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More on Internet intellectuals and the Haystack affair

from Net Effect by Evgeny Morozov

So the Haystack Affair (is there a Wikipedia page named after this already?) continues generating food for thought for those of us working at the intersection of free expression, Internet censorship, and media development.

How US sanctions made Haystack

from Net Effect by Evgeny Morozov

There seems to be no end to the Haystack Affair. Who knew that this whole “Internet freedom” business was so ugly? Perhaps, it comes with the location: there must be a reason why Washington beats any other city in the world in terms of how many/how often its residents search for that very term on Google.

I’m glad that The Economist picked it up, along with many others. I’m still waiting for The Guardian to do something about their akward award to Austin Heap. (That award is deeply symbolic of what happens to good editorial judgement when newspapers are forced to run conferences and make money on things that their marketing departments don’t know how to vet.)

Haystack is burning: Iran activists disable privacy app after security holes exposed

from Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin

Remember Haystack, the privacy app designed to help Iranian dissidents speak freely without fear? Even before it was released, a string of breathless coverage in newspapers, magazines, television networks, radio programs, and blogs and blogs and more blogs touted it as a tool for technoliberation, during a news cycle in which reporters were eager to tell a story about the internet enabling a righteous revolution in Tehran.

Were Haystack’s Iranian testers at risk?

from Net Effect by Evgeny Morozov

First I was thinking of offering my readers an apology for overloading this blog with Haystack-related observations. Then I changed my mind and decided that I should make no such apologies whatsoever: Haystack is the Internet’s equivalent of the Bay of Pigs Invasion. It is the epitome of everything that is wrong with Washington’s push to promote Internet Freedom without thinking through the consequences and risks involved;  thus, the more we learn about the Haystack Affair while it’s still fresh in everyone’s memory, the better. (On that note, all readers of my blog should check this excellent new essay by my good friend Sami ben Gharbia, who discusses what the Internet Freedom Crusade means for digital activists in the Middle East ? I’m still digesting many of the good points he makes).

Jean-Luc Godard donates ?1K for accused MP3 downloader’s defense: “There is no such thing as intellectual property”

from Boing Boing by Xeni Jardin

Evaluating censorship circumvention tools and ?irresponsibility?

from …My heart’s in Accra by Ethan

In a recent blog post, my friend and colleague Evgeny Morozov questions the responsibilities of academics who study internet censorship circumvention tools. As one of the academics Morozov mentions by name, I felt compelled to address his concerns. I should make clear that my response is on my own behalf, not on behalf of any of my colleagues at Berkman or elsewere.

Evgeny?s concern in his recent post appears to be that I haven?t publicly critiqued Haystack, a proposed censorship circumvention tool that?s received a great deal of laudatory press coverage. That?s true. Neither have I said anything positive about the tool on my blog or in the press.

The Pioneer Age of Internet Video (2005-2009)

from Savage Minds: Notes and Queries in Anthropology ? A Group Blog by Adam Fish

There is a touch-screen internet networked television mounted on a wall in a middle class living room. You turn it on with a touch and rows of applications organized as colorful little boxes are revealed. You are familiar with the choices because they are the same as what is displayed on your mobile phone. In this apparent cornucopia of choices are hundreds of apps to click to watch CBS dramas, New York Times video segments, CNET interview programs, Mashable tweetfeeds, and CNN live broadcasts. Or you can rent a movie from Apple?s iTV, Google TV, Amazon, or YouTube Rentals suggested to you based on your shopping preferences as gathered from your GPS ambulations. You want to show your friend a funny video that was recommended to you earlier in the day so you click on the YouTube Partners app and it appears on the screen.

Americans Consuming More News, Thanks to the Internet [STATS]

from Mashable! by Lauren Indvik

Pew Research Center: Online news is rising

from Editors Weblog – all postings by Stefanie Chernow


It is no surprise that there is a divide in opinions between whether the digital age is good for newspapers. Many in the media industry believe that technology is the way of the future for newspapers, yet it is frustrating that newspapers are in limbo between declining print circulation and online consumption not quite full-fledged. In Pew Research Center’s biennial report on news trends that was released yesterday, the survey reveals how new technologies are slowly moving towards improving news consumption. Newspapers might not be in competition with the online revolution, but previously separate news mediums might prove to rival newspapers in the future.

The Future of Social Media in Journalism

from Mashable! by Vadim Lavrusik

Breaking News Security Alert ? Stop Using Haystack Software Now

from Updates by gwen

The Censorship Research Center announced on its blog today that it has halted testing of the Haystack anti-censorship software in Iran pending a security review by a third party. Based on this announcement, we recommend that users stop using all versions of the Haystack software immediately.

Favorite myth-making news articles?

from apophenia by zephoria

The book that I?m writing is focused on myths that we have about teens and social media. I?m trying to find some good quotes from news media that perpetuate these myths and I?m hoping that you might be able to help. The more salacious and outraged, the better.  I?m looking for articles in mainstream venues that talk about all of the reasons in which social media is bad, bad, bad.  What are your favorite news articles that reinforce these widespread beliefs?

  • Myth #1: The digital is separate from the ?real? world.

Patriotism and Twitter Säuberung: Keeping the Wrong Words Out of View

from OPEN ANTHROPOLOGY by Maximilian Forte

Some Background for Those Not Familiar with Twitter

It?s not a few times that Twitter has been accused of engaging in censorship-like practices, or in caving in to governmental and political interests. In the narrow range of subjects which I follow via Twitter, we saw incidences of this concerning the so-called Twitter Revolution in Iran, when Twitter readily agreed to State Department demands that it postpone maintenance that might have supposedly interrupted the flow of messages that allegedly were coming from within Iran. We also saw this with the deluge of tweets earlier this summer concerning the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, when it was abundantly clear to those posting related messages that no matter how many more tweets the subject was getting per minute, compared to Twitter?s other listed ?trending topics,? that it was nearly impossible to get #FreedomFlotilla to trend.

Russian cops use excuse of pirated Microsoft products to raid dissidents, newspapers, and environmentalist groups

from Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

Russian police use the pretense of enforcing Microsoft’s copyrights as an excuse to raid the offices of human rights, environmental and dissident NGOs, and Microsoft has not intervened to stop it, even when the groups are using legitimate, licensed copies of Microsoft software. Police often claim to have discovered pirated software on seized computers even before examining them, and claim that the investigations come at Microsoft’s requests. Microsoft lawyers have cooperated with raids on opposition newspapers, whose editors say that the raids would not have taken place without Microsoft’s complicity. During raids, police have been spotted removing Microsoft “Certificate of Authenticity” stickers on confiscated PCs. Microsoft’s lawyers testified in support of police claims that pirated software was found on PCs, even though the court later found that the PCs were never examined.

Immersive Journalism: graphic but effective

from Editors Weblog – all postings by Stefanie Chernow


Newspapers have always strived to get their readers to react to their content. A mark of successful reporting is not only the supply of information, but if a story can capture the attention and possibly outrage of the public. Most people are mainly concerned with the ongoings of their own daily lives, which explains why hyperlocal news sites have been so successful. Yet with international reporting, it can be difficult for readers to relate to situations abroad. Foreign correspondents are being phased out due to budget cuts, which is seriously impeding international reporting during a time when globalized events are becoming crucial in society. Thus a new project called Immersive Journalism, founded by Nonny de la Peña from USC Annenberg School for Communication and Peggy Weil, may help readers grasp the gravity of situations outside of their immediate lives.

Social sharing takes a step further

from Editors Weblog – all postings by Stefanie Chernow
The internet has both facilitated and complicated connectivity. Newspapers have a greater access to their readers, yet the industry it still mastering the technique of how to attract online viewers. Search engines’ influence is rising, with Pew Research reporting that 33% of people use the technology to read the news. Some view these search engines as a necessary evil, where reporters felt pressured to write mainly to appease Google search engines rather than focus on quality. Yet the rising of social search engines may be the next rival, as more people are turning towards the social networking to get their news. “Now, even on the Internet, it is not what you know but who you know,” reports the New York Times.

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