October 2016 Archives

News digest | Open Society Information Program | Week ending 14 October 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, Open Knowledge Foundation.

This posting describes how 23 NGOs, including OSF grantees AK Vorrat, EDRi, La Quadrature du Net, Bits of Freedom, and Digitale Gesellschaft, achieved the win for network neutrality in Europe.

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

EU publishes copyright directive
EDRi reports that the EU's proposals for copyright reform, published September 14, "could not conceivably be worse", highlighting that the directive threatens to bring in filtering for all internet uploads, create legal uncertainty for European hosting companies, and create a new 20-year "ancillary copyright" giving publishers the right to control links to their material. The Internet Archive calls it an "absolute disaster", noting that the proposal also fails to protect freedom of panorama. Wikimedia writes that the proposals fail to consider the needs and rights of users. Intellectual Property Watch provides a thorough analysis of the proposals.
EU Parliament: http://bit.ly/2ebnl24
Internet Archive: http://bit.ly/2e5HOll
Wikimedia: http://bit.ly/2dHPKKh
IP Watch: http://bit.ly/2e5JlYJ

Internet governing body transitions to independence
At The Register, Kieren McCarthy reports that despite a last-minute lawsuit led by US Senator Ted Cruz asking a Texas judge to issue a temporary restraining order, the US government allowed its contract with the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, which oversees global allocation of technical internet functions to expire at 12:01 AM Washington DC time on October 1. Stewardship has transferred to the private non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which was set up in 1998 to manage the domain name system. ICANN will decide the internet's future development. McCarthy reviews the last 15 years of ICANN's efforts to achieve independence. Organisations such as the Internet Society published congratulations.
Register: http://bit.ly/2dTSEgu
NTIA: http://bit.ly/2dsLQmJ
Internet Society: http://bit.ly/2e2nqW4

Bangladesh issues "smart" national identity cards
Global Voices reports that the Bangladeshi government has begun issuing Smart National ID cards as part of the Digital Bangladesh Initiative which should see the cards distributed to 100 million people. The biometric cards, which will be associated with individuals' mobile SIM cards, will include 32 types of citizen data and offer access to 23 services, including voting, banking, tax payments, share-trading, and applications for passport, driving licences, and trade licences. The government says the goal is to reduce forgery, which was common with the laminated cards previously used for voting, but Global Voices suggests the new system will create new technical glitches and security risks. Citizens' reactions have been mostly positive.
Global Voices: http://bit.ly/2dhdG7C

First Internet of Things botnet attack detected
The investigative security journalist Brian Krebs reported at the end of September that his website had been forced offline by a botnet attack of such unprecedented size that his hosting provider, Akamai, asked him to find a new provider. On October 1, Krebs reported that the source code for the Miral malware that powered the attack has been publicly released on Hackforums, opening the way for myriad copycat attacks by new botnets powered by insecure routers, IP cameras, digital video recorders, and other insecure, easily hackable devices. In a further posting, Krebs discusses which devices are being targeted by Miral, which he says are easily identified by examining the list of user names and passwords included in the source code. Finally, Krebs notes that the European Commission is drafting new cybersecurity requirements to improve security around Internet of Things devices. Bruce Schneier argues that government intervention in this area is essential because it is a market failure neither manufacturers nor consumers can fix.
Krebs (attack): http://bit.ly/2dhdOUL
Krebs (source code): http://bit.ly/2ebnSB3
Krebs (devices): http://bit.ly/2dY8Fzc
Krebs (Europe): http://bit.ly/2e2pNs6
Schneier: http://bit.ly/2dHQdff

Switzerland passes broad surveillance law
At Ars Technica, Glyn Moody reports that in a referendum Swiss citizens have backed, by 65.5% to 34.5%, a new law that will allow the Swiss intelligence agency to break into computers, install malware, spy on phone and internet communications, and install microphones and video cameras in private locations. The Swiss government expects the new powers, intended to be used against terrorism, espionage, the dissemination of weapons of mass destruction, and attacks on important national infrastructure, to be invoked only about ten times a year. Previously, the Guardian reports, the Swiss had relied on other countries' intelligence agencies, as they were banned from tapping phones and surveilling email. Using the new powers will require approval from a federal court, the defence ministry, and the cabinet.
Ars Technica: http://bit.ly/2dFSk4D
Guardian: http://bit.ly/2e2TSSU

Yahoo! accused of secretly scanning private email to aid FBI
Reuters reports that Yahoo, already under fire for a recently-announced 2014 data breach that exposed the personal information of an estimated 500 million users, complied with a secret directive issued by the FBI to scan the private email of its users. EPIC links the system described in the report to the similar FBI program "Carnivore", while EFF discusses the legal and technical questions the report raises and reiterates its call, filed as a lawsuit against the Department of Justice in April 2016, on the Department of Justice to publicly release all decisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, including that pertaining to Yahoo. Anonymous former Yahoo employees have told Motherboard that when security staff discovered the scanning system and raised the alarm, they thought it was a "buggy rootkit"; they were told to leave it alone. In a follow-up report Reuters adds detail on the legal basis for the government's request and notes that Yahoo, which is being acquired by Verizon, has called the story "misleading" and said that "the mail scanning described in the article does not exist on our systems." Separately, the New York Times discusses recent legal challenges by Microsoft and the ACLU on behalf of Open Whisper Systems to the increasing US government use of gag orders covering requests for user information.
Reuters: http://reut.rs/2emY5oO
EPIC: http://bit.ly/2dRxTjD
EFF: http://bit.ly/2en0ik1
Motherboard: http://bit.ly/2eboHdl
Reuters (legal): http://reut.rs/2dsO45g
NY Times: http://nyti.ms/2dMNx0z

Ethiopia: Government blocks internet access
At Africa News, Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban reports that following nationwide protests, on October 7 the Ethiopian government cut both mobile and fixed-line access to the internet, partially restoring fixed-line access later in the day. Cyber Ethiopia summarises a Brookings report that finds that similar cuts to internet access cost the country US$9 million in 2015. The same report estimates the global cost of internet shutdowns at US$2.4 billion.
Africa News: http://bit.ly/2dHUMGr
Cyber Ethiopia: http://bit.ly/2dsSNnG

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

Driving copyright out of education
In this blog posting for the Open Knowledge Foundation's Open Education Working Group, Communia's Lisette Kalshoven examines the problems copyright poses for education. The 2001 EU copyright directive included an optional exception for education which many member states have not implemented; Finland, for example, has no provision for derivative works in education, which bars teachers from translating foreign-language news articles. The EU's proposed reform directive creates a mandatory exception but limits its application, leaving it unclear how the old and new exceptions will interact and leaving many uses not covered. Communia is launching a project to advocate for effective change. At Education in Crisis, Alek Tarkowski argues that we need to drive copyright out of the classroom by creating an exception that covers all educational uses, including home schoolers, libraries, and museums, which often must pay licence fees.
OKFN: http://bit.ly/2dRzg1K
Education in Crisis: http://bit.ly/2dTV0vX

The Gikii approach to future challenges
In this series of presentations, participants in the 2016 Gikii conference draw on pop culture to discuss emerging technology, policy conundrums, and legal conflicts. Especially notable are Paul Bernal's slides showing the difficulty of deciding who is an online troll, Andres Guadamuz's proposals for regulating augmented reality such as the game Pokemon Go, Alison Harcourt's outline of the migration of copyright regulation from legislation to industry standards fora, and Philip Howard's proposals for regulating a civic Internet of Things, which include reporting the ultimate beneficiary of collected data.
Gikii: http://bit.ly/2dYaD2L

Lessons from ten years of open data
In this blog posting at the Sunlight Foundation, Alex Howard offers ten take-aways from the 2016 International Open Data conference. While diversity is improving, Howard regrets the loss of focus on government transparency and accountability and the general absence from the conference of politicians and journalists, while suggesting that governments need to be more aggressive about opening data sets where it's already clear there is public demand.
Sunlight: http://bit.ly/2d9mbhG

How to steal an election
In this article at Bloomberg Business Week, Michael Riley, Jordan Robertson, and David Kocieniewski investigate the state of US voting machines, purchased after the 2000 Bush-Gore election under the Help America Vote Act. The market for these machines, many of which depend on buggy, insecure, antiquated technology, is dominated by just a few manufacturers, which impose unexpected ongoing costs that the original federal funding to buy the machines does not cover. The Bloomberg story focuses in particular on a recent election in Memphis, Tennessee, where approximately 40% of votes in a crucial district went missing. In a separate story, Elizabeth Dexheimer reports that 21 states have contacted the US Department of Homeland Security requesting help after reports surfaced that state systems are being scanned by malicious cyber actors. Bob Sullivan asks long-time voting machine researcher Harri Hursti to comment on claims that Russia is behind attacks on US voting systems.
Bloomberg: http://bloom.bg/2dI81dU
Bloomberg (Dexheimer): http://bloom.bg/2dYdto2
Sullivan: http://bit.ly/2dFSbOn

Living safely with automation
In this essay at the Guardian, Tim Harford suggests that reliance on automation is setting us up for disaster as, like airline pilots, we become more used to manipulating computer systems than directly running the systems they control. Harford applies lessons drawn from aviation, where this "mode confusion" causes plane crashes such as Air France flight 447, to council decisions and self-driving cars. Harford concludes by examining the work of Dutch traffic engineer Hans Monderman, who solved such conundrums by removing cues such as street signs and forcing drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists to engage with each other in navigating messy terrain, an approach that sounds risky but that in practice proved to be safer for all concerned.
Guardian: http://bit.ly/2dRA8n8

Data ethics for philanthropists
In this Upturn report, David Robinson and Miranda Bogen discuss the risks and opportunities for philanthropists seeking to invest in projects involving data at scale. Among the risks the authors list a lack of shared standards for human subject review, a lack of mathematical literacy within foundations, and the concentration of data and analytics in the private sector. The authors recommend eight questions foundations should answer in assessing such projects, and provide guidelines for managing them.
Upturn: http://bit.ly/2dhgSQT


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.

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 Lastminute.com 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.

TICTeC 2017
April 25-26, 2017
Florence, Italy
This will be the third mySociety conference on the impacts of civic technology.

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.


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