Freedom of Information
Library of Congress has archive of tweets, but no plan for its public display
In the few minutes it will take you to read this story, some 3 million new tweets will have flitted across the publishing platform Twitter and ricocheted across the Internet. The Library of Congress is busy archiving the sprawling and frenetic Twitter canon — with some key exceptions — dating back to the site’s 2006 launch. That means saving for posterity more than 170 billion tweets and counting, with an average of more than 400 million new tweets sent each day, according to Twitter.
Old school bookstore thrives in NYC
Rapid DNA: Coming Soon to a Police Department or Immigration Office Near You
In the amount of time it takes to get lunch, the government can now collect your DNA and extract a profile that identifies you and your family members.
Extension Gives You More Control Over Your Facebook Privacy
Facebook Messages has a feature that tells you when a chat recipient has seen a message. This “read receipt” is, in true Facebook fashion, both nifty and unsettling. And it brings with it tons of potential for abuse. Unfortunately, there’s no built-in method to opt out.
2012 in Review: Digital Rights Activism Around the World
Just as in the United States, where a multi-pronged campaign against SOPA and PIPA killed the freedom-restricting bills, activism for digital rights saw great successes—and innovations—in 2012. While not every campaign was as successful in quashing efforts to restrict rights, it was nonetheless a great year worldwide for digital activism. Here are a few highlights:
Libraries See Opening as Bookstores Close
At the bustling public library in Arlington Heights, Ill., requests by three patrons to place any title on hold prompt a savvy computer tracking system to order an additional copy of the coveted item. That policy was intended to eliminate the frustration of long waits to check out best sellers and other popular books. But it has had some unintended consequences, too: the library’s shelves are now stocked with 36 copies of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Alan Moore’s Neonomicon censored by US library
The removal of Alan Moore’s graphic novel Neonomicon from the shelves of a library in South Carolina has been described as “censorship” by free speech campaigners.
Scanning Documents? Patent Trolls Want You To Pay Up
Earlier this week, Ars Technica profiled a particularly atrocious group of patent trolls who are demanding payments from small businesses for committing the egregious, shameful act of… scanning documents to email? Yes, the latest in a string of absurd patent-related stories involves the everyday act of using a networked scanner.
Google backtracks on Chinese anti-censorship feature
Google appears to be backtracking on its once unshakeable anti-censorship stance, after removing a feature from its Chinese site designed to help users avoid getting cut off from the internet. The feature — which flagged up a warning message whenever a user began typing a censored word, then redirected them to a help page that explained how to avoid being cut off from the web — appears to have been disabled some time between 5 and 8 December 2012.