[Air-L] tonight @6pm @MIT: Cyberscholars working group

Amy Johnson amyj at MIT.EDU
Mon Apr 28 12:25:00 PDT 2014

Wondering how to start your week off on the right foot? Come join us at the inter-institutional Cyberscholars working group meeting tonight at 6 pm at MIT, at the Center for Civic Media (E15-344) for dinner and discussion!

IANA Transfer: To fear or not to fear -- Pranesh Prakash
The impacts and ethics of open data standards -- Tim Davies

Event page here: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/events/cyberscholars/2014/04/mit


(1) IANA Transfer: To fear or not to fear
On March 14, 2014, the N.T.I.A. announced their "intent to transition key Internet domain name functions to the global multistakeholder community". The popular media in the U.S.A. is all doom and gloom on this issue, Sarah Palin's been posting about it on Facebook, Bill Clinton's been quizzing Jimmy Wales about it and expressing his concerns, and a number of Congresspersons have banded up to prevent this from happening through the awfully-titled Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters, or DOTCOM Act.

In his talk, Pranesh Prakash will attempt to a) explain what "key domain name functions" the N.T.I.A. currently performs -- including how the DNS root server system works -- and what they want to "transition"; b) examine what positions have historically been taken by some of the actors to the N.T.I.A. performing this function, and how those positions are changing post-Snowden, post-Montevideo Declaration, pre-NetMundial, and post-N.T.I.A announcement, positing that there's an interesting change and even a reversal of positions that we've seen post-Montevideo Declaration; and c) provide tentative views on what aspects of this transition announcement are important and can be influenced and what were decided in 1998.

Pranesh Prakash is a Postdoctoral Associate in Law and Access to Knowledge Fellow for the Information Society Project. He also served as the Policy Director for the Centre for Internet and Society, a Bagalore-based non-profit that engages in research and policy advocacy. *Education *LL.M., National Law School of India University B.A., National Law School of India University

(2) The impacts and ethics of open data standards
As the movement to publish Open Government Data on the web matures, attention is shifting from simply placing datasets online, to constructing new public data infrastructures, developing and adopting common data standards to allow data from diverse sources to be aggregated, integrated and linked together. From the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) for describing public transport schedules, and Open311 standards for reporting issues to local government, to the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard for aid project information, and the emerging Open Contracting Data Standard, governments across the globe are using common specifications to make their data available.

Although development and implementation of open data standards is often approached as a purely technical choice, it involves many decisions with political and social impact. Whilst fields such as infrastructure studies can offer a descriptive account of how standards come about and embody socio-technical choices, transforming this critical awareness into principles for the design of open data standards remains a gap. In this talk Tim Davies will seek to highlight the trend towards new public data infrastructures, and, in light of this, will explore critical questions and approaches for evaluating, and constructing, open data standards.

Tim Davies is coordinator of the Exploring the Emerging Impacts of Open Data in Developing Countries project at the World Wide Web Foundation, where he also works on the development of new public contracting open data standards for the Open Contracting Partnership. He is a PhD candidate in Web Science at the University of Southampton, and a fellow of the Berkman Centre for Internet and Society. He previously worked on creating tools to work with data from the International Aid Transparency Initiative.


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