Four short links: 2 December 2009

Dow Jones Tanty, When a Purchase Isn't a Purchase, Surveillance Surprises, and an Open World Bank?

  1. Dow Jones CEO’s Sandbox Tantrum — keynote by Dow Jones CEO at the World Newspaper Congress. Highlights include: “the content kleptomaniacs of the Internet”, “a lot of newspaper people were taken in by
    the game-changing gospel of the internet age”
    , “Free costs too much”, “Consumers will seek the valuable over the vapid because they always do”. Dow Jones is owned by News Corp, whose Rupert Murdoch is on a campaign to build a Maginot paywall around news.
  2. What Does It Mean to “Buy” an Ebook?There is a disconnect of language here, probably a side effect of legacy businesses working with their legal teams to try and grab control while the consumer base, disorganized as it naturally is, is expected if not forced to make its arguments with the rubric set by the producers. In other words, “buying” an e-book is different than “buying” a book, even though from the consumer’s standpoint, it shouldn’t be.
  3. 8 Million Reasons for Real Surveillance Oversight — Sprint set up a self-service portal for law enforcement and returned 8 million requests for cellphone GPS locations in the first year. This is an incredibly comprehensive analysis of published and revealed numbers of surveillance–it’s orders of magnitude larger than anyone had realised. See also the leaked law enforcement howtos from Facebook, MySpace, and Yahoo!.
  4. World Bank Announces Landmark Policy on Access to InformationThe policy on access to information provides for the disclosure of more information than ever before – on projects under preparation, projects under implementation, analytic and advisory activities (AAA), and Board proceedings. This information will be easily accessible on the World Bank’s external website and available through the InfoShop, public information centers, and the World Bank Group Archives. At the same time, the policy strikes a balance between maximum access to information and respect for the confidentiality of information pertaining to its clients, shareholders, employees, and other parties. Recognizing that the sensitivity of some information declines over time, the policy provides for the eventual declassification and disclosure of restricted information over a period of five, 10 or 20 years, depending upon information type. A major international institution promises transparency, one which has been criticised for secrecy and opacity in the past.
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