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.
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.)
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.
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
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.
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.
from Mashable! by Lauren Indvik
from Mashable! by Vadim Lavrusik
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.
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.
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
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.