David Lazer on the properties of network power

Live blogging from the workshop “From Social Network to Social Movement” at Harvard Law School. David Lazer from the Harvard Kennedy School is presenting on the properties of network power. You can also follow on Twitter: #HLSsocnetworks

Definition of network: a network is a set of units (be them people or organizations) and a set of attachments amongst those units. Definition of power: 1) Individual and group access to resources. Where you are in the network influences your access to resources. How does power flow from people who have power to actual formulation of policy? 2) Collective capacity to organize – how do networks enable or inhibit the growth of certain social movements? Continue reading

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E tu, non provi Herdict?

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La Pecora Bianca presenta Herdict, uno straordinario nuovo sito che aiuta gli utenti a riprendere controllo della Rete. Hai problemi con siti in parte o del tutto inaccessibili? Prova ad usare Herdict su: http://herdict.org.

Herdict.org e’ un progetto del Berkman Center for Internet & Society, all’Universita’ di Harvard, ideato da Jonathan Zittrain e dalla OpenNet Initiative (ONI) che permette agli utenti di Internet di tutto il mondo di raccogliere e condividere segnalazioni di malfunzionamenti e blocchi volontari di diversi siti o pagine Web. Per ulteriori informazioni, leggi: “Herdict, la Mappa Mondiale della Censura“.

Posted in All, Censorship and filtering, Internet in Italy, The Internet and Society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

the new facebook home page

In the past couple of days Facebook has been rolling out to its users a new homepage. This is the second time that Facebook changes dramatically its look. While there was great upheaval against the first change in the home page compared to the original Facebook (where fun applications, superpoking and friend hugging held center stage), I think it can be safely argued that the change was a great improvement in terms of making Facebook a much more functional website where to share information (in the form of links, photos and news feeds) with other people in your network.

This second change in the look of Facebook, however (which now makes your homepage very much look like Twitter, a site which has been growing exponentially in popularity) has a new rationale behind it. It is not anymore about making the sharing of information with your friends easier, it is about providing real time access to information about your friends. Indeed, status updates now appear to be the same as any other wall post made by your friends, while finding out about other friends activities (posting of photos, groups joint, people friended) is now messy and more difficult. Continue reading

Posted in All, Digital Natives, The Internet and Society | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Am I the only one being blocked?

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Today, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University has officially launched: http://www.herdict.org — a tool that employs the distributed power of the Internet community to provide insight into what users around the world are experiencing in terms of web accessibility.

Everyone is invited to explore http://www.herdict.org and participate by reporting websites that they cannot access, testing sites that others have reported, or downloading the browser add-on for reporting sites on the fly. Herdict Web aggregates reports in real time, permitting participants to see if inaccessibility is a shared problem, giving them a better sense of potential reasons for why a site is inaccessible. Trends can be viewed over time, by site and by country.

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Internet censorship arrives in Italy

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In an effort to regulate the Internet, as part of a package of laws to safeguard national security, the Italian Government has recently proposed an amendment which in practice – if approved – would oblige all Italian ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to block a site (be this a website, a blog or a social media site such as Facebook or Youtube) where material has been posted which is believed to defend or instigate a crime [Bloomberg's reporting the news here].

This amendment does not talk about merely deleting the material which is believed to be criminal/illegal but about filtering/blocking/blacking out/preventing access to the entire website if the manager of the site did not take down such material. For example, if Facebook did not shut down groups such as the ones which have recently come to the spotlight for praising Mafia bosses, Italian ISPs would be in fact obliged to block access to the whole of Facebook, or be fined (from 50,000 to 250,000 Euros).

The decision of whether such material is in fact illegal would not go to the Courts of Law but would be taken directly by the Minister of the Interior, with no opportunity for trial in front of Magistrates. The amendment has already been approved by the Senate and is waiting to be discussed at the Chamber of Deputies.

Commentators from blogger Beppe Grillo to Italian politician Antonio di Pietro have voiced their protests against this amendment which – if it becomes law – would in fact curtail freedom of expression — and potentially allow the shutting down of thousands of voices on the Web. According to di Pietro [English version here] the amendment is unconstitutional and anti-democratic thereby putting Italy in the same situation of countries such as China and Burma where Internet filtering is widespread. In his blog Beppe Grillo reports an interview with Senator D’Alia [English version here] where the Senator explains how the amendment would in fact work.

A group has been created on Facebook against this amendment – where materials such as editorials and comments can be found – for more information see also: http://www.baoad.it/facebook-censored/.

Posted in All, Censorship and filtering, Internet in Italy | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

CONTRO LA CENSURA DELLA RETE E DI FACEBOOK

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The news breaks out first on blogs and the Internet: Obama’s first interview

It has been about two hours since CNN has shown on cable tv snippets of Obama’s first interview with Al-Arabiya TV station but no news of it appears yet on any of the major news and newspapers’ websites both national and international. The Huffington post, however, has documented it and posted a video and a transcript here and several other blogs are sharing and commenting the news.

Posted in All, Political Participation, The Internet and Society | Tagged , , | 1 Comment