June 2016 Archives

News digest | Open Society Information Program | Week ending 10 June 2016

The Information Program NEWS DIGEST, published the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, aims to update colleagues in the Open Society Foundations and friends further afield about the news, opinions and events the Program team have been watching this fortnight. The views expressed in these stories do not necessarily reflect those of the Information Program or the OSF. Prepared by Wendy M. Grossman.

Our staff, advisers and major grantees tweet at http://bit.ly/13j5fjq. Current and former grantees featured in this issue: EDRi, EFF, Privacy International, Quadrature du Net, SPARC Europe.

For breaking news stories, visit: http://pinboard.in/u:osi_info_program/t:news/

UK: Investigatory Powers bill passes House of Commons
Bloomberg reports that on June 8 the UK's House of Commons voted 444 to 69 to adopt the Investigatory Powers bill. The version that passed will require companies to remove encryption only if they themselves have installed it and if doing so is technically feasible and not unduly expensive. Liberty's former Executive Director Shami Chakrabarti called the changes since the draft bill was first published "minor botox". In a press statement, Privacy International expressed disappointment that the only concession won by the opposition Labour party was an independent review of the operational case for the bulk powers the bill provides. The bill now passes to the House of Lords for consideration and be submitted for review by a panel of legal experts chaired by David Anderson, QC, the UK's independent reviewer of terrorism legislation.
Bloomberg: http://bloom.bg/218z7Ym
PI: http://bit.ly/1PhVvIG

EU: In the run-up to copyright reform, visually impaired still left out
European Digital Rights' "copyfail" series highlights nine copyright injustices as the EU prepares to review its copyright legislation. Number two on the list, EDRi particularly calls out the EU for failing to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, intended to facilitate access for the visually impaired. The rest of the list includes a chaotic reuse regime, private enforcement, inadequate remuneration for authors, geoblocking, and restrictions on lending and borrowing. At Open Media, Ruth Coustick-Deal reports that laws under consideration could open the way to a "link tax".
EDRi (Treaty): http://bit.ly/1UBlbRH
EDRi (copyfails): http://bit.ly/22QRClH
Open Media: http://bit.ly/1Yf7TAv

Facial recognition will soon end anonymity in public
At the Singularity Hub, Tarun Wadhwa reports on a Russian app called FindFace that demonstrates the reality we will all soon face: that advances in facial recognition will soon mean that anonymity in public places has become obsolete. More accurate recognition algorithms, social media's massive databases of identified faces, and the processing capabilities of the devices everyone carries will mean that the images captured by the world's 250 million video surveillance cameras will be easily identifiable. FedBizOps notes that on July 12 the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) will host a one-day conference on deep intermodal video analysis to scope out research questions and address questions from potential proposers.
Singularity Hub: http://bit.ly/1OdMmpx
FBO: http://1.usa.gov/1Ya7EWY

UK: Security agencies bend rules despite oversight
Ian Thompson reports at The Register that letters exchanged between GCHQ and its official overseer in 2004, obtained by Privacy International, show that the agency was willing to bend the rules. Oversight, assigned to Sir Swinton Thomas, then the Interception Commissioner, failed because Thomas neither knew nor followed the rules he was charged with enforcing. Years after the passage of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000), the services went on using the 1984 Telecommunications Act to command access to citizens' private data.
Register: http://bit.ly/1PhVSTp

EU: LIBE committee to vote on draft terrorism directive on June 15
La Quadrature du Net reports that the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties (LIBE) will vote on June 15 on the draft directive on terrorism, which contains many policies that Quadrature has been fighting against in France for the last two years: censorship of the web, attacks on encryption and the right to privacy, mass electronic surveillance, and lack of safeguards for civil liberties. Quadrature goes on to analyse the likely stance of LIBE committee members.
Quadrature: http://bit.ly/1TZWWCT

EU: Leaders call for open access to all scientific papers by 2020
SPARC Europe reports that European ministers have united on making immediate access to scientific publications the default by 2020. Among the EU's goals: remove unnecessary legal, organisational, and financial barriers that prevent access to publicly funded results; cooperate with non-EU countries; and ensure that researchers and their employers retain copyright to their work.
SPARC Europe (PDF): http://bit.ly/25MH9wB

For more features and analysis selected by the Program team, visit:

Tech Giants and Civic Power
In this blog posting at the LSE Media Project, Kings College London senior researcher Martin Moore announces his new study "Tech Giants and Civic Power", suggesting that today's technology giants are increasingly taking on civic roles, raising questions about their societal responsibilities - responsibilities beyond those to their customers or shareholders. At the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo discusses the rise of the "Frightful Five", i.e. Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, Google's parent, which have created a set of inescapable tech platforms that govern much of the business world. The coming years will see many more countries joining "the coming global freak-out", which, Manjoo argues, will lead to fragmentation as nation-states fight back to preserve their hegemony.
LSE: http://bit.ly/1sws2Wu
New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1Zz3J4L

Helping funders find trustworthy technical advice
In this Inside Philanthropy article, mySociety founder Tom Steinberg discusses how funders can identify trustworthy technical advice. Well-meaning incompetence is a bigger problem than fraud, a problem he illustrates with Hillary Clinton's email server. To solve this problem, he recommends seeking advice from NGOs that are widely known to be tech-savvy as well as staff at high-tech funders, and asking potential recipients about their experience creating technology products. Also, ask via social media who to trust, and pay experts to help write job ads and conduct interviews.

Reinventing the web
At the New York Times, Quentin Hardy reports on the Decentralized Web Summit, where internet pioneers such as Tim Berners-Lee, Brewster Kahle, and Vint Cerf gathered to brainstorm reinventing the web to resist censorship, surveillance, and control through payment chokepoints. The project is in the early stages.
NY Times: http://nyti.ms/1UggfpL

China: Internet censorship works
In this article at the Washington Post, Simon Denyer highlights the scariest part of China's efforts to censor the internet: they work. Even though technical experts and others argued the internet's design ensures that information will inevitably reach those who want it, in January China's internet czar, Lu Wei, said of censorship, "This path is the choice of history." Also contrary to technical predictions, China's e-commerce market does not seem to have suffered; Global Voices highlights public-private censorship partnerships. Denyer cites research from Freedom House showing that one-third of the world's population face heavy internet censorship. The Economist finds that curbs on free speech are growing worldwide via three primary methods: government repression; assassination; and the spreading idea that people have the right not to be offended.
Washington Post: http://wapo.st/1UEYkru
Global Voices: http://bit.ly/1Yf9Nkk
Economist: http://econ.st/24AK8lY

Google's science fiction misfires
At STAT, Charles Piller discusses Google's most far-out projects and its many misses. The Tricorder project and the glucose-sensing contact lens are just two examples of projects that have so far failed to deliver on the hype surrounding them. Meanwhile, employees have been leaving Verily, the Google arm where these projects have been incubated. Piller asks, does Silicon Valley arrogance inevitably create "vapourware culture"?
STAT: http://bit.ly/1Ya8Iu2

The secret symbol neo-Nazis are using to target Jews online: parentheses
In this article at Tech.Mic, Cooper Fleishman and Anthony Smith report that various anti-Semitic groups have begun enclosing Jewish names in (((triple parentheses))) to highlight them as trollbait. Because search engines typically disregard punctuation, the resulting harassment is difficult to track to its source. Engadget reports that Google has pulled from its store the Coincidence Detector browser extension, intended to automatically apply such highlights to pages displayed in Chrome. In the Sunday Review, New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman recounts his personal experience as a target.
Mic: http://bit.ly/22QUJKk

Historical computing
At this YouTube channel, the Computer History Archives Project posts promotional and educational videos from decades past. IBM is heavily represented, but also available are videos covering the early PLATO computer-based education systems, UNIVAC, ENIAC, and Remington Rand. The videos suggest that computers have changed far less than the society around them.
YouTube: http://bit.ly/1Xb0TVC


To see more events recommended by the Information Program team, visit:
https://pinboard.in/u:osi_info_program/t:events/. If you would like your event listed in this mail, email info.digest@opensocietyfoundations.org.

Workshop on the Economics of Information Security
June 13-14, 2016
Berkeley, CA
The Workshop on the Economics of Information Security (WEIS) is the leading forum for interdisciplinary scholarship on information security and privacy, combining expertise from the fields of economics, social science, business, law, policy, and computer science.

OR2016 Conference
June 13-16, 2016
Dublin, NL
The theme of OR2016 is "Illuminating the World." OR2016 will provide an opportunity to explore the impact of repositories and related infrastructure and processes.

Privatising the rule of law
June 16, 2016
Brussels, Belgium
This afternoon event, organised by MEP Marietje Schaake in conjunction with EDRi, will discuss private online law enforcement and liability in the areas of hate speech and copyright. Speakers are drawn from academic, government, civil society, and industry. Space is limited.

BEUC Digiforum
June 20, 2016
Brussels, Belgium
"Consumers shaping the digital economy" is the topic of this Digiforum, which aims to identify what is needed for consumers to drive the digital market place.

June 22-24, 2016
Denver, Colorado
The 12th Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security will bring together an interdisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners in human computer interaction, security, and privacy. The program will feature technical papers, workshops and tutorials, a poster session, panels and invited talks, and lightning talks.

VOX-Pol Mid-Project conference
June 22-24, 2016
Dublin, Ireland
The VOX-Pol Network of Excellence is an EU-funded academic research network focused on researching the prevalence, contours, functions, and impacts of violent online political extremism and responses to it. The conference will feature sessions describing and discussing in-depth and cutting-edge research on violent political extremism and terrorism and the Internet.

June 24-26
Esino Lario, Italy
Wikimania is the annual conference celebrating Wikipedia and its sibling free knowledge projects with conferences, discussions, meetups, training, and a hackathon. Hundreds of volunteer editors come together to learn about and discuss projects, approaches and issues.

Jisc and CNI Conference 2016
July 6, 2016
Oxford, UK
This year's Joint Information Systems Committee and Coalition for Networked Information conference will bring together leading experts from the US, UK, and Europe to explore the current issues and innovations in digital scholarship and facilitate a rich international exchange on leading practice and policy.

21st-Century Literacies for Public Libraries
August 10-11, 2016
Philadelphia, PA
At this two-day satellite meeting, presented by IFLA's Public Libraries Section, delegates will share and learn from each other's experiences in developing and delivering services that encompass today's expanded concept of literacy, which includes not only the traditional ability to read and write but proficiency in a range of other literacies such as civic, health, financial, digital, and information.

IFLA World Library and Information Congress
August 13-19, 2016
Columbus, OH
The theme of the 82nd IFLA Congress is "Connections. Collaboration. Community." The Congress will feature programmes from myriad library sectors.

Privacy+Security Forum
October 24-26, 2016
Washington, DC
Monday, October 24, is devoted to pre-conference workshops and "intensive days" - advanced discussion focused narrowly on a particular topic or industry. Proposals are welcome until April 30, 2016 based on the following guiding principles: bridge the silos between privacy and security; cover issues with depth and rigour; employ interaction, scenario-based learning, and extensive engagement; deliver practical takeaways from each session.

Mozilla Festival
November 6-8, 2016
London, UK
MozFest is an annual celebration of the open Web. Participants are diverse, including engineers, artists, activists, and educators, but share the common belief that the Web can make lives better, unlocks opportunity, spurs creativity, teaches valuable skills, and connects far-flung people and ideas. The Festival seeks to improve the Web with new ideas and creations.

November 12-14, 2016
Washington, DC
At this event, the next generation can learn about Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data, develop critical skills, and catalyse action toward a more open system of research and education. OpenCon will convene students and early career academic professionals, both in person and through satellite events around the world and serve as a powerful catalyst for projects led by the next generation to advance OpenCon's three focus areas.

Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection
January 25-27, 2017
The tenth CPDP's main theme is artificial intelligence. The conference is accepting proposals for panels in April (from academic consortia, research projects, think tanks, and other research organisations) and May (from individuals wishing to present academic research papers).


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