even better: At a symposium last Thursday, Sebastian Thrun, founder of the Google X laboratory, speculated "perhaps we can get to the point where we can outsource our own personal experiences entirely into a computer - and possibly our own personality."

From her article in IEEE Spectrum, "Why Google's Robot Personality Patent Is Not Good for Robotics"
About Kate | @grok_

Ellery Roberts Biddle considers the "opening" of Cuba


Laying aside the fact that the new legal terms remain largely unresolved, it is curious that so many people see this as an "opening." As a person who has spent long periods of time studying culture and technology in Cuba, I can't accept the idea that the country was ever "closed" in the way that so many US media outlets seem to imagine.

From her story on Quartz, "Cuba isn't "open" just because the US says it is"
About Ellery | @ellerybiddle

Who the Hell Keeps Leaking Kremlin Correspondence?


In Russia, the data-leaking group Anonymous International struck again on Tuesday, March 31, releasing an online archive of around 40,000 text messages that the group claims belong to Timur Prokopenko, an influential Kremlin official...

Anonymous International emerged at the end of 2013, when it published the full text of Vladimir Putin's New Year’s national address a few hours before the speech was broadcast on television. Ever since, the group has busied itself with exposing the inner workings of certain political forces in Russia.

From Global Voices | @globalvoices

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April 9, 2015