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WeGov

Open Data Gives New Lease of Life for Civil Society in the South Caucasus

BY Onnik James Krikorian | Thursday, April 3 2014

Eric Barrett, Executive Director of Jumpstart Georgia at the Central Open Data Hackathon in Warsaw (Onnik James Krikorian)

Two weeks ago, on March 21, 2014, the Georgian chapter of leading international anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International called on the country’s citizens to turn off their mobile phones for one hour to protest government surveillance. The action came in the wake of revelations that the previous authorities were intercepting phone calls, text messages, and internet traffic on a systematic basis. The European Union calls the situation that still exists today under a new government, "a jungle of misuse of the possibilities of technology to record almost everything." Yet, despite concerns regarding the amount of data collected on citizens in the former Soviet republic, large online databases of government information might actually be giving the media and civil society in Georgia a new lease of life in fighting corruption and engaging citizens. Read More

WeGov

Privacy and Surveillance are the Elephant in the Room at OGP Summit [UPDATED]

BY Katrin Verclas | Friday, November 1 2013

Intel Free Press/flickr

Privacy, surveillance and the closing of political space for openness and transparency activists in many countries was the hot issue at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit in London that was left largely unaddressed by the OGP member countries present. Read More

WeGov

The Wacky World of Authoritarian Regimes on Social Media

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, February 4 2013

Gulnara Karimova's Twitter page.

For many authoritarian states, social media can present the ultimate threat: anti-regime discourse and dissent from the party line. This hasn’t stopped many despots from taking to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Read More

WeGov

At the 2012 IGF in Baku, the Azeri Government's Disdain for Freedom Was on Full Display

BY Nighat Dad | Tuesday, November 20 2012

IGF session. (Credit: Internet Society/Flickr)

The 2012 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was held in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan — a country that makes all the Top 10 lists of human rights violators, Internet censors and political freedom repressers. At this year's conference, their disdain for freedom of expression was all too apparent. Read More

WeGov

European Officials at Internet Governance Forum in Baku Report their Laptops Hacked

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, November 9 2012

Azerbaijan's hosting of the 7th annual Internet Governance Forum (IGF) has turned into something of a fiasco, with EU officials reporting their laptops hacked and an official from another European organization visiting during the forum for the purpose of lambasting the government for restricting freedom of speech and human rights. Read More

Dissident Blogger Arrested in Azerbaijan

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, October 11 2012

The apparently politically motivated arrest of an Azeri opposition blogger and activist has elicited heated responses from Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Amnesty International. Zaur Gurbanli was arrested on September 29 by plainclothes members of the interior ministry's organized crime unit, but was held incommunicado for two days before the announcement of his detention, which was extended for a further 15 days. Read More