Freedom House, an independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom around the world, has released its fourth report in a series of comprehensive studies of internet freedom around the globe. It covers developments in 60 countries that occurred between May 2012 and April 2013.
- Freedom on the Net 2013: Despite Pushback, Internet Freedom Deteriorates. (press release, interactive maps, etc.).
This edition's findings indicate that internet freedom worldwide is in decline, with 34 out of 60 countries assessed in the report experiencing a negative trajectory during the coverage period. Broad surveillance, new laws controlling web content, and growing arrests of social-media users drove this overall decline in internet freedom in the past year.
- Freedom On The Net 2013: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media ("summary of findings" 45pp PDF) edited by Sanja Kelly Mai Truong Madeline Earp Laura Reed Adrian Shahbaz Ashley Greco-Stoner. (October 3, 2013).
- U.S. ranks fourth in Internet freedom as surveillance grows worldwide, By Colin Neagle, Network World (October 04, 2013).
Internet freedom has declined in the United States over the past year as a result of its surveillance policies, reflecting a trend that appears to have caught on worldwide, according to a recently released study.
Not Your Grandfather's Web Any More, a project briefing from the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) spring 2013 member meeting by David S.H. Rosenthal of LOCKSS and Kris Carpenter Negulescu of the Internet Archive, is now available on CNI's video channels:
What are the practical and theoretical archiving problems posed by the newer parts of the Web, like social media, scientific workflows and Web services? How can the challenges of these latest developments be met, if at all? This presentation reports on the results of a workshop held at the Library of Congress under the auspices of the International Internet Preservation Consortium, where practitioners of Web archiving reviewed these questions. More information about this talk, including presentation slides, is available on the CNI site.
More news and new resources via INFOdocket.com.
From a NextGov Article:
Nearly one-fifth of federal Web domains are inactive and one-fourth redirect to other dot-gov sites, according to an inventory conducted between August and October.
Active government domains employ 150 different content management systems, a hodgepodge of design templates that vary wildly from one division to the next, and a host of different performance metrics, according to a report compiled by the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget.
The report lists 1,489 total government Web domains and about 11,000 websites.
At most of the inactive sites in the report, agencies appear to own the Web domain name but are no longer maintaining it. Some sites mayhave been shut down as part of the reform initiative, though.
Read the Complete Article
FGI volunteer ShinJoung Yeo reviews two books about global political struggles to govern the world's distributed communication infrastructure.
- Access Controlled: The Shaping of Power, Rights, and Rule in Cyberspace; Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance, by ShinJoung Yeo, JASIST, Volume 62, Issue 8, pages 1647-1649, August 2011. Article first published online: 9 MAY 2011. [subscription required]
A recent series of events--Google's dispute with China, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech on Internet freedom, the Egyptian government shutting off nearly all Internet services during the 2011 pro-democracy revolution, .xxx domain approval by ICANN after much political controversy--is indicative of the heightening global politics surrounding the Internet.
Two books--Access Controlled: The Shaping of Power, Rights, and Rule in Cyberspace, edited by Ronald J. Deibert, John G. Palfrey, Rafal Rohozinski, and Jonathan Zittrain, and Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance, by Milton L. Mueller--have drawn attention and provide context to exactly these global political struggles to govern the world's distributed communication infrastructure, increase governments' efforts to control, and reassert sovereignty rights over cyberspace by nation states. Both books contribute to explicating the complex tensions between nation states and the extraterritorial nature of the Internet.
...If one has not yet been convinced that the Internet is far from value neutral, once again these books corroborate and stress the fact that cyberspace has grown ever more tightly intertwined with global political economy and has become a site of political, economic, and cultural struggle among nation states.
Eli Pariser, founder of MoveOn.org and author of The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You, gave a very interesting and smart -- and somewhat disconcerting -- talk at TED in Long Beach, CA in February, 2011. Pariser points out the unintended consequences embedded in search personalization where users get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden their worldview.
Interesting new book about The Internet:
- A History of the Internet and the Digital Future, by Johnny Ryan.
A History of the Internet and the Digital Future tells the story of the development of the Internet from the 1950s to the present, and examines how the balance of power has shifted between the individual and the state in the areas of censorship, copyright infringement, intellectual freedom and terrorism and warfare. Johnny Ryan explains how the Internet has revolutionized political campaigns; how the development of the World Wide Web enfranchised a new online population of assertive, niche consumers; and how the dot-com bust taught smarter firms to capitalize on the power of digital artisans.
In the coming years, platforms such as the iPhone and Android rise or fall depending on their treading the line between proprietary control and open innovation. The trends of the past may hold out hope for the record and newspaper industry. From the government-controlled systems of the ColdWar to today’s move towards cloud computing, user-driven content and the new global commons, this book reveals the trends that are shaping the businesses, politics, and media of the digital future.
An excerpt available at ars technica:
- How the atom bomb helped give birth to the Internet, By Johnny Ryan, ars technica.
Ars Technica is proud to present three chapters from the book, condensed and adapted for our readers. This first installment is adapted from Chapter 1, "A Concept Born in the Shadow of the Nuke," and it looks at the role that the prospect of nuclear war played in the technical and policy decisions that gave rise to the Internet.
It was twenty years ago (December 1990) when the World Wide Web went live on the desktop of its inventor, Tim Berners-Lee. But today, Berners-Lee says that the web is threatened.
- Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality, By Tim Berners-Lee, Scientific American (November 22, 2010).
The Web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles. Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web. Wireless Internet providers are being tempted to slow traffic to sites with which they have not made deals. Governments -- totalitarian and democratic alike -- are monitoring people’s online habits, endangering important human rights.
If you only read one article this Thanksgiving week, Tim's is the one. Contrast his vision of the web as being essential to democracy with the view from Wired magazine from August:
- The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet, By Chris Anderson and Michael Wolff, Wired, (August 17, 2010).
Two decades after its birth, the World Wide Web is in decline, as simpler, sleeker services -- think apps -- are less about the searching and more about the getting. Chris Anderson explains how this new paradigm reflects the inevitable course of capitalism. And Michael Wolff explains why the new breed of media titan is forsaking the Web for more promising (and profitable) pastures.
...The story of industrial revolutions, after all, is a story of battles over control. A technology is invented, it spreads, a thousand flowers bloom, and then someone finds a way to own it, locking out others. It happens every time.
"The Federal Communications Commission released its National Broadband Plan Consumer Survey, Broadband Adoption and Use in America, which found that affordability and lack of digital skills are the main reasons why 93 million Americans -- one-third of the country -- are not connected to high-speed Internet at home." (from the February 23, 2010 press release 93 MILLION AMERICANS DISCONNECTED FROM BROADBAND OPPORTUNITIES):
- Broadband Adoption and Use in America, OBI Working Paper Series no. 1, By John B. Horrigan, Federal Communications Commission, 2010. (52 pages. PDF)
The FCC conducted a survey of 5,005 Americans in October and November 2009 in an effort to understand the state of broadband adoption and use, as well as barriers facing those who do not have broadband at home....
The main dividing lines for access are along socioeconomic dimensions such as income and education....
There are three primary reasons why the 35 percent of non-adopting americans do not have broadband: cost, lack of digital literacy and broadband is not sufficiently relevant for them to purchase it...
See also: FCC Survey Shows Need to Teach Broadband Basics, By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, New York Times (February 23, 2010).
Happy anniversary Internet! it was 40 years ago, on December 5th, 1969 that the original 4 node network of ARPANET -- the experimental network built with funding from Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) of the US Defense Department -- was connected. For more, see the exhibit at the Computer History Museum.
The initial ARPANET consisted of four IMPs. They were installed at:
- UCLA, where Leonard Kleinrock had established a Network Measurement Center (with an SDS Sigma 7 being the first computer attached to it).
- The Stanford Research Institute's Augmentation Research Center, where Douglas Engelbart had created the ground-breaking NLS system, a very important early hypertext system (with the SDS 940 that ran NLS, named 'Genie', being the first host attached).
- UC Santa Barbara (with the Culler-Fried Interactive Mathematics Centre's IBM 360/75, running OS/MVT being the machine attached).
- The University of Utah's Computer Science Department, where Ivan Sutherland had moved (for a DEC PDP-10 running TENEX).