News Digest: Coalition Unite To Make Open Access The Norm By 2022

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 is the launch of new recommendations issued with the aim of making open access to academic research literature the norm by 2022.

Coalition unite around goal to make Open Access the norm by 2022
A coalition of scientists, foundations, libraries, universities and advocates this week issued a detailed set of recommendations with the aim of making it the norm for access to scholarly research material to be free and available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection, in every field and every country, by 2022. The announcement comes ten years after the Budapest Open Access Initiative first defined Open Access, beginning a movement that has already significantly transformed the academic landscape.
Announcement | Recommendations | Coalition

UK: Government controlling exports of surveillance tools
Privacy International reports that further to questions they posed the UK government earlier in the year, they have received notification that a surveillance product originating in the UK and suspected to be used to target activists in Egypt, Turkmenistan, Bahrain, Dubai, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mongolia and Qatar is now the subject of export controls: “We welcome the government’s decision to start controlling exports of FinSpy, and it is certainly a step in the right direction. However, without swift further action to bring other unethical British companies under the export licensing regime, it’s just a sticking plaster on a bullet wound."

Latin America and the Caribbean news roundup
Global Voices Advocacy produce news roundup “The Netizen Report” each week covering developments in human rights and technology across the globe. Last week they published the first in a series of occasional regional updates from Latin America and the Caribbean, including news of developments in legislative moves towards an internet bill of rights in Brazil, and a grassroots campaign in Chile “with the goal of empowering citizens by giving them tools to enjoy, without fear, freedom of expression online."

Belarus: Journalists and cyber–dissidents hounded in run–up to election
Reporters Without Borders catalogues the harassment of opposition media taking place ahead of upcoming Parliamentary elections in Belarus. Targets include moderators of pro–opposition groups on the Russian social network VKontake. The authorities also succeeded in hacking two online discussion groups with a total of 52,000 members, obtaining the identities of administrators.

United States: New law supporting OER passed
The Creative Commons blog reports on a new law passed in California that will allow state community colleges to integrate open education resources (OER) into their core curricula, creating and enabling access to high quality course materials and textbooks.

Apple moves one step closer to location–based camera disabling
The PetaPixel blog reports on their discovery of a patent filed by Apple on technology to allow the remote disabling of camera functionality based on a mobile phone’s location: “If this type of technology became widely adopted and baked into cameras, photography could be prevented by simply setting a “geofence” around a particular location, whether it’s a movie theatre, celebrity hangout spot [or] protest site."

World Wide Web Foundation release first “web index”
The Worldwide Web Foundation has released its first “Web Index” report, a “multi–dimensional measure of the Web’s growth, utility and impact on people and nations.” Sweden tops the list of 61 countries surveyed. And, as First Post reports, India lags 13 places behind China. The methodology of the ranking looked at three parameters: “web readiness”, “web use” and “the impact of the web."
Web Index | First Post report

Call for Proposals: ICT for democracy and freedom of expression
The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) has issued a call for proposals inviting civil society groups to apply for funding for initiatives where information communications technology is being used to support democracy and freedom of expression. The deadline for submissions is 18 October 2012.

Understanding digital civics
Ethan Zuckerman publishes the transcript of a lecture he delivered last month, which examines the internet’s role in changing modes of civic engagement. In the course of the lecture he interrogates four “born digital” movements: Tea Party, Occupy, Anonymous and WikiLeaks.

Lies, damned lies, and open data
In this feature for Slate, David Eaves describes how the battleground for government transparency will shift from open government data towards the role of evidence in public policy–making.

Report: Threats to freedom of expression online in Vietnam
The Open Net Initiative has published a new report into online censorship in Vietnam. It outlines new legal restrictions on speech being proposed in the country, and reports on the results of recent in–country testing to document and analyze state–level filtering.

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