The Information Program works to increase access to knowledge and protect civil liberties in the digital environment. The following is a roundup of news and analysis that the program team has been watching in the past week. This week’s top story concerns further delays to a crucial vote on Brazil’s internet “bill of rights”, the Marco Civil.
You can keep up to date on the latest stories to catch the Information Program team’s attention on our Pinboard page.
Brazil: Internet Bill of Rights vote postponed again
Voting on the “Marco Civil”, Brazil’s proposed internet bill of rights, has been delayed for the third time since June, Global Voices reports. The vote, which was scheduled to take place this week, will now happen after October’s municipal elections.
UK: Twitter raises privacy concerns with UK communication surveillance proposals
Out–Law.com reports that Twitter has outlined its concerns with proposed new surveillance laws to the UK government, saying the draft Communications Data Bill could place it in a “legally untenable position”: “Twitter said that it may inadvertently collect information of non–UK users of its service during the process of complying with the requirement [breaking] privacy, data protection and data retention laws that apply in other jurisdictions.”
Philippines: New Cybercrime Prevention Act troubling for free expression
The Electronic Frontier Foundation raises concerns about libel provisions, inserted into a new law in the Philippines without public debate, that extend criminal penalties for libel to the online sphere: “The United Nations Human Rights Council has determined that the criminal sanctions imposed on those accused of libel are incompatible with Article 19, paragraph 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).”
Czech Republic: Police ordered to shred part of DNA database
Prague Monitor reports that “The Czech Office for Personal Data Protection (UOOU) has ordered the shredding of some data from the National Crime database of DNA Profiles whose storage does not reflect the gravity of a crime."
More coverage of BOAI10
Last week’s announcement by the Budapest Open Access Initiative of new recommendations to make open access to scholarly research the norm by 2022 continues to receive coverage from newspapers and blogs.
Toronto Star | La Stampa (It) | Open and Shut? blog
35 reasons to worry about privacy in Africa
Steve Song tracks the growing trend for SIM card registration in Africa, which is already mandatory in 35 countries on the continent, raising concerns about data security and surveillance, as well as demanding evidence that the policy actually helps reduce crime.
Open Data and FOI Communities: signs of convergence
A long article on FreedomInfo.org that draws on interviews with activists and stakeholders from the Freedom of Information (FOI) and Open Data movements to detail and welcome the emergence of more cooperation between the two transparency communities.
Reflections on Google and the Innocence of Muslims video
The New York Times analyses Google’s decision to block access in Egypt and Libya to the “Innocence of Muslims” video inspiring violent protests across the Muslim world. “Google’s action raises fundamental questions about the control that internet companies have over online expression. Should the companies themselves decide what standards govern what is seen on the internet? How consistently should these policies be applied?”
ITU and threats to net neutrality: analysis
La Quadrature du Net summarize analysis and debate surrounding new proposals put forward by the telecommunications industry for discussion at this December’s controversial meeting of the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union (ITU). They warn that the proposals are a danger to the principle of net neutrality and could hurt freedom of communication, undermine privacy, hamper innovation and competition and decrease incentives to invest in internet infrastructure.
Audio: Terms of Service activism
In this extra edition of CBC’s Spark podcast, Nora Young talks to blogging entrepreneur Anil Dash about the regulatory ramifications of the shift major technology companies are making away from producing gadgets towards providing services, and why we should all become “terms of service activists.”