Mobilizing for Web Policy Activism June 2, 2011Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.
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Major international decisions are being made about the Internet in the coming weeks – decisions that could affect the Web as we know it forever. Last week, tens of thousands of Web users successfully petitioned the G8 summit in Deauville, France to keep its hands off the Internet.
The show stoppers were activists of Access Now. This global movement is premised on the belief that political participation in the 21st century is increasingly dependent on access to the Web and other forms of technology. Determined to represent the interests of the non-invited, Access Now, staged an ad-hoc counter-forum civil society press conference where a petition, signed by citizen-users from over 100 countries, was presented.
Although it was the first time the Web and its determinant role in the global economy was explicitly discussed, the invitee list highlighted the flawed approach to the forum. Sure, industry and innovation digerati, from Schmidt to Murdoch to Zuckerberg, were at the Tuileries gardens to discuss Internet governance. But the real future of the Web – civil society bloggers and citizen-users – was not invited.
In fact, as Lawrence Lessig noted, this group does not even know how to be invited. Lessig, one of the few civil voices officially invited to this landmark occasion, called on participants to preserve its open architecture, explaining that the most groundbreaking innovations – Google, icq, skype, kazaa, youtube, and so on – were borne by kids, drop-outs and non-Americans.
Giving primacy to corporate interests, forcing intermediaries to police their customers, filter speech, fight terrorism, protect children online and punish copyright infringers is not the ‘future of the internet’. In fact, this approach risks destroying its innovating, democratizing and participatory characteristics.
The final G8 communiqué committed to broadening quality access to ICT, recognizing that Internet access is vital to the flourishing of human rights in the 21st century and ensuring the protection of individual privacy online. But almost completely absent from the document was any commitment to uphold principles of net neutrality or the dangers of censorship by ISPs and governments.
This week Access Now steps up again! The United Nations Human Rights Council will receive its first ever official report on freedom of expression online – and this is one report to support. How UN members respond will determine how, and if, countries commit to protecting the rights of their citizens on the Web. And it is one step further toward access to the internet being properly recognised as a fundamental right.
Related read: World Rallies to Save the Internet from G8
Online News: Information Feast or Famine? April 27, 2011Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.
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Does the abundance of information on the Web make it possible to have a healthy media diet? Or are we just snacking on the news equivalent of junk food, and starved of the kind of information needed to be informed citizens?
How important is the element of mass in mass media, when the Web makes it possible for many more people to set the political agenda? In a world where Wikileaks can set the whole world talking, niche news sites collectively have clout, and may help fill a vacuum in public affairs reporting and agenda setting.
Research into changes in the nature of news supply and demand shows that people consider public affairs news anxiety-provoking, requiring a lot of cognitive effort, and pay attention to serious topics primarily during momentous times, after which they return to their normal news diet, rarely clicking on or tuning into stories journalists consider headlines.
As a result, news publishers in all media, in an increasingly competitive environment, feel pressure to cater to consumer demand. The growing tension in newsrooms between the logic of the profession and the market threatens to reduce public affairs coverage in many broad-based, traditional publications, leaving serious news to “niche sites.” This may lead to a “deepening of information inequality.”
Two panelists, Pablo Boczkowski and Joshua Benton debate the issue at a recent lecture at MIT, and differ on the basic questions.
Presenting at MIT7 in Cambridge April 5, 2011Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.
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by Joanne KY Teoh
I’m headed to Boston to speak at the Media in Transition 7 Conference, to be held May 13-15, 2011 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, USA. Here’s the abstract for a paper I’ll be presenting.
Spectacles of the Screen:
Video Sites as Alternative Forms of Citizenship
The arrival of the all-video culture has been so quick and quiet that the implications of what a screen culture may mean are just becoming part of the business, political and intellectual conversation. The need to easily and quickly create and publish all kinds of video to all of today’s online touch points for a 360-degree view of urgent social issues has spawned new forms of journalism and community engagement in Asia.
Video is now everywhere – a Web experience, a mobile experience, as well as an IPTV, cable and satellite experience. As audiences move online, the very nature of online channels is changing. Gone are the days of the static one-way Web site. Today’s Web is interactive, participatory and video rich. It is about community, and building a two-way conversation that requires new types of video content that is both professionally produced and also citizen-generated.
As we enter the age of “all video all the time,” what do these new technologies and cultural advances mean? How are participants, spectators and sense-makers empowered by spectacles of the screen to build capacity and spur collective problem solving? This presentation showcases news coverage at ground zero of the Asian tsunami (2004), cyclone Nargis (2008) Sichuan earthquake (2009) and post independent Timor Leste (2009) to reveal how oral cultures in under-represented Asian communities in crisis are being transformed by grassroots video advocacy.
Anonymous in Tactical Protest Shift January 15, 2011Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.
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Online protest group “Anonymous” have called for a global day of action on 15 January in defence of freedom of expression and attempts to close down Wikileaks, an amorphous organization based in Sweden that publishes anonymous leaks of sensitive documents from governments and other organizations, while preserving the anonymity of their sources.
The self-styled Web freedom fighters have in recent months staged some of the most stunning and audacious cyber-attacks yet seen on key corporate Web infrastructure, gaining notoriety for targeting Websites of companies it deems anti-Wikileaks.
A new video published to their central communications blog Anonops Communications calls for a series of offline protests:
The internet needs champions and we will rise…We are Anonymous and so are you. Stand up and fight. Every city, everywhere.
Details of the actual protests are hard to find because of the anonymous and loose-knit nature of the group, but the call for a real world protest signals a tactical change from the group’s distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDOS.)
In the DDOS carried out in support of Wikileaks, Anonymous members bombarded target websites with huge amounts of data in a bid to knock them offline. The targets were companies that had cut ties with whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.
DDoS attacks are more akin to sit-in protests than cyberterrorism. While a real-world protest is a change in tactics for “Anonymous,” it’s not unfounded for the group, which has no real individual leadership save but for the prevalence of ideas that gain popularity online.
The US Department of Homeland Security has mentioned “Anonymous” among a list of groups they believed could fuel a “resurgence in radicalization.” However, an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development report dismisses the risk of cyber war as over-hyped.
The OECD study says a vast majority of hi-tech attacks described as acts of cyber war do not deserve the name. Unlike pandemics and financial instability, trouble caused by cyber attacks is likely to be localised and short-lived.
Attempts to quantify potential damage that hi-tech attacks could cause and develop appropriate responses are hampered by the hyperbolic language used to describe these incidents. Under the heading of cyber weapons the report included viruses, worms, trojans, distributed-denial-of-service using botnets and unauthorised access to computers ie hacking.
Webs@Work 2010 in Review January 1, 2011Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.
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The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:
The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.
The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 19,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.
In 2010, there were 28 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 261 posts. There were 26 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 6mb. That’s about 2 pictures per month.
The busiest day of the year was December 8th with 218 views. The most popular post that day was Wikileaks: Web Censorship Won’t Work.
Where did they come from?
The top referring sites in 2010 were search.conduit.com, singaporedaily.net, en.search.wordpress.com, bshistorian.wordpress.com, and bigextracash.com.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for reykjavik, wikileaks, map of the internet, tigers girls, and singapore political blogs.
Attractions in 2010
These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.
Wikileaks: Web Censorship Won’t Work February 2008
Top 10 YouTube Tips and Tricks October 2007
Top 20 Singapore Political Blogs July 2007
Tiger Woods as Web Fodder December 2009
An Offshore Journalism Haven? February 2010
2 comments and 1 Like on WordPress.com,
Wikileaks Iraq War Logs October 24, 2010Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Civic Media, Convergence, Journalism, News, Web Video.
Tags: Iraq documents, Iraq war logs, Julian Assange, Wikileaks
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Whistle blowing Website WikiLeaks has released nearly 400,000 pages of classified military logs chronicling the Iraq War, despite attempts by the Pentagon to stop the document dump. In the largest leak of its kind in US military history, the logs offer an incomplete, yet graphic portrait of one of the most contentious issues in the Iraq war — how many Iraqi civilians have been killed and by whom.
The documents themselves are known at the Pentagon as ‘SIGACTs,’ raw field reports chronicling “Significant Action” in the conflict as seen by U.S. forces on the ground in Iraq. The archive is the second cache obtained by Wikileaks and made available to news organizations.
Shedding new light on the war, the secret logs allegedly show the US ignored systemic abuse, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers, according to news reports. Der Spiegel, Al-Jazeera News, The Guardian and Le Monde have been collaborating with WikiLeaks on the latest leak.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is ‘a hacker fighting for the freedom of information.’ At 39, the former journalist has built his life around an uncompromising quest for information. He has no home and travels the world with one bag containing his clothes, and another holding his computer. The Iraq papers is the latest stage in a life of action against vested interest.
Wikileaks’ operators and volunteers – five full-timers, and another 1,000 on call – are almost all anonymous. The intentions are laudable – to “allow whistleblowers and journalists who have been censored to get material out to the public.” Who will watch the watchdogs? The Web has its own wisdom, and the crowds will provide the needed context, analysis and background.
Wikileaks’ most high-profile previous success came with the release of a helicopter cockpit video that showed civilians shot in Baghdad. The publicity from video added US$1m to the group’s coffers and prompted more people to come forward with leaks of their own. Read more.
Iraq war logs: WikiLeaks v Washington
Wanted by the CIA: Julian Assange – Wikileaks founder
Wikileaks: How website shines light on world’s darkest secrets
Wikileaks: Web Censorship Won’t Work
Hockney iPad Doodles Debut in Paris October 23, 2010Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Journalism, News, Trends.
Tags: David Hockney, digital art, Fleurs Fraiches, Fresh Flowers, iPad
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One of the most influential artists of the 20th century is helping to herald a new movement: digital art. British artist David Hockney opened an exhibition at the Fondation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent in Paris – harnessing mobile technology to draw the most traditional of artist’s subjects, the still life.
The computer-generated botanicals in Fleurs Fraiches (Fresh Flowers) feature iPhones, iPads and iPod touches bearing images of flowers created by Hockney using the Brushes app in his home in East Yorkshire in the UK.
David Hockney with iPhone on an easel in his London studio
Three of Hockney’s iPad drawings
The flowers are indeed fresh – Hockney will email new images of the blooms for the duration of the exhibition to help ensure the exhibit is always fresh with new images. Dozens of the apparatuses are bolted onto the walls, their flat screens aglow with art. So if you fancy braving strikers in Paris, the exhibition runs until 30 Jan 2011.
Hockney gained renown in the 1960s as a member of the Pop Art movement. He discovered Brushes 18 months ago after getting an iPhone and then iPad, and started doodling with his thumb to build images of flowers on the screen. He would email the images to his friends.
Among friends who got the emails was curator and cultural historian Charlie Scheips, who immediately saw the potential for an exhibit. An innovative exhibit are six animations showing Hockney’s creative process in fast motion. Days before his show, Hockney was filmed painting the Eiffel Tower on his iPad at the Hotel Lutetia. That mini-documentary has been added to the show’s lineup
Fleurs Fraiches opening cocktail at the Tokyo Art Club in Paris
With the iPad, I use my fingers to zoom in for details, then zoom back out. There’s magic in an iPad. It’s the same magic that’s in pencil or pen or brushes. With this show, one of the great difficulties was, how will people see the paintings? When I sent them personally, on an iPhone, I knew people would be holding the iPhone in their hand, and that my hand made the paintings in that size.
When you put an iPhone on a wall, it’s a bit too small. Twenty iPads look good together on a wall, but 100 together are a little too bright. We tried that in England. The way it’s done here, on a mixture of screens, some measuring up to four-and-a-half meters, they really glow marvelously. You don’t see any pixels.
David Hockney, Artist
Brushes has become something of a Web phenomenon with its own blog, Twitter and Facebook pages, as well as a dedicated Flickr group where Brushes artists can share their work. Portuguese illustrator, photographer and graphic designer Jorge Colombo has even used the app to paint a number of covers for The New Yorker magazine.
New Web-based Creative Economy August 18, 2010Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in News.
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The romantic ideal of the starving artist-genius has become so engrained in contemporary psyche that we stereotype creatives as sufferers. It is time to challenge that assumption to embrace creativity and its practice in alignment with the vibrancy of modern cities.
From Silicon Valley to Singapore to rural Rwanda, entrepreneurs are contributing to social advancement in profound and unexpected ways with the global reach of their activities in economic, social, and environmental spheres. The Web economy has fostered a new perspective on the power of entrepreneurship to improve society to enable action to unleash its potential benefits.
Success in the creative economy demands new ways of collaborating within and across organizations, new infrastructures, and new organizational forms to support innovation. The Web-based creative economy works in complicated and evolving structures — matrix organizations, networked organizations, alliances and partnerships – where much work occurs across these organizational boundaries, making collaboration challenging.
What are the new organizational dilemmas, models and frameworks for working through them? Modern business creators must establish moves to market quickly through the combined use of social, open and proprietary tools, databases, services and applications while still planting the seeds of longevity & scalability.
One example – the notion of traditional office and workforce is changing. Alternative ways of working and new places to work are springing up. A trend towards nomadism, outsourcing, freelancing, shared workspace and collaborative endeavors is generating greater productivity and increased business opportunity. Web-based tools are enabling workspaces and professional disciplines to merge.
iPad, I write, I paint, I am June 11, 2010Posted by Joanne KY Teoh in Convergence, Journalism, News, Reviews, Trends.
Tags: Apple, digiart, iPad, storytelling
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Guest post by Michael Ryan Chan in Paris
Print is dying. Bin the dregs of a medium based on dead trees. Good riddance! Once upon a time, book romanticists like me would have shed tears over this capitulation to pixelation. But Apple has bestowed on us a work of art that will redefine our own artistry. Tempted, I took my bite of Apple’s masterpiece at the Louvre in Paris. Voila!
iPad’s minimalist interface – no keyboard or mouse – just direct interaction with documents, is just the device I’ve been waiting for. Let reading begin anew. At once art and utility, this platform to create and consume rich-content stands among icons of engineering design like the Eiffel Tower:
At last, a life of the mind, entirely on dazzling screens, ergonomic keyboards, and blistering modems. Now I paint anew with my fingers on a tablet, tell stories with a tactility in ways unimagined and doodle with touchscreen brushes. I am artist, writer, sculptor – unmediated – all at once. iPad, I am:
It is not easy not to gush at this storytelling device with the bright beautiful screen. Its “frameless window” has already raised the interactive stories I create to a new level. And it will change how I do journalism with its immersive potential, its platform for rich multimedia, and its ability to deliver information based on where it is in the world. I am in good company with David Hockney, iPriest of art:
Famous for his pool paintings set in Los Angeles, the British pop artist has swapped paintbrush to create artwork on iPad. Hailing the device as a new art tool, Hockney sees a transformative effect:
The iPad is far more subtle, in fact it really is like a drawing pad. They will sell by the million. David Hockney
To understand why the iPad is so exciting, we have to think about how we got here since printed books and painted pictures. Historically we have not read long-form text or viewed images on screens. With iPad, we can define when content should be printed or digitized.
This conversation is just beginning for publishers, Web masters, content creators, authors and designers. For people who love beautifully made things. For storytellers willing to take risks and consider the best shape and media for their yarns: