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What Romney's New "No Cameras" Event Policy and Street Protests Have in Common

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 10 2012

Occupy protesters in Chicago in May, a photographer looking on. Photo: Vondereauvisuals

From political fundraisers in the mansions of the wealthy to street protests in lower Manhattan, people in power are pushing back against the spread of digital cameras.

You don't have to spend long on YouTube or Instagram to see that every day, people ratify a social contract that extends the right to record off the streets and into any large gathering. But this makes trouble in politics, and so the campaigns are asking their high-dollar donors to agree to different terms. The same friction between authorities used to having exclusive control of the official record and citizens with a right to document what really happens is taking place in the streets of New York and elsewhere, in confrontations between citizens and police.

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To Spur Donations, Obama Campaign Reminds Donors of What They've Given Already

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 10 2012

Appealing to donors' sense of urgency and their history with the campaign, Barack Obama's re-election effort is sending people on its email list a fundraising ask that includes information on how much they've given in the past — going all the way back to the 2008 campaign. Read More

For the Campaigns, Online Debate Response is All About Mobile

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 3 2012

The Obama and Romney campaigns will be trying to reach supporters through mobile devices tonight to talk about this evening's presidential debate, and for good reason.

Half of all Americans have Internet access through a tablet or a smartphone, according to data released Monday by Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and The Economist Group. It doesn't matter whether someone is watching the debate on home television, at a computer or in a bar — there's a fifty-fifty chance that any debate viewer has an Internet-ready second screen.

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[Editorial] Presidential Debates Commission Keeps the Internet Bottled Up

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 1 2012

Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard M. Nixon during the first televised U.S. presidential debate in 1960.

The American presidential debates are one of the last great institutions of the era of broadcast politics, and arguably the one that has changed the least since the rise of the Internet, despite public demands for greater participation and transparency. With the first head-to-head appearance of President Obama and Governor Romney coming this Wednesday night in Denver, the web is gearing up to join in the conversation. Unfortunately, despite some nice words come out of the Commission on Presidential Debates and the announcement of a "new digital coalition" with AOL, Google and Yahoo! participating, there's no sign that the debates are going to change one iota from their traditional form. Read More

Through Texts and Online Video, Presidential Campaigns Want You To Know -- They're the Job Creators

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, September 17 2012

As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney continued to criticize each other on Monday regarding their respective relationships with China either on the policy or business fronts, both campaigns kept reaching out to voters and ... Read More

Mitt Romney's Campaign Takes Tech "Parity" With OfA to a Whole New Level

BY Nick Judd | Monday, September 10 2012

On Aug. 25, Mitt Romney's campaign announced "Victory Wallet," which allows users who opt in to authorize one-click donations to the campaign going forward. As BuzzFeed and Salon also noted, following the klaxon call of progressive digital activists Jessica Morales and Matt Ortega, the Romney campaign was using copy on that page that is identical to the text used by Obama for America for its very same feature. Read More

Obama for America Offers Volunteers "Trip Planner," A Craigslist for the Campaign

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, September 10 2012

With Election Day less than two months away, the presidential campaigns are focused on their ground games. To help volunteers get to battleground states, the Obama campaign has created Trip Planner. Read More

Answers from Barack Obama's "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit [UPDATED]

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, August 29 2012

So far, President Obama has answered several user-submitted questions posed to him in the last 45 minutes on Reddit. Supporters of Internet Freedom, the space program and campaign finance reform should like what he's said. English grammar teachers, not so much. Apparently he doesn't like capitalization. Here's some of what he's said so far. Read More

The Ultimate AMA: Barack Obama To Do Q&A With Reddit Today

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, August 29 2012

Barack Obama's verification photo, proving that he's involved in an "Ask Me Anything" on Reddit Wednesday.

Reddit users will get to "ask anything" of the leader of the free world this afternoon, according to an announcement on the site. Read More

'Internet Freedom' Is a Republican Platform Plank; Democrats To Have a Policy, Too

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, August 28 2012

The concept of "Internet freedom" is expected to become part of the Republican party platform for the first time on Tuesday when the party's platform committee votes to ratify language that it had drafted earlier last week. The move addresses the recent demands of dozens of Internet activists and groups for both parties to adopt language addressing the issue, and illustrates the enduring impact of the movement created by the broad protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act in January. 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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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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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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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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