October 16, 2009
The Earth Internet is Flat
"The Internet is a lot flatter today, more densely connected," said Danny McPherson, VP and CSO of Arbor Networks due to consolidation as fewer networks handle more online traffic according to the findings of Arbor Networks' Internet Observatory Report. Quoting from Thomas Claburn's Information Week story, Google Now Largest Source Of Internet Traffic. The Report is believed to be the largest study of global Internet traffic since the start of the commercial Internet in the mid-1990s. The report offers analysis of two years worth of detailed traffic statistics from 110 large and geographically diverse cable operators, international transit backbones, regional networks and content providers.
Key Findings from the press release for the Internet Observatory Report:
Evolution of the Internet Core: Over the last five years, Internet traffic has migrated away from the traditional Internet core of 10 to 12 Tier-1 international transit providers. Today, the majority of Internet traffic by volume flows directly between large content providers, datacenter / CDNs and consumer networks. Consequently, most Tier-1 networks have evolved their business models away from IP wholesale transit to focus on broader cloud / enterprise services, content hosting and VPNs.
Rise of the ‘Hyper Giants’: Five years ago, Internet traffic was proportionally distributed across tens of thousands of enterprise managed web sites and servers around the world. Today, most content has increasingly migrated to a small number of very large hosting, cloud and content providers. Out of the 40,000 routed end sites in the Internet, 30 large companies – “hyper giants” like Limelight, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and YouTube – now generate and consume a disproportionate 30% of all Internet traffic.
Applications Migrate to the Web: Historically, Internet applications communicated across a panoply of application specific protocols and communication stacks. Today, the majority of Internet application traffic has migrated to an increasingly small number of web and video protocols, including video over web and Adobe Flash. Other mechanisms for video and application distribution like P2P (peer-to-peer) have declined dramatically in the last two years.
A New Internet Ecosystem: Over the last five years, macroeconomic forces have radically transformed the global Internet commercial ecosystem. Economic changes, including the collapse of wholesale IP transit and the dramatic growth in advertisement-supported service, reversed decade-old business dynamics between transit providers, consumer networks and content providers. A wave of innovation is ongoing, with service providers now offering everything from triple play services to managed security services, VPNs and increasingly, CDNs. This change in the Internet business ecosystem has significant ongoing implications for backbone engineering, design of Internet scale applications and research.
So if this is the present, what lies ahead? In a recent speech about the Internet's uncertain future, Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet & American Life Project, said "the first area of critical uncertainty involves the kind of internet we have -- from the standpoint of the internet’s architecture and its adoption." See LLB's post, What We Don’t Know About the Internet's Future. [JH]
September 18, 2009
Creative Commons Publishes Findings of Survey on What “Noncommercial Use” Means to the Online Community
Creative Commons has published Defining “Noncommercial”: A Study of How the Online Population Understands “Noncommercial Use.” The report details the results of a research study launched in September 2008 to explore differences between commercial and noncommercial uses of content found online, as those uses are understood by various communities and in connection with a wide variety of content
Excepted from the Executive Summary
The empirical findings suggest that creators and users approach the question of noncommercial use similarly and that overall, online U.S. creators and users are more alike than different in their understanding of noncommercial use. Both creators and users generally consider uses that earn users money or involve online advertising to be commercial, while uses by organizations, by individuals, or for charitable purposes are less commercial but not decidedly noncommercial. Similarly, uses by for-profit companies are typically considered more commercial. Perceptions of the many use cases studied suggest that with the exception of uses that earn users money or involve advertising – at least until specific case scenarios are presented that disrupt those generalized views of commerciality – there is more uncertainty than clarity around whether specific uses of online content are commercial or noncommercial.
Some stats excerpted from the press release:
Creative Commons noncommercial licenses preclude use of a work “in any manner that is primarily intended for or directed toward commercial advantage or private monetary compensation.” The majority of respondents (87% of creators, 85% of users) replied that the definition was “essentially the same as” (43% of creators, 42% of users) or “different from but still compatible with” (44% of creators, 43% of users) theirs. Only 7% of creators and 11% of users replied that the term was “different from and incompatible with” their definition.
Other highlights from the study include the rating by content creators and users of different uses of online content as either “commercial” or “noncommercial” on a scale of 1-100, where 1 is “definitely noncommercial” and 100 is “definitely commercial.” On this scale, creators and users (84.6 and 82.6, respectively) both rate uses in connection with online advertising generally as “commercial.” However, more specific use cases revealed that many interpretations are fact-specific. For example, creators and users gave the specific use case “not-for-profit organization uses work on its site, organization makes enough money from ads to cover hosting costs” ratings of 59.2 and 71.7, respectively.
On the same scale, creators and users (89.4 and 91.7, respectively) both rate uses in which money is made as being commercial, yet again those ratings are lower in use cases specifying cost recovery or use by not-for-profits. Finally, both groups rate “personal or private” use as noncommercial, though creators did so less strongly than users (24.3 and 16.0, respectively, on the same scale).
Hat tip to Digital Koans. [JH]
Hints That Web 2.0 May Alter Long-Standing Patterns of Civic Engagement Based on Socioeconomic Status According to Pew Internet Survey
"Contrary to the hopes of some advocates," writes the authors of the Pew Internet's September 2009 survey findings in The Internet and Civic Engagement, "the internet is not changing the socioeconomic character of civic engagement in America." Higher income, higher educated citizens are more likely than the less well off to participate in online political activities. However, "there are hints that forms of civic engagement anchored in blogs and social networking sites could alter long-standing patterns that are based on socioeconomic status." [JH]
September 07, 2009
Federal Employment Forecast Offers Glimmer of Hope for Legal and Information Professionals
Based on a survey conducted by the Partnership for Public Service of 35 federal agencies representing nearly 99 percent of the 1.9 million federal workforce, the federal government needs to hire nearly 273,000 workers in mission critical jobs in the next three years. Employment opportunities in the fields of compliance and enforcement, legal, information technology, and library and archives represent almost 25% of the projected hiring needs. While the hiring forecast for mission critical jobs in library and archives is only 534 jobs, the estimate represents some growth in this job market because it is larger than the number of employees eligible for retirement. Looks like NARA will be hiring. See the links for hiring projections by federal agency, below.
|Professional Field||Total Federal Employees
|Percentage Eligible for Retirement: FY 2009-2012||Projected Hires for Mission Critical Jobs: FY 2010-2012|
|Compliance & Enforcement||117,645||26%||31,276|
|Library & Archives||2,462||16%||534|
Hiring Projections by Federal Agency:
See the Partnership for Public Service's survey, Where the Jobs Are 2009: Mission-Critical Opportunities for America, for details and the Washington Post's Federal Government Needs Massive Hiring Binge, Study Finds for a summary. [JH]
August 06, 2009
Internet Use Studies from Pew Research Center
Use of the Mobile Internet Increases; African Americans Most Active Users. According to Wireless Internet Use, a report of an April 2009 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, use mobile devices to access the Internet has grown sharply from the end of 2007 to the beginning of 2009. In December 2007, 24% of Americans said they had at some point used the Internet on their mobile device. By April 2009, 32% of Americans said they had at some point used the Internet on their mobile device. African Americans are the most active users of the mobile Internet. 48% of Africans Americans have at one time used their mobile device to access the internet for information, emailing, or instant-messaging, half again the national average of 32%. 29% of African Americans use the mobile Internet on their handheld on an average day, also about half again the national average of 19%. Compared with 2007, when 12% of African Americans used the internet on their mobile on the average day, use of the mobile internet is up by 141%.
Internet Ranks High Among Sources of Information During Recession. 88% of adult Internet users have used the Internet to help them with personal economic issues that have arisen in the recession and to gather information about the origins and solutions to national economic problems according to Pew's The Internet and the Recession. For broadband users, the Internet rivals print media but lags behind broadcasters for general economony information. However, the Internet is the most important source of personal financial information.
July 23, 2009
Have Federal e-Government Initiatives Plateaued?
Despite spending enormous sums, progress on electronic government appears to have plateaued, according to the report E-government 2.0, published by McKinsey & Co. "Many new e-government initiatives have neither generated the anticipated interest among users nor enabled clear gains in operational efficiency." The report noted if agencies fail to view Web services as a business asset, it leads to a lack of oversight and fragmented management. For example, one federal agency found it had more than 100 internal Web sites, dozens of external sites, and multiple tools and platforms to maintain them, the report noted. The report recommends that agencies elevate the governance model for e-government initiatives so that lines-of-business executives are held accountable for users adopting the service, the costs of the online tools and for establishing teams to support development and management. Hat tip to Nextgov. [JH]
July 21, 2009
Assessment of State e-Government Services
The National Center for Public Performance and the American Society for Public Administration have released U.S. States E-Governance Report (2008) An Assessment of State Websites, which evaluates security, usability and content of state websites, the type of online services being offered, and citizen response and participation through websites established by state governments. Here's the top 20:
Hat tip to beSpacific. [JH]
June 24, 2009
Staring at Glowing Rectangles
A new report published this week by researchers at Stanford University suggests that Americans spend the vast majority of each day staring at, interacting with, and deriving satisfaction from glowing rectangles. Details at 90% Of Waking Hours Spent Staring At Glowing Rectangles.
Meanwhile (but related) the latest findings of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project mark a departure from the stagnation in home high-speed adoption rates that had prevailed from December, 2007 through December, 2008. During that period, Project surveys found that home broadband penetration remained in a narrow range between 54% and 57%. An April 2009 survey, Home Broadband Adoption 2009, shows 63% of adult Americans now have broadband internet connections at home. The growth in home broadband adoption occurred even though survey respondents reported paying more for broadband compared to May 2008. Last year, the average monthly bill for broadband internet service at home was $34.50, a figure that stands at $39.00 in April 2009. [JH]
June 11, 2009
JISC: Orphan Works Are Languishing Unused
JISC has released In from the Cold: An Assessment of the Scope of 'Orphan Works' and Its Impact on the Delivery of Services to the Public. A snip from the announcement:
The scale and impact of Orphan Works across the public sector confirms that the presence of Orphan Works is in essence locking up culture and other public sector content and preventing organisations from serving the public interest. Works of little and/or variable commercial value but high academic and cultural significance are languishing unused. Access to an immense amount of this material, essential for education and scholarship, is consequently badly constrained, whilst scarce public sector resources are being used up on complex and unreliable 'due diligence' compliance. Without any kind of UK or European Union-wide legal certainty, there will remain a major risk for all users of Orphan Works. The quantity of Orphan Works and their impact is only accelerating as content is being created and digitised without adherence to any single internationally recognised standard for capturing provenance information.
There are also suggestions that often [works are selected for digitisation based on the fact that they do not pose any copyright issues, thus creating a black hole of 20th century content. These issues stress the need for an informed and skilled public sector to deal with all the issues associated with copyright-related materials, the necessity for access to resources to deal with Orphan Works, and an informed and proportionate understanding of the nature of the risks associated with the use of these works.
Hat tip to Digital Koans. [JH]
May 15, 2009
States Strengthen Whistleblower Protection Laws
Many states are adopting new laws to protect their civil servants who report waste, fraud and abuse, according to a legal analysis released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). While the level of whistleblower protection varies widely across the country, several states are enacting safeguards that surpass those afforded to federal employees.
“Whistleblower laws are a telling measure of transparency and accountability,” stated PEER Staff Counsel Christine Erickson, who compiled recent state legislation. “These laws open secure channels for public servants to communicate with their true employers – the citizens who pay their salaries.”
PEER has completed a detailed analysis of every state’s laws, ranking each on 32 factors affecting the scope of coverage, usefulness and remedies.
- See which states have the strongest and weakest whistleblower laws
- Look at breakdown of whistleblower protection provisions among states
- View highlights of recent state legislation
- Find out about the whistleblower law in your state
May 05, 2009
Budget Concerns, Economic Development and Health Care Top Governors Priorities in 2009
The National Governors Association (NGA) has released an analysis of the Governors' Annual State of the State Addresses which reiterate the stark fiscal outlook most states are facing in 2009.
The Governors Speak 2009 summarizes the initiatives and legislation the nation’s governors emphasized during their annual addresses. The report demonstrates where the chief executives of the states believe their leadership is most needed and uses specific examples to articulate how they intend to accomplish their goals.
According to this year’s summary, “The tenor of the governors’ state-of-the-state addresses in 2009 was tempered by a sharp downturn in state economic conditions, challenging budget decisions and financial difficulties facing state residents. In fact, 79 percent of governors described difficult cuts or revenue short-falls that their state faced, more than double the 36 percent who did so last year." [RJ}
April 18, 2009
Local Government Gone Wild?
The Goldwater Institute has released "A New Charter for American Cities: 10 Rights to Restrain Government and Protect Freedom." The report recommends enacting a "Local Liberty Charter" consisting of 10 judicially enforceable rights to rein-in out-of-control local governments.
"The Local Liberty Charter is not a pledge signed by politicians," said Nick Dranias, Goldwater Institute constitutional policy director and author of the report. "It is meant to be enforceable in court by ordinary citizens. Each right would be implemented by policies that furnish a private right of action, empowering individuals to file lawsuits, when necessary, to compel local governmental officials to respect freedom and perform their legitimate responsibilities." [RJ]
April 12, 2009
Tracking Achievement, Attainment, and Opportunity in America’s Public Schools
Education Watch has released a series of reports offering a state-by-state snapshot of public education in in the United states. "These reports provide a sobering look at the challenging work that lies ahead,” said Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust. “One thing is clear: To secure our economic future, we must confront educational inequities head-on and ensure that every school in America is ready to help every student advance farther, faster." Earlier editions are also available. [RJ]
April 06, 2009
ACLU Releases Comprehensive Report On Patriot Act Abuses
The American Civil Liberties Union released a comprehensive report entitled Reclaiming Patriotism, which examines the widespread abuses that have occurred under the USA Patriot Act. In the almost eight years since the passage of the controversial national security law, the Patriot Act has led to egregious government misconduct.
“From the gagging of our nation’s librarians under the national security letter statute to the gutting of time-honored surveillance laws, the Patriot Act has been disastrous for Americans’ rights,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “In the panic following the events of 9/11, our nation’s lawmakers hastily expanded the government’s authority to a dangerous level and opened a Pandora’s box of surveillance.”
April 04, 2009
New Report Card: Nation’s Mental Health Care System
The National Alliances on Mental Illness (NAMI) has released a new report, Grading the States, assessing the nation’s public mental health care system for adults and finding that the national average grade is a D.
Fourteen states improved their grades since NAMI’s last report card three years ago. Twelve states fell backwards.
“Mental health care in America is in crisis,” said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. “Even states that have worked hard to build life-saving, recovery-oriented systems of care stand to see their progress wiped out.”
March 29, 2009
State of the News Media 2009
This year’s report , from the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism, offers a general overview of the state of journalism as well as detailed examinations of the state of eight separate sectors (newspapers, online, network television, cable television, local television, audio, magazines, and ethnic media). The report also includes an in-depth content analysis, based on a study of nearly 80,000 news stories and television and radio segments in A Year in the News, which this year includes an Interactive Topline where people can explore the data for themselves. [RJ]
March 20, 2009
Task Force on Discovery Releases Final Report
ACTL’s Task Force on Discovery and the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System released their final report on proposed principles designed to treat the nation’s ailing system of civil justice. The report includes a set of 29 proposed Principles that may one day underpin reform of the civil rules of procedure in both federal and state systems.
Among the findings:
- The traditional “one size fits all” application of uniform rules to all cases, irrespective of nature and scope, no longer works; flexibility in applying specialized procedures to some cases should be permitted to promote more efficient and affordable outcomes
- The current system of pleading fails to provide an efficient mechanism for establishing claims or setting limits on the scope of discovery or trial; notice pleading should be replaced by fact-based pleading;
- Discovery costs far too much and has become and end in itself; discovery should be limited by proportionality, taking into account the nature and scope of the case, relevance, importance to the court’s adjudication, expense and burdens;
- The number of experts and the process for deposing them often significantly drives up costs; except in extraordinary cases, only one expert witness per party should be permitted for any given issue;
- Rotating judges managing a single case can undermine clarity and consistency; a single judicial officer should remain with a case throughout its life cycle. [RJ]
March 09, 2009
Are Antiquated State Laws Fueling the Foreclosure Crisis?
A new report from the National Consumer Law Center entitled ""Foreclosing A Dream: State Laws Deprive Homeowners of Basic Protections," identifies some of the most antiquated state law provisions, which are "tilted against homeowners" and acting as a little-understood factor that is helping to accelerate the U.S. home foreclosure crisis.
According to the NCLC report, examples of state laws tilted against homeowners include the following:
- "Fast track" foreclosure.
- No direct notification of foreclosure proceedings.
- No effort required to find solutions short of foreclosure.
- Eleventh-hour payments can be ignored.
- Heaping on of penalties that can send homeowners over the edge.
- More penalties even after home is lost and sold at auction.
NCLC also provides a comprehensive summary of state foreclosure laws. [RJ]
March 07, 2009
The Economic Crisis and the Fiscal Crisis: 2009 and Beyond
"With the economy mired in the deepest recession in decades a drop in economic activity that has been compounded by continuing mortgage defaults, a historic decline in housing prices, falling equity values, illiquid credit markets, declining consumer confidence, and enormous and rapid job losses attention has shifted away from problems of fiscal balance. However, the most recent Congressional Budget Office baseline projection (2009a) reports a fiscal year 2009 deficit of $1,186 billion, or 8.3 percent of GDP, under the assumption that no new tax or spending policies are implemented. Including the recently enacted $787 billion stimulus package raises the 2009 deficit by roughly $185 billion (CBO 2009b). Either the baseline projection or the baseline-plus-stimulus would represent the largest deficit in dollar terms and as a share of the economy since World War II, as well as a stunning shift from the budget surpluses of a decade ago.
This paper discusses the impact of recent tumultuous economic events and policy interventions on the Federal fiscal picture for the immediate future and for the longer run. Because these events and policies are still unfolding rapidly, the paper will be updated over the next few weeks and months." [RJ]
March 03, 2009
New Rockefeller Institute Report Examines State Budgets and the Federal Stimulus Package
While states will benefit greatly from the federal stimulus program state budget gaps still loom at the end of that period, according to a new report issued today by the Rockefeller Institute of Government.
The report, What Will Happen to State Budgets When the Money Runs Out?, says that even under the most optimistic of scenarios, state tax collections will not return to pre-recession levels until well after the 2011-2012 fiscal year, when the bulk of new assistance for states will end. At that time, states will once again face severe budget gaps, the study finds.
“The economic and revenue picture for states is uncertain,” the report says. It adds, “Under any likely scenario, states will face significant budget problems when the new federal aid runs out.” [RJ]