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Daily Archives: November 14, 2013

Measuring Internet Activity: A (Selective) Review of Methods and Metrics

Internet Monitor is delighted to announce the publication of Measuring Internet Activity: A (Selective) Review of Methods and Metrics, the second in a series of special reports that focus on key events and new developments in Internet freedom, incorporating technical, legal, social, and political analyses.

Measuring Internet Activity, authored by Robert Faris and Rebekah Heacock, explores current efforts to measure digital activity within three areas: infrastructure and access, control, and content and communities. Two Decades after the birth of the World Wide Web, more than two billion people around the world are Internet users. The digital landscape is littered with hints that the affordances of digital communications are being leveraged to transform life in profound and important ways. The reach and influence of digitally mediated activity grow by the day and touch upon all aspects of life, from health, education, and commerce to religion and governance. This trend demands that we seek answers to the biggest questions about how digitally mediated communication changes society and the role of different policies in helping or hindering the beneficial aspects of these changes. Yet despite the profusion of data the digital age has brought upon us—we now have access to a flood of information about the movements, relationships, purchasing decisions, interests, and intimate thoughts of people around the world—the distance between the great questions of the digital age and our understanding of the impact of digital communications on society remains large. A number of ongoing policy questions have emerged that beg for better empirical data and analyses upon which to base wider and more insightful perspectives on the mechanics of social, economic, and political life online. This paper seeks to describe the conceptual and practical impediments to measuring and understanding digital activity and highlights a sample of the many efforts to fill the gap between our incomplete understanding of digital life and the formidable policy questions related to developing a vibrant and healthy Internet that serves the public interest and contributes to human wellbeing. Our primary focus is on efforts to measure Internet activity, as we believe obtaining robust, accurate data is a necessary and valuable first step that will lead us closer to answering the vitally important questions of the digital realm. Even this step is challenging: the Internet is difficult to measure and monitor, and there is no simple aggregate measure of Internet activity—no GDP, no HDI. In the following section we present a framework for assessing efforts to document digital activity. The next three sections offer a summary and description of many of the ongoing projects that document digital activity, with two final sections devoted to discussion and conclusions.”

Google Report Shows Growing Government Demands for User Data, Highlights Need for ECPA Reform

CDT – “Today’s Transparency Report from Google, which shows a sharp increase in government demands for user data, provides the latest in a long list of reasons why Congress should act now to update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), to make it clear that government officials must obtain a warrant in order to access email and other communications stored… Continue Reading

EFF – Court Upholds Legality of Google Books

“It’s a good day for fair use and sane copyright law.  After years of litigation, Judge Denny Chin has ruled that the Google Books project does not infringe copyright.  Readers, authors, librarians and future fair users can rejoice. For years, Google has been cooperating with libraries to digitize books and create massive, publicly available and searchable books database.… Continue Reading

GAO Report – Government Support for Bank Holding Companies

Statutory Changes to Limit Future Support Are Not Yet Fully Implemented, GAO-14-18, Nov 14, 2013 “During the 2007-09 financial crisis, the federal government’s actions to stabilize the financial system provided funding support and other benefits to bank holding companies and their subsidiaries. Agencies introduced new programs with broad-based eligibility that provided funding support to eligible institutions,… Continue Reading

New York Fed – Quarterly Report on Household Debt Rises

Household Debt and Credit Developments in 2013 Q3: “Aggregate consumer debt increased in the third quarter by $127 billion, the largest increase seen since the first quarter of 2008. As of September 30, 2013, total consumer indebtedness was $11.28 trillion, up by 1.1% from its level in the  second quarter of 2013. Overall consumer debt… Continue Reading

Moody’s concludes review of eight large US banks

News release: “Moody’s Investors Service has concluded its review of eight large US banking groups. The credit ratings of these banking groups each benefit from the agency’s assumption of government support. Today’s rating actions reflect strengthened US bank resolution tools, prompted by the Dodd-Frank Act, which affect Moody’s assumptions about US government support. Further, today’s… Continue Reading

U.S. Monetary Authorities Did Not Intervene in FX Markets During the Third Quarter

“The U.S. monetary authorities did not intervene in the foreign exchange markets during the July—September quarter, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said today in its quarterly report to the U.S. Congress. During the three months that ended September 30, 2013, the dollar depreciated 3.8 percent and 0.9 percent against the euro and Japanese yen,… Continue Reading

50 years after JFK’s assassination: a brief guide to reliable sources

Margot Williams – “The fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 is a time of commemoration, a pause for reflection, and font of stories for a global media still fascinated by this American tragedy. The Kennedy assassination has sparked dozens of theories, hundreds of volumes and gallons… Continue Reading

Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems

Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems 21 October 2013 ID:G00251780. Analyst(s): Donald Feinberg, Merv Adrian, Nick Heudecker “For this Magic Quadrant, we define operational DBMSs as systems that include support for new structures and data types, such as XML, text, audio, image and video content, in addition to traditional structures. They must include mechanisms to isolate workload requirements and control… Continue Reading