Berkman in the News
The Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC) and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University have released a new report on Multistakeholder Governance Groups, which informs the debate about Internet governance models and mechanisms.
It’s a policy that speaks to a 2009 statement by Dr David Weinberger of Harvard University’s Berkman Center that “transparency is the new objectivity”. The media can aspire to objectivity, but content will naturally contain biases. Transparency is more achievable than objectivity. It “gives the reader information by which she can undo some of the unintended effects of the ever-present biases”.
Media Cloud, a tool developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Center for Civic Media and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, measures comparative attention to topics and locations in different segments of the news media. A study we conducted in April 2014 suggests that media outlets publish three to ten times as many stories about France than Nigeria. This disparity is striking as Nigeria’s population (estimated at 173 million) is almost three times the size of France’s (66 million).
n response a loose coalition of Islamist hackers have defaced several French websites. Several hacking groups are claiming responsibility for “religiously motivated defacements,” Helmi Noman, a researcher with the Berkman Center at Harvard University and the Citizen Lab at University of Toronto told Mashable.One group, calling itself the United Islamic Cyber Force, taunted Anonymous in various defacement while calling on other Muslim hackers to join its “OpFrance” hacking campaign.
A loose coalition of Islamist hackers has defaced several French websites in response to “OpCharlieHebdo,” a cyber operation launched by Anonymous hackers late last week after the attacks that killed 12 people at the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
In the last few days, “tens” of hacking groups have started claiming responsibility “for religious motivated defacements,” according to Helmi Noman, a researcher with the Berkman Center at Harvard University and the Citizen Lab at University of Toronto. These defacements seem the latest development in an ongoing online spat between Islamist and pro-Western hacktivists.
. Shapiro got his start in public radio as an intern at The Connection, a show hosted by Christopher Lydon on WBUR. Shapiro moved to Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society in 2002, where his interest in public radio, the Internet, and entrepreneurialism grew.“It was sort of a nascent moment. I feel like it was the end of the dot-com first wave — this huge, churning commerce machine sort of collapsed and none of the new architecture had taken shape. There was no new investment going into startups.”
It’s also quaint to think that users would click through the multiple dialogue boxes necessary to mimic informed consent, said Jonathan L Zittrain, director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Would you? Instead, he said, there ought to be independent proxies who represent the users and can perform that checking function.”I worry about leaning too hard on choice,” he said, “when the real thing is just treat your users with dignity.”
Any time Google censors something, it notes it in a public log on its transparency report. Google also provides a link to chillingeffects.com, a Web site run by Harvard’s Berkman Center that records online content that has been censored.
The Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain summarised the findings thus: “Overall, users notified of their friends’ voting were 0.39% more likely to vote than those in the control group, and any resulting decisions to cast a ballot also appeared to ripple to the behaviour of close Facebook friends, even if those people hadn’t received the original message. That small increase in turnout rates amounted to a lot of new votes. The researchers concluded that their Facebook graphic directly mobilised 60,000 voters, and, thanks to the ripple effect, ultimately caused an additional 340,000 votes to be cast that day. As they point out, [in 2000] George W Bush won Florida, and thus the presidency, by 537 votes – fewer than 0.01% of the votes cast in that state.”
Doc Searls, founder of Project VRM at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, wrote in a study by Elon University: “We need to to understand the Internet as what it really is: a way to connect anyone and anything to anybody and anything else, with little if any regard for the means between the ends.”
Nobody owns protocols that control operations of the Internet, Searls said.
“Everybody can use them,” he said, “and anybody can improve them.”