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Challenges and opportunities for freedom of expression in the networked environment

News Stories (14th - 20th March 2007)

info: Submitted by Lisa Horner on Tue, 2007-03-27 12:40.

Information and Debate

Boost for web content labelling
A company is rolling out technology that will label content on the web, making it easier for users to find certain sites. For example, it could label blogs that have agreed to meet certain editorial standards. Does this have the potential to reduce ‘information overload’ and disinformation on the web?

Civil Society

Activism in the Taiwanese blogosphere
Taiwanese bloggers help to save a sanatorium for leprosy patients.

Democracy

The web watchdog biting Kenya’s MPs
Bloggers in Kenya launch a website to scrutinise the actions of parliament, the first of its kind in Africa. Most of the site’s audience come from rural areas, suggesting that, even in poor countries, the internet has the potential to strengthen democracy.

MySpace launches a political channel
The social networking site MySpace will be launching a section dedicated to politics that will help users navigate politicians’ pages in the run up to the 2008 presidential elections. Recent statistics reveal that the use of social networking sites in the USA is growing rapidly, with MySpace still dominating the market.

Google search data will be anonymous
Privacy organisations have congratulated Google on its decision to ensure that search data cannot be traced back to individual users after two years, reducing possibilities of it being used by governments or companies to monitor users.

‘Big Brother’ surveillance makes waves in Sweden
Plans to permit the tapping of all telephone and internet communication by the Swedish government have sparked controversy.

Culture and Education

Digital lock’s rights and wrongs
Discussion piece about the pros and cons of digital rights management, the technologies that are designed to prevent digital copyright infringement.

Drivers of Change

UK regulator Ofcom looks into pay TV industry
Following battles between the newly launched Virgin Media and News Corporation’s Sky TV, UK regulators are launching an investigation into the digital television market. ‘Quadruple-play’ and ‘Triple-play’, in which companies offer a range of services from television to internet access, are increasing across the world, with the latest announcements coming from Brazil. This raises questions about maintaining sufficient openness and competition between companies in the interests of consumers.

Vietnam - Free phones for the poor
A Vietnamese telecommunication company plans to give free wireless phones and a year’s subscription to poor families.

European Commission warns mobile TV to standardise
Mobile phone operators offering TV services via mobile phones have been urged to adopt common technological standards by the European Commission. Standardisation can spur innovation and mean that the same TV programmes can be viewed by users on different networks, potentially increasing consumer choice. The EU is also behind moves to cut the costs of using phones. whilst travelling overseas

Data on the world’s fastest growing mobile phone markets , nearly all of which are ‘developing’ countries.

Freedom of Speech

Translation of an interview with a Chinese academic about free speech and the media in China