Category Archives: websites

The SOPA Debate

On the surface, Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP (PIPA) sounds like a good idea – to punish those who pirate intellectual property. As an writer and artist, I am all too aware of the dangers of posting your work and then finding it elsewhere, without your permission. Imagine the cost implications for movie studios, record labels, and of course the individual who has few resources to go after the culprit.

The idea behind this bill, according to those who have followed the debate, was sound. The result, however, has been described as a threat to free speech, web-related businesses, users who upload content, internal networks, open source software, and internet security and could lead to a global collapse of the internet.

These accusations are based in the assertion that the bill only broadly defines what is a violation, puts any consumer who hosts a website at risk of violation, and holds internet services such as YouTube responsible for the content their users upload. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology criticize the bill’s wording as vague enough that “a single complaint about even a major website could be enough to cause the site to be blocked, with the burden of proof then resting on the website to get itself un-blocked.”

EFF has indicated that companies like Etsy, Flickr and Vimeo would have little choice but to shut down if the bill becomes law.

Defenders of the bill say that it will protect revenues of content creators and protect against counterfeit drugs. Companies that rely on copyright, including the Motion Picture Association of American, Pfizer, Nike, and L’Oreal support the bill, as does the AFL-CIO and the U. S. Chamber of Commerce.

On Wednesday, January 18th, Reddit plans a 12-hour knowledge blackout in protest of the bill. As this bill evolves and the House Judiciary Committee continues to debate it, you can keep apprised of it’s progress through our legal system by visiting the Wikipedia article, which is updated daily.

As someone who was around for the very beginning of the wild wild web, we have certainly come a long way. I am not surprised that there are those who try to profit from the content of others. Now, let’s see what we do about it.

 

How Social Media Enabled Egypt’s Revolution: Part Two

Two Can Play at this Game: World Governments’ Responses to Social Media as a Revolutionary Tool

"Mute," photographed by Gigi IbrahimIn the first part of this series, we explored how social media enabled and facilitated Egypt and Tunisia’s revolutions. By using Facebook and Twitter to broadcast their beliefs, find like-minded individuals the world over, and organize protests in near real-time, the revolutionaries were able to stay one step ahead of their governments. But now, it seems, the governments are catching up.

In Egypt, segments of the government and army are now on Facebook, using it as a means to spread their own propaganda and to keep an eye on known activist communities. At one point during the revolution, the Egyptian government even shut down internet access, fully aware of the threat it posed to the government. Amr Abouelleil, an Egyptian-American bioinformatics analyst and writer who is actively involved with the Egyptian Youth Movement at the heart of the revolution, says the government was aware that without the internet, people would have to turn to state television (which is government-censored) for their news. The government used this opportunity to up their ante, broadcasting pro-government programming to the unwired masses, which in many cases, appeared to work. “The government got some people to change their tune in just a matter of days,” Abouelleil says. “It brainwashed them to go back on Facebook in the government’s favor instead.”

Egypt is not the only government in fear of the power social media and the internet provides its people; China recently came under fire when Google reportedly foiled an alleged Chinese attempt at stealing the passwords to hundreds of Google accounts, including those of government officials, Chinese human rights activists, and journalists. The Chinese government has since denied involvement, but is well known for their censorship of the internet and television. Whether or not the government is responsible for the hacking attempt, it’s safe to say that they are well aware of the power of the internet and social media, and doing all they can to control it.

Government reactions to the use of Google and social media have been so extreme in recent months that Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has said he fears for the safety of Google employees in certain parts of the world. “There are countries where it is illegal to do things that Google encourages. In those countries, there is a real possibility of (employees) being put in prison for reasons which are not their fault,” Schmidt told attendees of Google’s Dublin summit on militant violence this past Monday, June 27.

A prime example of this is Wael Ghonim, the Egyptian Google executive who is now one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2011. Ghonim was held captive by the Egyptian government for eleven days in early 2011 due to his involvement in using Facebook to organize protests via a page called “We are all Khaled Saeed,” which exposed and raised awareness of the military’s cruel and inhumane murder of Khaled Saeed.

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Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area’s new Trip Planner

Weber Media Partners has been working with Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area for nearly 10 years. We have had the pleasure to work with some of the hardest working professional National Park Service staff, who care tremendously about natural resources in this country, and in particular, about the natural history and American history that makes up the many islands in Boston Harbor. When we had the opportunity to work with them on their new website, we were excited, but also knew that it was a highly visible project, with many stakeholders to serve.

We had an amazing team of writers, developers, project managers and designers, all who care passionately for the outcome. We created a site that provides intuitive trip planning for all types of visitors. See the full case study for more details.

We are pleased to say that our hard work has paid off for Boston Harbor Islands, where visitation is up to an all-time high. Superintentent Bruce Jacobson writes in his weekly email:

“We had more visitors to the islands this past spring, summer, and fall season than any other year. More than 100,000 passengers rode the park ferry. Double that number visited locales accessible by car.

Thank you to all who have worked so hard making this season one of the best yet!”

To add to this, Weber Media Partners has been selected as a finalist for a much acclaimed MITX award for this project in the Environmental Consciousness category. We are thrilled to be recognized for our work and look forward to the ceremony on November 18th.