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First POST: Collections

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 13 2014

The collection of phone meta-data would not have stopped any terrorist attacks since 9-11, says a New America Foundation study; Christie's aides are hardly the only political hacks using personal email to avoid public records laws; Matthew Burton explains how the CFPB's experience can help other govies make better web products; and much, much more. Read More

After the London Riots, a Tech-Savvy Study to Understand the Unrest

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, December 5 2011

A study recently conducted by the Guardian and the London School of Economics takes an American post-riot practice — collaboration between a newspaper and a more academic institution to pick apart the reasons for ... Read More

On The British Government's Study of Banning Criminal Suspects From Social Media

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, August 11 2011

The British government believes it may be able to prevent the kind of destruction that happened to the Croydon building pictured above during recent riots by banning suspected criminals from social media. Photo: Peter G. ... Read More

Tottenham Rioters, BlackBerry Messaging, and the Rise of the 'Flash Mob' As Something Scary

BY Nick Judd | Monday, August 8 2011

In the aftermath of this weekend's riots in London, in which 170 people have been reportedly arrested, some folks are focusing on the role instantaneous communication played in the making of a scene of mayhem. From The ... Read More

In U.S., Smartphones Are Helping Minorities Leapfrog Over the Digital Divide

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, July 11 2011

There's more evidence of smartphone usage in the United States enabling a kind of "leapfrog effect" over the digital divide. According to a new report by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American LIfe Project, 44 ... Read More

An iPad or 50 Amid a Sea of BlackBerrys

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, May 31 2011

iPads, iPhones, and other non-Blackberry personal tech devices are gaining traction in official Washington, reports the Washington Post's Michael S. Rosenwald -- though your call on whether the fact that 50 iPads or ... Read More

Obama and His iPad: I Do Not Think "Tether" Means What You Think It Means

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, March 30 2011

Here's a funny little mix-up that happened when normal human speech got translated to technologist talk. The tech press is running with a report that not only did President Barack Obama talk at a Univision townhall ... Read More

The Mideast BlackBerry Crackdown

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, August 2 2010

The concept of one world, one Internet takes another hit with the news that the United Arab Emirates and Saudia Arabia will block BlackBerry services because they can't monitor the traffic: Read More

Photo Essay: "My thumbs are too clumsy to type in things on the phone," says President Obama

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 16 2009

Yesterday, at a townhall meeting with Chinese students in Shaghai, President Obama had much praise for the Internet and its role in democracy, politics and society. Unfortunately, he prefaced his remarks with this ... Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed 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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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

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