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Posts filed under 'audio'

Radio Berkman 238: Fake News & How To Stop It

Listen: or download | …also in Ogg

Even before Election Day, 2016, observers of technology & journalism were delivering warnings about the spread of fake news. Headlines like “Pope Francis Shocks World, Endorses Donald Trump For President” and “Donald Trump Protestor Speaks Out, Was Paid $3500 To Protest” would pop up, seemingly out of nowhere, and spread like wildfire.

Both of those headlines, and hundreds more like them, racked up millions of views and shares on social networks, gaining enough traction to earn mentions in the mainstream press. Fact checkers only had to dig one layer deeper to find that the original publishers of these stories were entirely fake, clickbait news sites, making up false sources, quotes, and images, often impersonating legitimate news outlets, like ABC, and taking home thousands of dollars a month in ad revenue. But by that time, the damage of fake news was done – the story of the $3500 protestor already calcified in the minds of the casual news observer as fact.

It turns out that it’s not enough to expect your average person to be able to tell the difference between news that is true and news that seems true. Unlike the food companies who create the products on our grocery shelves, news media are not required by law to be licensed, inspected, or bear a label of ingredients and nutrition facts, not that they should or could be.

But the gatekeepers of news media that we encounter in the digital age – the social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, search engines like Google, and content hosts like YouTube – could and should be pitching in to help news consumers navigate the polluted sea of content they interact with on a daily basis.

That’s according to Berkman Klein Center co-founder Jonathan Zittrain and Zeynep Tufekci, a techno-sociologist who researches the intersection of politics, news, and the internet. They joined us recently to discuss the phenomenon of fake news and what platforms can do to stop it.

Facebook and Google have recently instituted to processes to remove fake news sites from their ad networks. And since this interview Facebook has also announced options allowing users to flag fake news, and a partnership with the factchecking website Snopes to offer a layer of verification on questionable sites.

Reference Section

Zeynep Tufekci, “Mark Zuckerberg is in Denial”
Jonathan Zittrain’s Tweetstorm on Fake News

CC-licensed content this week:
Neurowaxx: “Pop Circus”
Photo by Flickr user gazeronly

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December 15th, 2016

Dalia Topelson Ritvo and Kira Hessekiel: Exploring Corporate Structures and Governance Models for the Open-Source Community [AUDIO]

Organizations that develop open source software are often inherently fragmented and loosely-networked, which can make governance and decision-making a challenge. In addition, as the open source community grows and becomes more global, so too has the need to establish strong governance models and corporate structures that allow an organization to achieve its mission, and foster a sustainable community both creatively and financially. In order to do this, it is helpful for open source organizations to understand the corporate structures and governance models available to them so they may evaluate the pros and cons of different approaches to institutional management and financial structure.

In this talk, Dalia Topelson Ritvo — Assistant Director of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic — and Kira Hessekiel — Project Coordinator of Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic — discuss the various corporate structures and governance models available to open source organizations, including a discussion on when it is appropriate for an open source organization to seek tax exempt status.

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May 31st, 2016

Michel Bauwens: Are We Shifting to a New Post-Capitalist Value Regime? [AUDIO]

Every 500 years or so, European civilization and now world civilization, has been rocked by fundamental shifts in its value regime, in which the rules of the game for acquiring wealth and livelihoods have dramatically changed. Following Benkler’s seminal Wealth of Networks, which first identifies peer production, the P2P Foundation has collated a vast amount of empirical evidence of newly emerging value practices, which exist in a uneasy relationship with the dominant political economy, and of which some authors claim, like Jeremy Rifkin and Paul Mason, that it augurs a fundamental shift. What would be the conditions for this new regime to become autonomous and even dominant, and what are the signs of it happening? As context, we will be using the Tribes, Institutions, Markets, Networks framework of David Ronfeldt, the Relational Grammar of Alan Page Fiske, and the evolution of modes of exchange as described by Kojin Karatini in The Structure of World History. We will argue that there is consistent evidence that the structural crises of the dominant political economy is leading to responses that are prefigurative of a new value regime, of which the seed forms can be clearly discerned.

About Michel

Michel Bauwens is the founder and director of the P2P Foundation and works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of peer production, governance, and property. Bauwens travels extensively giving workshops and lectures on P2P and the Commons as emergent paradigms and the opportunities they present to move towards a post-capitalist world.

In the first semester of 2014, Bauwens was research director of the which produced the first integrated Commons Transition Plan for the government of Ecuador, in order to create policies for a ‘social knowledge economy’.

In January 2015 was launched. Commons Transition builds on the work of the FLOK Society and features newly revised and updated, non-region specific versions of these policy documents. Commons Transition aims toward a society of the Commons that would enable a more egalitarian, just, and environmentally stable world.

He is a founding member of the Commons Strategies Group, with Silke Helfrich and David Bollier, who have organised major global conferences on the commons and economics.

His recent book ‘Save the world – Towards a Post Capitalist Society with P2P’ is based on a series of interviews with Jean Lievens, originally published in Dutch in 2014 it has since been translated and published in French with an English language publication expected in the near future

In more academic work Michel co-authored with Vasilis Kostakis ‘Network Society and Future Scenarios for a Collaborative Economy’ published by Palgrave Pivot in 2014.

He has also writen for Al Jazeera and Open Democracy. He is listed at #82, on the Post Growth Institute (En)Rich list.

Michel currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


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May 24th, 2016

Radio Berkman 237: The Chilling Effect

23587980033_8e9d0b5cb5_bListen: or download | …also in Ogg

The effects of surveillance on human behavior have long been discussed and documented in the real world. That nervous feeling you get when you notice a police officer or a security camera? The one that forces you to straighten up and be on your best behavior, even if you’re doing nothing wrong? It’s quite common.

The sense of being monitored can cause you to quit engaging in activities that are perfectly legal, even desirable, too. It’s a kind of “chilling effect.” And it turns out it even happens online.

Researcher Jon Penney wanted to know how the feeling of being watched or judged online might affect Internet users’ behavior. Does knowledge of the NSA’s surveillance programs affect whether people feel comfortable looking at articles on terrorism? Do threats of copyright law retaliation make people less likely to publish blog posts?

Penney’s research showed that, yes, the chilling effect has hit the web. On today’s podcast we talk about how he did his research, and why chilling effects are problematic for free speech and civil society.

Reference Section
Watch Jon Penney’s recent talk and read a recap
Follow Penney on Twitter

Creative Commons photo via Flickr user fotograzio

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May 18th, 2016

Vikki S. Katz on How Lower-Income Families Respond to Digital Equity Challenges [AUDIO]

While 94% of parents raising school-age children below the U.S. median household income have an Internet connection, more than half are “under-connected,” in that their Internet connection is too slow, has been interrupted in the past year due to non-payment, and/or they share their Internet-connected devices with too many people.

In this talk, Vikki Katz — Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, and Affiliate Graduate Faculty in the Department of Sociology, at Rutgers University — discusses how being under-connected impacts the everyday lives of lower-income parents and children, how parents assess the risks and rewards that connectivity can offer their children, and the implications of under-connectedness for policy development and program reform.

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May 17th, 2016

Ellery Biddle on The Internetish Things of Cuba: Open Source and ‘in the Clear’ [AUDIO]

What is it like to use the Internet in fits and starts? How do communities with limited access to the global Internet use digital tools? Beyond sensational media narratives about Havana’s WiFi hotspots and the paquete semanal, there is a complex landscape of Internet access, digital media use and open source software development in Cuba. In this talk Ellery Biddle — Advocacy Director for Global Voices and Berkman Fellow — offers a primer on Cuba’s digital culture and critique of Western political narratives surrounding technology, freedom and empowerment as they apply in the Cuban context.

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May 11th, 2016

Brittany Seymour on Social Communication Strategies for Public Health [AUDIO]

The social nature of today’s Internet is creating new public health and policy challenges. For example, the US in 2014 experienced the largest measles outbreak in nearly a generation, which led to the passing of the nation’s most conservative vaccine legislation, eliminating the personal belief exemption in California. Research has identified online misinformation about vaccines as one of the risk factors for this outbreak.

In this talk, Dr. Brittany Seymour — Assistant Professor at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Berkman Fellow — examines three big data case analyses (water fluoridation, the Ebola epidemic, and childhood vaccinations) to explore ways to employ network science to develop social communication strategies for public health that using the power of the Internet.

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May 10th, 2016

Dr. Michel Reymond on Finding Common Standards for the Right to be Forgotten [AUDIO]

Following the 2014 Google Spain decision rendered by the European Court of Justice of the European Union, search engines – and, first among them, Google – are tasked with the delisting of search results leading to outdated or inaccurate information about European citizens. This ‘right to be delisted’ has since then revealed itself as a highly controversial concept, raising issues such as the desired degree of protection of personal data over the Internet and the role of the act of forgetting in the digital age; it also highlighted the lack of an existing consensus over these questions between individual jurisdictions – and namely between the European Union and the United States.

On 14 April 2016, the European Parliament has adopted the General Data Protection Regulation, which will, in two years from now, update and harmonize data protection law all across the Member States of the European Union. Its article 17 contains a ‘right to erasure’ or a ‘right to be forgotten’ which is set to formalize, unify and extend the existing Google Spain ruling.

But how to make that happen in practice? How can legal fragmentation be prevented? Relying on his background in conflict of laws, Dr. Michel Reymond shows that finding common standards for the Right to be Forgotten will prove extremely difficult – not only regarding its procedural elements, but also when addressing its substance. He also argues that, before even starting a conversation between the U.S. and the E.U., some soul-searching about the nature of the right may need to be performed inside the E.U. itself first.

About Michel

Dr. Michel J. Reymond is currently a visiting researcher at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society under a stipend from the Swiss National Foundation. With a background in private international law and comparative law at the University of Geneva, his work is mainly centered on the relationship between regulation, competing legal orders, and the Internet. His PhD thesis, which was developed alongside Prof. Thomas Kadner Graziano, focused on defamation on the Internet in private international law. More recently, his topics of research have included wider issues about Internet regulation, and in particular the “right to be forgotten” decision by the European Court of Justice. Having served as assistant for 3 years at his home university, Michel J. Reymond is also dedicated to teaching and has notably coached local students for the Vienna Moot Court Competition.

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May 4th, 2016

Carl Williams on Black 2.0: the New Liberation Movement [AUDIO]

Carl Williams joins us to speak about the current Black Liberation movement. What and who it is, how it started, and how Twitter, Facebook (yes, Facebook) and other social media played a part.

About Carl

Carl joined the ACLU of Massachusetts as staff attorney in September 2013. He was previously a criminal defense attorney with the Roxbury Defenders Unit of the Committee for Public Counsel Services. Carl is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and the University of Wisconsin Law School.

A long-time resident of Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, he has been an activist and organizer on issues of war, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ rights, racial justice and Palestinian self-determination. Carl is a member of the National Lawyers Guild and has served on its Massachusetts board of directors. During the Occupy Boston movement he was part of its legal defense and support team, which provided nearly 24-hour support to the participants.

More recently, Carl was a Givelber Distinguished Lecturer on Public Interest Law at Northeastern University School of Law, where he taught a class on social justice movements and the law.

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May 3rd, 2016

Radio Berkman 236: Star Wars vs Copyright

kalexandersonListen:or download | …also in Ogg

“George Lucas built a whole new industry with Star Wars.” says Peter S. Menell, devoted science fiction fan and a professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law, who studies copyright and intellectual property law. “But what funds that remarkable company is their ways of using copyright.”

And he’s right. A third of the profits LucasFilm pulls in from Star Wars has come from merchandising alone. Not ticket sales, not DVDs, not video games or books. Toys, clothes, and weird tie-ins like tauntaun sleeping bags and wookie hair conditioner.

But fans of Star Wars, and other stratospherically profitable creative universes, increasingly like to become creators within those universes. They write books, they make costumes, they direct spinoffs and upload them to YouTube.

And sometimes they make money.

How does law come into play when fans start to reinterpret intellectual property? We sat down with Menell to see where the tensions lie between the law, the courts, and the George Lucases of the world.

Reference Section

Creative Commons music used in this episode:
David Szesztay “Morning One”
Broke For Free “Something Elated”

Image courtesy of Flickr user: kalexanderson

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May 2nd, 2016

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