Submitted by Blake on April 28, 2016 - 8:05am
Abstract: Social norms have traditionally been difficult to quantify. In any particular society, their sheer number and complex interdependencies often limit a system-level analysis. One exception is that of the network of norms that sustain the online Wikipedia community. We study the fifteen-year evolution of this network using the interconnected set of pages that establish, describe, and interpret the community’s norms. Despite Wikipedia’s reputation for ad hoc governance, we find that its normative evolution is highly conservative. The earliest users create norms that both dominate the network and persist over time. These core norms govern both content and interpersonal interactions using abstract principles such as neutrality, verifiability, and assume good faith. As the network grows, norm neighborhoods decouple topologically from each other, while increasing in semantic coherence. Taken together, these results suggest that the evolution of Wikipedia’s norm network is akin to bureaucratic systems that predate the information age.
From Future Internet | Free Full-Text | The Evolution of Wikipedia’s Norm Network | HTML
Submitted by Blake on April 23, 2016 - 3:03pm
Evans and his colleagues have an idea for how Wikipedia could begin to do this—and it’s a proposal that, if executed well, could dramatically improve access to information on the Internet. “You could just give some kind of meter about verifiability, actually on the Wikipedia page,” said Dan Rockmore, the director of the Neukom Institute and a co-author of the study. “That could be automated in a fairly simple way.”
From One Easy Way to Make Wikipedia Better - The Atlantic
Submitted by Blake on March 28, 2016 - 8:53pm
Everyone thinks libraries have a positive role to play in the world, but that role differs greatly based on whether you’re talking to a librarian or a patron. Ask a patron what libraries have in common and they’d probably answer: they share books with people. Librarians give a different answer: they share a set of values. It’s time for libraries to step up to those values by supporting access to the Internet and taking the lead in fighting to keep the Internet open, free, and unowned.
From How libraries can save the Internet of Things from the Web's centralized fate / Boing Boing
Submitted by Blake on March 28, 2016 - 2:09pm
A new study shows that knowledge of government surveillance causes people to self-censor their dissenting opinions online. The research offers a sobering look at the oft-touted "democratizing" effect of social media and Internet access that bolsters minority opinion.
The study, published in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, studied the effects of subtle reminders of mass surveillance on its subjects. The majority of participants reacted by suppressing opinions that they perceived to be in the minority. This research illustrates the silencing effect of participants’ dissenting opinions in the wake of widespread knowledge of government surveillance, as revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.
From Mass surveillance silences minority opinions, according to study - The Washington Post
Submitted by Blake on March 20, 2016 - 6:33pm
Look, the impact of this “ethics” policy is going to be small. The number of people who want to listen to podcasts but won’t figure out how to download one without Steve Inskeep walking them through the process is tiny. There are plenty of ways NPR One can be effectively marketed through digital channels. But the issue here isn’t the impact of the policy — it’s what it tells us about NPR’s underlying strategy. Again, I have enormous sympathy for the people making these decisions at NPR — just as I had enormous sympathy for those working through an analogous set of questions at newspapers 5 or 10 years ago. But if you see a future, at a certain point you’ve got to commit to getting there.
Submitted by John on March 17, 2016 - 8:27pm
Submitted by Blake on March 14, 2016 - 8:09am
Our mission is to build and operate a nonprofit search engine for the Web.
The Web is now a critical resource for humanity, of which search engines are the arbiters. They decide which websites get traffic, which companies survive, which ideas spread.
The Web is currently in danger because the only arbiters available to us are all profit-seeking companies.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with profit-seeking. It has been a tremendous driver for innovation, and will continue to be. What is wrong is not being able to choose an alternative.
This is why we are building a new kind of search engine: open, transparent and independent.
Just like an arbiter should be.
From Our mission - Common Search
Submitted by Blake on March 4, 2016 - 9:16am
We can be smarter than this. We need to regulate what corporations can do with our data at every stage: collection, storage, use, resale and disposal. We can make corporate executives personally liable so they know there's a downside to taking chances. We can make the business models that involve massively surveilling people the less compelling ones, simply by making certain business practices illegal.
From Data Is a Toxic Asset - Schneier on Security
Submitted by Blake on March 1, 2016 - 10:07am
Earlier this month, documents related to the grant were leaked to and published by The Signpost, Wikipedia's online newspaper. In a special report, The Signpost published the 13-page grant agreement and ran an article asserting that the "Knowledge Engine" would be, contrary to statements by Jimmy Wales and other board members, some type of generalized Internet search engine. "The presentation contrasts the ideals and motivations of commercial search engines—they 'highlight paid results, track users' internet habits, sell information to marketing firms'—with those of 'Wikipedia Search', which will be private, transparent, and globally representative," wrote The Signpost. "It repeatedly stressed that "no other search engines carry these ideals."
From Wikimedia Foundation director resigns after uproar over “Knowledge Engine” | Ars Technica
Submitted by Blake on February 28, 2016 - 10:40am
“I felt conflicted, frankly,” said Steve Song, a telecommunications policy activist. “I do think it’s problematic to have one of the largest companies in the world managing a large chunk of the world’s personal data. It’s clearly an issue that we need to be thinking about, and we don’t want to—in the name of doing something good—unintentionally do something bad by creating a de facto monopoly. At the same time, I felt that it just didn’t seem ethical to say, ‘You should just turn this service off.’”
From The Plan to Give Every Cellphone User Free Data - The Atlantic
Submitted by Blake on February 25, 2016 - 5:56pm
Besides saving lives by making 48 million research papers accessible to patients and doctors, Sci-Hub to me signifies that the scientific community (well, admittedly, a tiny proportion of it), is starting to lose its patience and becomes ready for more revolutionary reform options. A signal that the community starts to feel that it is running out of options for evolutionary change. To me, Sci-Hub signals that publisher behavior, collectively, over the last two decades has been such a gigantic affront to scholars that civil disobedience is a justifiable escalation. Personally, I would tend to hope that Sci-Hub (and potentially following, increasingly radical measures) would signal that time has run out and that the scientific community is now ready to shift gears and embark on a more effective strategy for infrastructure reform.
Although I realize that it’s probably wishful thinking.
From bjoern.brembs.blog » Sci-Hub as necessary, effective civil disobedience
Submitted by Blake on February 25, 2016 - 1:02pm
IFLA urges library professionals to participate in policy discussions about the right to be forgotten, while both supporting the right to privacy for individual citizens and assisting individuals in their searches for information. To this effect, library professionals should:
Raise awareness among policy makers to ensure that the right to be forgotten does not apply where retaining links in search engine results is necessary for historical, statistical and research purposes; for reasons of public interest; or for the exercise of the right of freedom of expression.
From IFLA issues Statement on Right to be Forgotten
Submitted by Blake on February 24, 2016 - 10:03pm
We’re not being asked to choose between security and privacy. We’re being asked to choose between less security and more security.
This trade-off isn’t new. In the mid-1990s, cryptographers argued that escrowing encryption keys with central authorities would weaken security. In 2011, cybersecurity researcher Susan Landau published her excellent book Surveillance or Security?, which deftly parsed the details of this trade-off and concluded that security is far more important. Ubiquitous encryption protects us much more from bulk surveillance than from targeted surveillance. For a variety of technical reasons, computer security is extraordinarily weak.
If a sufficiently skilled, funded, and motivated attacker wants in to your computer, they’re in. If they’re not, it’s because you’re not high enough on their priority list to bother with. Widespread encryption forces the listener – whether a foreign government, criminal, or terrorist – to target. And this hurts repressive governments much more than it hurts terrorists and criminals.
From Don't Panic Making Progress On The "Going Dark" Debate [PDF]
Submitted by Blake on February 15, 2016 - 7:48am
For now, assume that all your digital data is accessible by a single instance, say your government. In this case you provide your government with incredible control over yourself and also your relatives. A mere measurement of how defiant you are could be dangerous for you, depending on where you live. Furthermore, someone gazing at your data is not required to remain inactive. One might try to manipulate your opinion by placing solely the content on (social) media platforms that you are supposed to see.
From The dark side of big data
Submitted by Blake on February 13, 2016 - 4:43pm
The current User Agreement is too complicated, which allows large companies to take advantage of user ignorance. What can be done to change it?
Submitted by Blake on February 11, 2016 - 6:14pm
And that's by targeting secondary education. By working with 35 school districts across the state, the Office of Broadband Development will use the Federal Communication Commission's E-rate Modernization Order, which makes it possible for schools and libraries to construct and operate their own fiber networks. The districts will make competitive bids, and if their needs qualify as more cost-effective than lit services, they can take advantage of the match-rate program.
"Through this program, if the state will help pay required match, the FCC will kick in an additional 10 percent, making it possible for schools and libraries to build and own their fiber network that is paid for up to 90 percent with federal funds," Johnson said. "This offer was made available due to the high cost of getting adequate connectivity to schools and libraries."
From Why Alabama plans to use schools, libraries to fill broadband coverage gaps - Birmingham Business Journal
Submitted by Blake on January 22, 2016 - 11:13am
Update, January 21: The story of Wikipedia and libraries is being changed, updated, improved and broadened around the world this week. Forty-four news agencies and blogs have mentioned the #1Lib1Ref campaign, which has also received support from The Internet Archive, TechConnect, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. At press time, 983 tweets use the hashtag. You can follow along with the campaign on Twitter by watching the hashtag and following @WikiLibrary. Urge your local librarian(s) to join this global movement!
From Updated: the story of Wikipedia and libraries is being rewritten around the world this week with #1Lib1Ref « Wikimedia blog
Submitted by Blake on January 20, 2016 - 8:05am
So get used to these five. Based on their stock prices this month, the giants are among the top 10 most valuable American companies of any kind. Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft are the top three; Facebook is No. 7, and Amazon is No. 9. Wall Street gives each high marks for management; and three of them — Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook — are controlled by founders who don’t have to bow to the whims of potential activist investors.
From Tech’s ‘Frightful 5’ Will Dominate Digital Life for Foreseeable Future - The New York Times
Submitted by Blake on January 16, 2016 - 9:35am
Submitted by Blake on January 15, 2016 - 9:07am
It’s Wikipedia’s 15th birthday
This year we’re celebrating 15 years of free and open knowledge—learning, discovery, and joy for people on every continent ⟩
To ensure future support for this vision, we are pleased to announce the creation of the Wikimedia Endowment ⟩
From Wikipedia 15