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First POST: Half-Orcs and Whips

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 6 2013

Two Google network security engineers vent their anger at the NSA's hacking of their systems; the President and First Lady as White House ushers on YouTube; the Amazon book review war heats up on Amazon; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: The 16-Year-Old Vote

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 5 2013

Some pesky petitions that the White House still hasn't responded to; more evidence of the NSA's violation of Google's and Yahoo's data networks; the new book on Jeff Bezos gets reviewed by his wife MacKenzie Bezos, on Amazon; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Juggernautism

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 4 2013

Google chairman Eric Schmidt calls the NSA's actions "outrageous"; the inside story of how Beltway politics doomed the launch of HealthCare.gov; Comcast's bid to knock out Seattle's mayor; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Contained Fury

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 30 2013

Members of the House Intelligence Committee disagree about whether the NSA has kept them fully informed; Sen. Rand Paul a serial plagiarizer?; An antidote to technolibertarianism; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Snoop Dog

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 29 2013

Dianne Feinstein finally decides that the NSA hasn't been straight with the Senate Intelligence Committee; Kentucky's successful health care exchange; the latest Silicon Valley techno-libertarian rant; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Greenwald's Day

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 28 2013

Edward Snowden explains why he chose to reach out to independent journalist Glenn Greenwald; Clay Shirky explains why HealthCare.gov is a management failure; David Karpf shares his doubts about Change.org's new direction; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Agility

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, October 25 2013

How two Democratic tech gurus would fix HealthCare.gov; how the NSA scandal is threatening US-Europe relations; how a Syrian Kurd living in exile built a mobile tool that alerts subscribers in Syria when a government-fired Scud missile is headed their way; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Touchy

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 24 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:The NSA scandal is having repercussions now in Germany; How to successfully launched a government website; Why "big government" can't be agile; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Kinks

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 22 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:: The HealthCare.gov website mess is getting uglier; StopWatching.us comes under criticism from the liberal-left; Bloomberg's tech legacy for his successor; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Surging

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 21 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Will a "tech surge" of the "best and brightest" save HealthCare.gov?: FWD.us holding a hackathon to build engagement tools to help win the immigration reform fight; David Carr's chat with Pierre Omidyar; and much, much more. Read More

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

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wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

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The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

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tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

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Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

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monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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