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Berkman Buzz: June 8, 2012

June 08, 2012

The Berkman Buzz is selected weekly from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects.
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Herdict explains Google's new policies on "state-sponsored intrusion"

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Google has announced, via their security blog, that they will now alert Gmail users if the company believes that a state-sanctioned cyber attack is being directed against them. Google explains that they believe it is their duty “to be proactive in notifying users about attacks or potential attacks so that they can take action to protect their information.” When suspicious activity arises, Google will notify users with a pink band at the top of the Gmail window that states: “We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer. Protect yourself now.”

From Cale Guthrie Weissman's blog post on Herdict, "Google shifts policy toward state-sponsored intrusion"
About Herdict | @herdict

The CMLP reviews the Sixth Circuit's thedirty.com decision

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Let's start with the following premise: thedirty.com is a tasteless website. In addition to a bit of celebrity gossip and paparazzi-type pictures, the site also invites anyone to post pictures – often revealing, embarrassing, or insulting – of others for comment by users and, sometimes, the site's proprietor.

The site has been sued a number of times for postings making scurrilous allegations. One of these lawsuits was brought by Sarah Jones, a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and high school teacher, who sued over postings (now removed) on thedirty.com which accused her of having a sexual disease and claimed that she "has slept with every ... Cincinnati Bengal football player....

In response to the lawsuit, the site invoked section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230, which provides that operators of "interactive computer services," including web sites, cannot be held liable for material contributed (posted) by someone other than the site operator.

From Eric P. Robinson's blog post for the Citizen Media Law Project, "Sixth Circuit's 'Dirty' Decision Sends a Chill"
About the Citizen Media Law Project | @citmedialaw

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Harvard Baseball 2012 Call Me Maybe Cover: http://youtu.be/eEWVwgDnuzE via @youtube
John Palfrey (@jpalfrey)

Urs Gasser writes about his new book Interop, co-authored with John Palfrey

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I care deeply about this book, and even more so than about previous things I have written. I believe that the questions addressed in Interop are fundamental in nature as we are trying to build a better world. At its core, the book tells the story of an increasingly interconnected digital society and explores how much interconnectivity we need among systems and their components to solve the biggest challenges we face in today’s society – from the health care crisis to global warming. Importantly, we do not argue in favor of unlimited interoperability. While we have evidence that interop is generally a sound public policy goal as it usually drives innovation (with important caveats) and economic growth, makes systems more efficient, and increases user autonomy, we acknowledge important downsides and costs of interconnectedness. The book is an attempt to build a theory of interoperability, by weaving together a rich set of case studies, that provides initial insight in how we can design optimum levels of interconnectedness. And indeed, the question of appropriate speed-bumps and “digital breakwaters” is among the most pressing and difficult issues we need to address.

From Urs Gasser's blog post, "Interop"
About Urs Gasser | @ugasser

Panagiotis Metaxas wonders whether to trust anonymous Twitter users

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Is it possible for anonymous individuals to become influential and gain the trust of a community? Here, we discuss the case of a community of citizen reporters that use Twitter to communicate, located in a Mexican city plagued by the drug cartels fighting for control of territory.

Our analysis shows that the most influential individuals inside the community were anonymous accounts. Neither the Mexican authorities, nor the drug cartels were happy about the real-time citizen reporting of crime or anti-crime operations in an open social network such as Twitter, and we discovered external pressures to this community and its influential players to change their reporting behavior.

From Panagiotis Metaxas's blog post, "Trusting Anonymous Twitter Users"
About Panagiotis Metaxas | @takis_metaxas

Dan Gillmor reflects on Ray Bradbury

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In my early teens, I read Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, a novel that combines fantasy and horror as two 13-year-old boys and one of their fathers confront evil, and prevail over it. I remember devouring the book in one sitting. It terrified and inspired me in equal measures. It changed me.

Bradbury, who has died at age 91, inspired and changed many people. There are few 20th-century authors whose work will be meaningful a century from now, but he will be among them.

From Dan Gillmor's post for The Guardian, "Ray Bradbury and the fever of inspiration"
About Dan Gillmor | @dangillmor

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3 million pages and counting: Bhutan's textual heritage preserved in digital archive http://bit.ly/L8WrQ6
Digital Public Library of America (@digpublib)

Pakistan: Suspected Honor Killing of Five Girls for Celebrating with Boys

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According to reports, a jirga (assembly of tribal elders) in Kohistan district, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, has ordered the killing of five girls on the allegation of dancing and listening to music with boys during a marriage ceremony in their locality. Afzal Khan, the brother of one the accused dancing boys, has claimed that the girls are already dead.

From Kumail Ahmed's blog post for Global Voices, "Pakistan: Suspected Honor Killing of Five Girls for Celebrating with Boys"
About Global Voices Online | @globalvoices

This Buzz was compiled by Rebekah Heacock.

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Last updated June 08, 2012

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