UNESCO Releases Declaration on Open Educational Resources
By Becky Hogge
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 following this week. This week’s top story is on UNESCO’s release of the Paris Declaration on Open Educational Resources, supporting public access to publicly-funded educational materials.
Last week the UNESCO OER Congress in Paris adopted the Paris Declaration on Open Educational Resources (OER), which encourages public access to publicly funded educational materials.
Google launches endangered languages project
Ars Technica reports on the launch of new website designed for people to find and share information about endangered languages. The project, developed by Google in partnership with the Alliance for Language Diversity, aims to track and document the over 3,000 endangered languages that may well be extinct by the turn of the century. Report | Website
UK: Regulator moves forward with "three strikes" plan
IPWatch reports that the UK telecommunications regulator OfCom has published a draft code requiring internet service providers to notify customers suspected of using their accounts to infringe copyright, and to cooperate with copyright owners in order to allow them to focus legal action on the most persistent infringers.
EU: Final committee joins chorus recommending rejection of ACTA; full vote next week
IPWatch reports that the EU Committee on International Trade has recommended that members of the European Parliament (MEPs) reject the controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) when they vote on the issue in next week's plenary session. The committee vote represents a key victory for citizens, who have been contacting their elected representatives en masse to express their concerns that ACTA—a treaty negotiated in secret, which introduces intellectual property enforcement measures that go beyond norms established by the World Trade Organization—threatens fundamental rights like free expression, privacy, and the right to due process. La Quadrature du Net, who have spearheaded the campaign against ACTA, urges citizens to maintain pressure on their MEPs ahead of next week's plenary vote. European Digital Rights (EDRI) publishes a translation of an interview with pro-ACTA MEP Marielle Gallo, in which she characterizes the upswell of public protest against the treaty as "a soft form of terrorism." IPWatch | La Quadrature du Net | EDRi
UK: Report on academic publishing does not go far enough
The UK research community have offered a cautious welcome to last week's publication of the Finch report, an independent report into scholarly publishing commissioned by the UK government, praising its broad support of public access to publicly-funded research, but expressing disappointment its recommendations did not go further. Cameron Neylon of the Science and Technology Facilities Council calls it "maddeningly vague" on key issues like the role of digital repositories, while scientist and blogger Stephen Curry highlights the various concessions the report makes to traditional academic publishers and concludes that it is the result of a committee "wily enough to read the runes and push just hard enough at a door that is opening." Report | Neylon | Curry
The four pillars of security in grant-making
The Information Program's Elizabeth Eagen shares the knowledge she has gained from her work protecting human rights organizations from physical—and digital—security threats, and argues that grant-makers need to take a central role in ensuring the security of the organizations they support.
Should machines have a constitutional right to free speech?
Tim Wu argues against classifying the computer algorithms behind such things as Google search results, Microsoft spellchecks and Amazon book recommendations as "speech", warning that assigning such algorithms constitutional protections will limit antitrust regulator's abilities to protect consumers from future monopolistic practices.
A head-scratching look at online privacy and the law
TechPresident uses the recent hearing in the US Congress examining issues of online privacy to explore current thinking around the issue in the United States: "In a world where people share what they had for breakfast on Twitter... one might ask whether such a thing as a 'reasonable' expectation of privacy still exists."
The insidious power of "brand content"
Using examples from France, Frédéric Filloux details for Monday Note how big companies such as the bank BNP-Paribas are becoming adept at producing quality content that mimics traditional editorial content, warning of the risk this trend poses to public trust.
Syllabus: NSA "Center of Academic Excellence" in Cyber Operations
Published on the website of the US National Security Agency (NSA), this syllabus outlines the mandatory and optional program content required from American universities wishing to qualify as "Centers of Academic Excellence" (CAEs) in cyber operations, with modules including "Reverse Engineering" and "Cyber Operations Planning". According to the NSA website, four universities currently qualify as CAEs. The goal of the NSA CAE program is "broadening the pipeline of skilled workers capable of supporting a cyber-secure nation". Syllabus | CAEs
What was the best news story you read last week about technology, information and open society? Tell us about it below in the comments section.