Berkman introduces Herdict Web browser add-in

herdict The Berkman Center at Harvard has announced an new extension to their Herdict “verdicts of the herd” project.. Herdict Web aggregates reports of inaccessible sites, allowing users to compare data to see if inacessibility is a shared problem. By crowd-sourcing data from around the world, Herdict can then document accessibility for any web site.

A nifty explanatory video has been produced:

Anyone interested in helping track blockages of information around the
Web can download a small add-in for Firefox or IE. Then, as you surf,
an icon will change colors depending on whether the site you are
visiting has been reported as inaccessible by others near you or
elsewhere in the world. Data is accumulated at the main web site,
producing a realtime map of reports of blockages, and there’s an
“AmIBlockedOrNot” mode where you can page through sites reported as
inaccessible and see whether you can load them yourself. The hope is
to gather data in near-real-time about blockages, allow people to know
what sites appear to be blocked and where, and to test out the notion
that distributed efforts can work in this field. This may help to
enumerate “traditional” filtering — such as that done in China and
Saudi Arabia (Chinese and Arabic language versions of the site are in
progress) — and also more network neutrality-related issues, such as
filtering in schools and corporate environments. People can also
report as inaccessible material that has been taken down from a site,
such as a YouTube link that no longer works, and thus show retractions
of data or geofiltering — such as when YouTube blocks certain videos
only for subscribers accessing from Thailand.

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