Posted on August 27, 2012.
Alexandria 2.0: One Millionaire’s Quest to Build the Biggest Library on Earth
Here’s the problem with libraries. They catch on fire really easily. As such, they were the prized targets of the invading hordes of antiquity. They were one-man, one-torch jobs. But the hordes didn’t prize the library only for how powerfully it burned. Back in those days, if you wanted to kill a culture, you killed its library. All it took was one chucklehead with a flaming stick to annihilate thousands of years of accumulated knowledge. And it happened often.
"If this is what happens to libraries, make copies," says Brewster Kahle. Kahle took the library of libraries – the internet – and made a couple of copies of it, and keeps making copies.
Freedom of Information
British charity calls for ’50 Shades of Grey’ book burning
A British charity has called for a burning of the book "50 Shades of Grey" by E.L. James. Wearside Women in Need, which focuses on domestic violence, has asked readers to drop off books for a planned bonfire on Nov. 5.
A mega-bestseller, "50 Shades of Grey" features Anastasia, a naive college student who has an affair with a handsome billionaire who introduces her to sado-masochistic sex. Random House, which published the book in Britain, insists the sex in the book is not abusive but "entirely consensual."
The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy
TODD RUTHERFORD was 7 years old when he first understood the nature of supply and demand. He was with a bunch of other boys, one of whom showed off a copy of Playboy to giggles and intense interest. Todd bought the magazine for $5, tore out the racy pictures and resold them to his chums for a buck apiece. He made $20 before his father shut him down a few hours later.
A few years ago, Mr. Rutherford, then in his mid-30s, had another flash of illumination about how scarcity opens the door to opportunity.
In the fall of 2010, Mr. Rutherford started a Web site, GettingBookReviews.com. At first, he advertised that he would review a book for $99. But some clients wanted a chorus proclaiming their excellence. So, for $499, Mr. Rutherford would do 20 online reviews. A few people needed a whole orchestra. For $999, he would do 50.
FEC Approves Wireless Companies to Cut Campaign Text Donations
Today [Aug. 22, 2012], the Obama Campaign announced it was launching a text-to-donate fundraising campaign. Last week, the Federal Election Commission approved this type of fundraising for federal campaigns. During the review of the rules, wireless carriers asked for permission to block any campaigns that "espouse views that may harm the wireless service providers’ brands." While the FEC did not include this language in its advisory opinion, it did grant carriers wide latitude to refuse service by measuring a campaign against the carriers’ own "established business requirements."
The Federal Election Commission has granted wireless carriers the ability to cut off text message fundraising to candidates that take positions counter to the carriers’ business interest.
EFF Tells Obama’s IP Czar To Stand Up For Internet Users
Recently, EFF sent comments to Victoria Espinel, the Obama Administration’s "IP Czar," to help shape how U.S. tax dollars are spent on enforcing copyright, trademark, and patent laws for the next two years.
EFF said that when the government encourages (or goads) private companies into making private "voluntary" agreements to cut down on online infringement, the government should insist on the same protections for free speech, privacy, transparency, and due process.
FCC Broadband Report Shows That Broadband Deployment, Adoption, and Competition are Still Inadequate
Today [Aug. 21, 2012], the FCC issued its Eighth Broadband Report. 19 million Americans still do not have access to wired broadband. The Internet is the primary way that many Americans communicate, stay informed, and manage their lives. Yet many others have access to wired broadband, but don’t subscribe to it. The broadband that is available to them may be too slow, and not much of an improvement over their wireless or dial-up connections. Or it may be too expensive. Or they just might not see its value. Whatever the causes, more needs to be done to close the broadband gap.
How to #FreeTHOMAS: A report on implementing bulk access
Today we are pleased to release a report on improving public access to legislative information. The report is the result of a collaborative effort that was prompted by the House Leadership’s recent statement endorsing bulk access and the questions raised in a committee report accompanying the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill. The report is the latest in the ongoing, multi-year effort to improve how Congress releases legislative information to the public. It provides a roadmap to implementing bulk access to legislative information.
Syrian Activists Launch Petition to Reform Export Controls on Technology
EFF has long contended that existing export controls – maintained by the Departments of Treasury and Commerce – hinder the ability of activists in countries like Syria to communicate. Restrictions on the use of hosting services, antivirus tools, and even circumvention technology make the already-unsafe Syrian Internet even less safe for users. Meanwhile, the Syrian government has repeatedly circumvented sanctions for the purpose of surveilling citizens. These controls are not only ineffective, they’re counterproductive.
Better Policies for De-Identified Health Data
The staggering amount of personal health data now being collected for treatment or billing purposes has a life beyond the doctor’s clipboard. That data is collected, stripped of personally identifying information ("de-identified") and re-used in ways that are vital for medical breakthroughs, improving patient care, or predicting public health trends. And it’s just as valuable when used for targeted marketing campaigns or eliminating inefficiencies in the healthcare industry.
HIPAA restricts uses of identifiable health information for secondary purposes; but information that is de-identified per HIPAA standards is largely not subject to federal regulation. As a result, de-identified health data is in high demand.
CA Location Privacy Bill Passes Assembly
Location privacy scored a victory today when the California Assembly overwhelmingly passed an EFF-sponsored location privacy bill, SB 1434, on a bipartisan vote of 63-11.
The bill would require law enforcement to obtain a search warrant anytime it requests location information from an electronic device. It codifies the Supreme Court’s decision from earlier this year in United States v. Jones, which ruled that the installation of a GPS device for purposes of law enforcement investigation requires a search warrant. Having passed both chambers of the California legislature by a combined vote of 93-17, and assuming the Senate concurs with the version of the bill passed by the Assembly, the bill will soon land on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.
Intellectual Property Issues
Who inherits your iTunes library?
Many of us will accumulate vast libraries of digital books and music over the course of our lifetimes. But when we die, our collections of words and music may expire with us.
Someone who owned 10,000 hardcover books and the same number of vinyl records could bequeath them to descendants, but legal experts say passing on iTunes and Kindle libraries would be much more complicated.
UNESCO Says Monopolization of Information Puts Barriers to a Better Life
Governments are pushing for stronger intellectual property measures that excessively favor entertainment and pharmaceutical industries through international fora such as World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – by trying to create new rights for Broadcasters, and more pressingly, through international agreements such as the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). Many in civil society are fighting back and are calling attention to the crucial need to enable and facilitate content to enter the public domain. UNESCO has been a big supporter of this initiative, standing up against the privatization of knowledge and the great risk it poses to improving quality of life around the world.
Information, media, and educational professionals, as well as government executives and members of the public met at the International Conference Media and Information Literacy for Knowledge Societies in Moscow, Russia last June. UNESCO, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), and other state and non-state agencies held this conference in order to raise awareness of the significance, scale, and topicality of media and information literacy advocacy.
Former Library of Congress auditor says he was harassed, then fired for being gay
Peter TerVeer was an up-and-coming auditor for the Library of Congress’s inspector general’s office. His boss liked him so much he tried to set him up with his single daughter, TerVeer says.
But when the boss discovered TerVeer was gay after learning from his daughter TerVeer "Liked" a Facebook page for same-sex parents, the supervisor harassed him with religious-based homophobia – and eventually got him fired, TerVeer alleges in a federal lawsuit.
NY Library To Adopt Ad-Supported Toilet Paper
Toilet paper printed with advertisements will appear in the bathrooms of the Port Chester-Rye Brook, NY, Public Library in October. The paper is 100 percent recycled, two-ply, and printed with soy-based ink. Venues that use the paper receive it for free, making it a potentially attractive way for cash-strapped libraries to reduce spending. (Advertisers pay $99 for 20,000 advertisements that appear on approximately 160 rolls.)
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The Intersect Alert is a newsletter of the Government Relations Committee, San Francisco Bay Region Chapter, Special Libraries Association.