Monday's News & Links
- Yesterday's New York Times ran an article on Google's ever-expanding book search. I have found Google's book search to be an amazing tool when doing scholarly work. It is encouraging that they are working with publishers and authors to share profits from ads on book searches.
- China's government may be upping the ante in their censorship efforts. The Chinese government recently issued a statement condemning major Chinese & international web entities, including Google, for how easily pornography can be accessed online. Google's policy is to cater search results to specific countries' laws by monitoring IP addresses (for instance, in several European countries it is unlawful to seek out Nazi related material so Nazi related websites are filtered out of their Google search results). Google has also stated they would prefer countries to lift their content bans to Google making judgments as to what is acceptable within the laws of each nation. Our literary history is filled with fantastical conceptions of Utopian societies (not to mention real-life attempts to create Utopian societies on this Earth). A single society without censorship laws would be an interesting first step.
- Lawrence Lessig argues that FCC regulations should be eliminated to promote technological innovation. I am cheating a bit here, in that it is not Monday's news but the article is worth your time. While the two domains are vastly different it is interesting to see a respected intellectual in the field of communications press for deregulation as the world suffers through a recession most blame on deregulating the financial markets. At the moment I cannot think of a way this sort of deregulation could cause a global crisis but I suspect the possibility exists.
- Turkey's government is still in the midst of a longstanding debate over how to handle YouTube in a country where content insulting Turkey's modern founder Ataturk is illegal. Most recently there was a judicial ruling banning YouTube entirely. Turkey is yet another government facing difficult decisions about censorship laws created in parochial world as we now live in an inescapably international world.
- Facebook has been flagging breast feeding photos for removal. Despite online and offline protests by breast feeding mothers, they have no intent to change their policy. I am surprised by Facebook's stance on this issue, which is essentially a shrug and a "those are the rules." Which is a disconcerting, thoughtless, anti-woman response. It does not take an acrobatic reading to see this as Facebook deeming women's bodies and women's relationships to their infants as obscene.
- It turns out Israel's new media campaign to justify its attacks in Gaza is not limited to the IDF's YouTube channel. The Israeli consulate has a Twitter feed that includes links to news items, quotes and brief comments. The more of this I see coming out of Israel the more comfortable I feel calling it little more than propaganda.
- Benazir Bhutto's daughter made a hip-hop video tribute to Bhutto, the assassinated former-Pakistani leader, and posted the tribute on YouTube. Is it too distant for me to leave my comments at this is a fascinating way to express one's grief?
- From NOTCOT: DAYTUM is an odd new information graphics site that aims to visually present data on its users day-to-day lives.