News digest | Open Society Information Program | Week of 23 September 2016

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)
News digest | Open Society Information Program | Week of 23 September 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 Current and former grantees featured in this issue: EDRi, EFF, La Quadrature du Net, SPARC Europe, .

For breaking news stories, visit:

EU: Advocate-General says EU is competent to ratify Marrakesh treaty
Intellectual Property Watch reports that the standstill over the Marrakesh Treaty, which grants a copyright exception for visually impaired people, could soon be broken. The Advocate-General of the European Court of Justice has found in response to a challenge by EU members including France, Finland, the UK, and Hungary that the EU has exclusive competence to ratify the Treaty.
IP Watch:

Kashmir: India suspends mobile internet access
At Slate, Hasit Shah reports that for more than two months India has blocked mobile internet access in Kashmir in response to protests in July following the death of a local militant commander. Newspapers in Kashmir, he writes, are calling the situation, which blocks access to organising via social media, an "e-curfew". The New Indian Express reports that postpaid mobile phone services, which along with broadband were suspended on September 12, have been restored. Greater Kashmir reports that journalists have staged a sit-in protest, calling the suspension an "indirect gag" on media.
New Indian Express:
Greater Kashmir:

EU: Court of Justice rules that linking can infringe copyright
La Quadrature du Net reports that the European Court of Jusice has set aside the recommendation the Advocate General issued in April and ruled that posting a link to illegally published content is itself a copyright violeation as long as the site is non-profit and is unaware of the copyright violation. Aside from the obvious implications for search engines, LQDN notes that it is difficult for any individual to be sure if a linked work is an infringement or not. LQDN also notes that this decision aligns with the proposal in the leaked draft copyright Directive to give publishers greater power over links. EFF calls the ruling "madness" and "a gift to copyright holders".
Advocate General (PDF):

Facebook struggles with automated content editing
At the Guardian, Sam Thielman reports that a couple of months after the world discovered that Facebook's trending topics were hand-picked by a team of editors, the company has replaced the human editors with an algorithm. The result: mayhem, as the algorithm for example chose to highlight a false story about Fox News host Megyn Kelly as well as a hoax article about 9/11. The Guardian also reports that Facebook deleted the famous "napalm girl" photograph from a posting about historical warfare photography by a Norwegian writer, and followed up by deleting a post by the Norwegian Prime Minister defending the posting and republishing the photograph. The story led journalists and others to suggest that Facebook needs to learn to use more wisely its power over the news people see. This is also the theme of the recent report Tech Giants and Civic Power, written by Martin Moore, director of the Centre for the Study of Media Communication and Power in the Policy Institute at King's College London.
Guardian (algorithm):
Guardian (photograph):
Moore (PDF):

EU: Plan for Gigabit Society threatens network neutrality
Access Now reports that the European Commission's plan for a European Gigabit Society, which aims to promote high-quality networks and 5G, incorporates the first attack on the EU's new network neutrality rules. The plan specifically mentions developing high-speed networks to facilitate gaming and streaming audio and video; Access Now argues that high-quality networks should benefit the internet as a whole without creating "fast lanes". In a July 2016 manifesto that European Digital Rights called "terrible", a collection of telcos argued that the creation of 5G will require substantial state subsidies as well as a rollback on European privacy and network neutrality laws. Access Now was one of 30 NGOs that signed an open letter to policy makers arguing against these demands.
Access Now (plan):
Access Now (letter, PDF):

Open access boosts citation rates
Times Higher Education Supplement reports on a new study by the University of Michigan's Jim Ottaviani that finds that publishing journal articles under open access boosts citations by more than a fifth. The effect is even greater on better-cited papers, though the reason for this is unclear. SPARC Europe maintains a list of such studies as well.

Facebook announces WhatsApp will share personal data
The Guardian reports that although Facebook promised it would not share personal data between the two services when it purchased WhatsApp, the company will begin doing just that, including personal phone numbers, in order to help advertisers target ads. EPIC has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the UK's Information Commissioner has said the office will keep a close watch, and MEP Jan-Philipp Albrecht is working on developing EU policy to protect users' privacy in such cases. At the Guardian, John Naughton offers instructions on using WhatsApp's privacy settings to block the transfer.
Guardian (WhatsApp):
Guardian (UK ICO):
Guardian (EU):
Guardian (Naughton):

India: Delhi University wins copyright case
At SpicyIP, Shamnad Basheer reports that the Delhi high court has dismissed suits by three international publishers - Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Taylor & Francis - who had jointly objected to the sale of photocopied books, chapters, and pages at Delhi University. The ruling is expected to have a far-reaching impact on copyright law in India. Basheer, one of the group of academics who intervened in the case, argued that the photocopying was fair use given its educational purpose. In his 94-page ruling, Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw wrote that copyright is not a "divine" right.

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

US: Department of Justice seeks mass hacking powers
In this opinion piece for Wired, professors Matt Blaze (University of Pennsylvania) and Susan Landau (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) warn that under plans published as amendments to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the FBI would be allowed to hack as many as a million computers based on a single warrant. Unless Congress acts to block the proposals, the rules will come into effect on December 1. To counter the plan, Wyden and fellow Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) have introduced the Stopping Mass Hacking Act. EFF is collecting signatures on a petition backing the bill.

Spain: Exercising the right to know
In this blog posting, mySociety highlights a collaboration among Access Info Europe, Civio Foundation, and the Transparency Council of Spain to celebrate September 28's International Right to Know Day by simplifying the complex process of submitting an FOI request in Spain. The Spanish government requires a difficult-to-obtain electronic certificate or digital identification; the authorities also refuse to accept requests by email. From now until September 28, however, requesters can use a Google form, a Twitter hashtag, or email to file requests, which the three organisations will forward using their certificates.

Pardoning Edward Snowden
In this editorial, the Washington Post, one of the newspapers that originally published the details of leaked programmes such as PRISM, argues that Edward Snowden should not be pardoned despite a national campaign asking President Barack Obama to do so before leaving office. Meanwhile, the New York Times' A.O. Scott reviews Oliver Stone's new movie, "Snowden", calling it "an honorable and absorbing contribution", but ultimately prefers Laura Poitras's documentary, Citizenfour. At Techdirt, Mike Masnick pores over the recently released House Intelligence Committee's report on Snowden, and highlights myriad misleading or false statements that lead him to call the report a "smear campaign".
Washington Post:
Pardon Snowden:
NY Times:

The internet infrastructure under attack
In this essay, Bruce Schneier outlines attacks he's seeing that appear to have the purpose of probing the defences of companies that run critical pieces of the internet infrastructure, he believes with the intent of learning how to take them down. While the data is inconclusive, he says the perpetrator "feels like" a large nation-state.

The war on cash
In this article at The Long and Short, Brett Scott discusses the human rights issues surrounding the cashless society that's being promoted by countries such as Sweden, vendors such as Visa and Penny for London, and "thought leaders" such as Chyp Hyperion's Dave Birch. Scott goes on to suggest ways for those seeking to protect the rights of already marginalised groups to reframe opposing the "Death of Cash" as a fight for retaining the choice to carry out financial transactions without the need for intermediaries.
Long and Short:


To see more events recommended by the Information Program team, visit: If you would like your event listed in this mail, email

The Open Exchange for Social Change
October 4, 2016
Madrid, Spain
This pre-IOCD unconference aims to create a space where participants can exchange knowledge and understanding and build solidarity that will lead to better outcomes for IODC and beyond. It is an open space so that attendees can propose the most relevant and urgent topics for their work.

International Open Data Conference
October 6-7
Madrid, Spain
At IODC16, governments, civil society, multilateral organisations, and private companies will gather around a roadmap. the International Open Data Charter, in order to keep improving the governability, citizen engagement, innovation, and international development of open data initiatives.

Transparency Camp 2016
October 14-15, 2016
Cleveland, OH
The Sunlight Foundation chose Cleveland for this year's unconference in order to tap into the local expertise of an area with strong grassroots organisers and clear problems the community is trying to solve. The event aims to bring together librarians, government officials, technologists, civic leaders, community organisers, and others to figure out strategies and solutions for making local and state governance better, faster, smarter and more transparent.

Freedom not Fear
October 14-17, 2016
Brussels, Belgium
At Freedom not Fear, civil society members meet to plan for and engage in action against increasing surveillance and other attacks on civil rights. The meeting, intended for civil rights and freedom activists from across Europe, is organised by volutneers and coordinated by EDRi member Digitalcourage and via the akv-international mailing list.

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.

ODI Summit
November 1, 2016
London, UK
The annual Open Data Institute Summit will feature inspiring stories from around the world on how people are innovating with the web of data, and presentations from diverse innovators, from current startup founders to experienced, high-profile speakers such as World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, AI expert Nigel Shadbolt and founder Martha Lane Fox.

November 3-9, 2016
Hyderabad, India
ICANN meetings provide a venue for progressing policy work, conducting outreach, exchanging best practices, conducting business deals, interacting among members of the ICANN Community, including board and staff, and learning about ICANN.

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.

WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights
November 14-16, 2016
Geneva, Switzerland
Topics at the 33rd meeting of SCCR will include the protection of broadcasting organisations, exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives, limitations and exceptions for educational and research institutions and for persons with disabilities, and proposals for analysing copyright with respect to the digital environment and to include the resale right in future work.

Internet Governance Forum
December 6-9, 2016 (TBC)
Guadalajara, Mexico
With the UN's renewal in December 2015, the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) consolidates itself as a platform to bring people together from various stakeholder groups as equals, in discussions on public policy issues relating to the Internet. While there is no negotiated outcome, the IGF informs and inspires those with policy-making power in both the public and private sectors. At their annual meeting delegates discuss, exchange information and share good practices with each other.

Open Government Partnership Summit
December 7-9, 2016
Paris, France
Representatives from governments, academia, civil society and international organizations will gather to share their experiences and best practices and push forward the open government global agenda in light of the great challenges of the modern world. As a forum for sharing best practices, OGP provides a unique platform that brings together, stimulates and expands the community of state reformers worldwide.

Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection
January 25-27, 2017
Brussels, Belgium
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).

Internet Freedom Festival
March 6-10, 2017
Valencia, Spain
The Internet Freedom Festival gathers the community keeping the Internet open and uncensored for a week of free-form multidisciplinary collaboration intended to help groups achieve their goals. Attendance is free and open to the public.

Rightscon 2017
March 29-31, 2017
Brussels, Belgium
RightsCon will tackle the most pressing issues at the intersection of technology and human rights. Session proposals are being accepted until November 25, 2016.

Creative Commons Global Summit
April 28-30, 2017
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
This event will gather a global community of technologists, academics, activists, creatives, and legal experts to work together on the expansion and growth of the commons, open knowledge, and free culture for all.

Open Repositories 2017
June 26-30, 2017
Brisbane, Australia
The annual Open Repositories Conference brings together users and developers of open digital repository platforms from higher education, government, galleries, libraries, archives and museums. The Conference provides an interactive forum for delegates from around the world to come together and explore the global challenges and opportunities facing libraries and the broader scholarly information landscape.


Hear more from the Information Program!
If you want to hear more from the Information Program team each week, consider subscribing to our shared bookmarks on delicious using this RSS feed:

You can also read more about our work on the Open Society Foundations website:

Hear less from the Information Program!
If you wish to unsubscribe from this weekly digest, please send an email with the subject line "Unsubscribe" to

This digest operates under the OSF privacy policy:

Additionally, it uses the URL shortening service, which operates under the following privacy policy:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Open Society Foundation, part of the Open Society Foundations, is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales (company number 4571628) and a registered charity (charity number 1105069). Its registered office address is 7th Floor, Millbank Tower, 21-24 Millbank, London SW1P 4QP

0 TrackBacks

Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: News digest | Open Society Information Program | Week of 23 September 2016.

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Wendy M. Grossman published on September 26, 2016 7:57 PM.

Research Digest • Open Society Information Program • 10 September 2016 was the previous entry in this blog.

News digest | Open Society Information Program | Week ending 14 October 2016 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.