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, compiled by Wendy M. Grossman, a freelance writer specializing in science and technology. This week’s top story reports on the agreement by the Extraordinary General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization to negotiate a treaty on access for the visually impaired. You can keep up to date on the latest stories to catch the Information Program team’s attention on our Pinboard page.
WIPO meeting agrees to negotiate Treaty on Access for the Visually Impaired
Knowledge Ecology International and Intellectual Property Watch both report that the just–concluded Extraordinary General Assembly of the World Intellectual Property Organization agreed to "negotiate and adopt a treaty on limitations and exceptions for visually impaired persons/persons with print disabilities" at a diplomatic conference to be held in Marrakesh, Morocco, in late June 2013.
Knowledge Ecology International | Intellectual Property Watch
European Court of Human Rights rules against blanket internet site bans
The ECHR in Strasbourg has ruled in the case of Ahmet Yildirim v. Turkey that blocking access to an entire online platform (Google) was a violation of the right to freedom of expression. Yildrim, a PhD student, had his academically focused site blocked by the Turkish regulator in a ban aimed at another site. The Open Society Justice Initiative filed a third party brief supporting the applicant’s claim that outlined comparative standards and relevant international law.
UK: Government backs down on internet parental controls
The Open Rights Group reports success in its campaign against the Department of Education's plan to require Internet subscribers to opt out of parental filtering controls. The Department of Education dropped the plan after thousands of people sent in responses arguing against default filtering. The DoE will now provide help to parents wishing to install filters.
UK: Group of history journals balks at commercial and derivative reuse
Twenty–one history journals have signed a statement saying that while they will accept articles for publication under either green or gold open access, they will only do so under a CCBY NC ND license, which bars commercial and derivative reuse despite the government's proposal that gold access should be under a CCBY license (the most open type of license).
New group seeks to secure funding conduits for controversial journalism organizations
Multiple media report that Daniel Ellsberg, leaker of the Pentagon Papers, John Perry Barlow, co–founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF staffers, and a host of journalists and filmmakers including the actor John Cusack have set up the Freedom of the Press Foundation to broaden the financial base of "transparency journalism", and also to provide support for organizations that, like Wikileaks, have their funding disrupted by government pressure.
World Conference on International Telecommunications: the final analysis
In these three analyses, the Association for Progressive Communications, internet governance expert Kieren McCarthy, and the Internet Governance Project seek to make sense of the discussions at WCIT and its failure to reach consensus and establish principles for future discussions.
Association for Progressive Communications | McCarthy | Internet Governance Project
Risk safety, and security
In the 2013 edition of its annual report on the state of security, threats, arrests, and other types of attacks, digital security firm Sophos includes statistics on the safest and riskiest countries in terms of exposure to threats. The safest, in order, are Norway, Sweden, and Japan; the riskiest Indonesia, China, and Thailand.
The future according to the US National Intelligence Council
In this 140–page report the National Intelligence Council projects the future to 2030. Predictions include the lessening of U.S. global dominance, the rising power of small groups of individuals versus states, the need to cope with resource shortages, and the rise of technologically augmented humans.
Embodying principles: the internet protocols and the framework for human rights
In this paper, the Internet Society and the Association for Progressive Communications explore the fundamental intent behind both the design of the internet protocols and the human rights framework. The link is that both attempt to articulate principles that will apply universally over time despite changing conditions.
Internet Society | Association for Progressive Communications
Creative Commons considers licensing change
In this blog post, Creative Commons recounts progress over the last few months with respect to the proposal to drop its non–free licenses; that is, licenses that limit commercial and derivative works. It has now published the arguments and recommendations it has received and is soliciting feedback on these alternative proposals.