Originally posted on the Google Research Blog by Alfred Spector, Vice President of Research and Special Initiatives
Last week the Obama Administration issued a Memorandum that could vastly increase the impact of federally funded research on innovation and the economy. Entrepreneurs, businesses, students, patients, researchers, and the public will soon have digital access to the wealth of research publications and data funded by Federal agencies. We're excited that this important work will be made more broadly accessible.
This memorandum directs federal agencies with annual research and development budgets of $100 million or more to open up access to the crucial results of publicly funded research (including both unclassified articles and data). These agencies will need to provide the public with free and unlimited online access to the results of that research after a guideline 12 month embargo period. Before today only one agency, the National Institutes of Health, had a public research access policy.
The federal government funds tens of billions of dollars in research each year through agencies like the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Energy. These investments are intended to advance science, accelerate innovation, grow our economy, and improve the lives of all Americans and members of the public. Opening this research up to the public will accelerate these goals.
Federal investment in research and development only pays off if it has an impact. Researchers, businesses, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and the public need to be able to access and use the knowledge contained in the articles and data generated by those funds. Making the results of scholarly research accessible and reusable in digital form is one important way to increase the impact of existing taxpayer investments.
Erica Johnstone is a co-founder of the privacy nonprofit, Without My Consent, and a partner with Ridder, Costa & Johnstone LLP.
Imagine there are naked photos of you online that appear on the first page of search results when someone searches for your name. The images are linked to your true name, place of business, and home address. Worse still, every hate-filled troll has piled on to harass and stalk you. The comments leave you terrified for your and your family's personal safety. Is the perpetrator’s conduct legal? Generally speaking, no. "Involuntary porn", also called "revenge porn," is the creation, publication, or dissemination of a person's private intimate image without that person’s consent and for no legitimate public concern. It is legally actionable in almost every situation. Is there a path to justice? It's complicated.
Your first question might be: how do the images get online? The most common scenarios are nightmare exes, hackers, and peeping Toms.
And then you might wonder, how many people are actually victims of involuntary porn? We need better data and more of it data to provide a satisfactory answer. Concrete examples like those cited above are sometimes criticized for being "one-off" events. But the truth is that everyone who engages in online activities knows the harassment, stalking, and trolling happen with alarming frequency, and abuse often involves the publication or threat of publication of private intimate images.
According to a recent McAfee study, "Love, Relationships, and Technology: When Private Data Gets Stuck in the Middle of a Breakup," 10% of ex-partners have threatened to expose risqué photos of their exes online, and those threats were carried out almost 60 percent of the time. 36% of Americans plan to send sexy or romantic photos to their partners via email, text and social media on Valentine's Day. But those people are not the only victims of involuntary porn. Hackers and peeping Toms have a way of finding photos and posting online as well. For instance on January 29, 2013, the FBI arrested one man whom investigators estimate is responsible for terrorizing more than 350 women.
What is being done about the problem?
Here are some simple concrete steps everyone can take to stop involuntary porn.
Nicklas Lundblad is Director of Public Policy at Google.
The Internet policy world is ripe with fascinating issues. From cybercrime to government surveillance and security, to public procurement, trade and open access to information, there has never been a more exciting time to get involved. We’re excited to launch the 6th summer of the Google Policy Fellowship, with new opportunities to work with organizations from Africa, Europe and Latin America in addition to ones in U.S. and Canada. Applications are open today, and students of all levels and disciplines are welcome to apply before March 15, 2013.
Fellows will spend ten weeks this summer working on a broad portfolio of topics at a diverse set of organizations, including:
Petri Mähönen is the head of the Institute for Networked Systems at RWTH
Aachen University in Aachen, Germany. Janne Riihijärvi works as a senior
research scientist in the institute.
The debate over radio spectrum regulation has become one of the most intense and crucial telecommunications policy debates. Radio spectrum, in the sense of availability of radio frequencies for wireless data communications, is scarce. Wireless technologies have inherent limitations. Understanding the current radio spectrum use in different environments is important and harder than it might sound. First, as is now well understood, not all spectrum that is allocated is actually used. Second, spectrum measurements and realistic usage models are harder to make than people assume. Third, while regulatory databases and similar sources, such as white space databases, contain a lot of information how spectrum might be used, inevitable errors in propagation models significantly limit the value of this information. Finally, for unlicensed frequency bands and user-deployed networks, particularly emerging femtocells, there really is no substitute for in situ measurements.
The policy debate needs to be quantitative and data driven, and several research groups around the world have been conducting different types of measurement campaigns on spectrum use for quite some time. Measurement campaigns by the Shared Spectrum Company are early examples, while longer-running efforts include the Spectrum Observatory of the Illinois Institute of Technology, as well as our own efforts in this domain. However, most existing campaigns have focused on measurements at a single location. Such measurements are invaluable to gauge the promises of new technologies, but ultimately lack statistical coverage. They also cannot support regulatory enforcement, national security applications, or dynamic radio environment based optimization.
As part of the recently concluded European research project FARAMIR, we collaborated with industry and academic research groups to carry out extensive measurements on spectrum use across different urban and rural regions. During this work, we spent a week collecting measurements in different regions of London, UK, ranging from downtown shopping streets and tourist haunts to outer suburbs. Some 150 different locations were covered during the week, and at each location several hundreds of received power measurements were taken on different frequency bands. The first results were presented recently in the IEEE DySPAN 2012 conference in Seattle. Our measurements show that while the cellular bands are, as expected, practically fully utilized in urban environments, the usage of many other bands was significantly lower. Further, even the usage of cellular bands varied highly across the different measurement locations, falling to surprisingly low levels outside dense population centers. These results indicate that while availability of cellular spectrum in urban region is indeed limited, there seems to be little shortage of available frequencies in rural settings especially if low power transmitters are used. Overall the dynamics of spectrum use were observed to be very complicated as can be seen from the example below, illustrating spectrum use on the 900 MHz GSM downlink band at a location near Oxford Street in downtown London.
In addition to the results from our own analysis, we will gradually make the raw data from our measurements available to the research community. Last week we released the first data sets from the London measurement campaign, as well as our earlier comparison measurements of spectrum use across several different European cities. All of these data sets as well as documents describing results from our analysis can be obtained from the website of the FARAMIR project. In the future all the publicly available measurement data from the Institute for Networked systems will be made available through iNets Measurement Data Archive (currently under construction). We believe that sharing data from such measurement campaigns is key to developing global understanding on spectrum use, thereby providing solid foundation for making policy decisions for future spectrum use.
Derek Slater is a policy manager at Google.
Ten years ago, the U.S. Congress looked at Internet access in libraries as "no more than a technological extension of the book stack." In fact, the Supreme Court cited this statement in the United States v. American Library Association decision, upholding government regulations requiring that, as a condition of funding for Internet access in the library, libraries must install content filtering software. The Court asserted that "A public library does not acquire Internet terminals in order … for Web publishers to express themselves."
Ten years later, data suggests otherwise. A recent survey from the Pew Research Center shows that today Internet access plays a much bigger role in libraries. Over a quarter of Americans say they get Internet access at libraries, with "African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than whites to access the internet at their local library, as are parents of minor children, those under age 50, those living in households earning less than $30,000, and those with at least some college experience." What's more, a Gates Foundation report finds that "people use library computers to perform both life-changing and routine tasks," both in discovering information and as a means of expression. For example, over a half-million Americans used library computers to start a local club or nonprofit group.
What impact has Congress' initial judgment and policy had as technology use has changed? It's clear that all filtering tools are overbroad and block some lawful speech, but we’re not aware of any studies analyzing what the economic and social impact of filtering has been. As Congress and states look at how to support libraries in a time of shrinking government budgets, this empirical question is worth tackling.