Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Pickets

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, December 9 2011

  • Hillary Clinton gave a foreceful speech on the need for Internet freedom at a ministerial conference in The Hague yesterday. As part of her speech she stated:

    So right now, in various international forums, some countries are working to change how the internet is governed. They want to replace the current multi-stakeholder approach, which includes governments, the private sector, and citizens, and supports the free flow of information, in a single global network. In its place, they aim to impose a system cemented in a global code that expands control over internet resources, institutions, and content, and centralizes that control in the hands of governments.
    [...]
    In effect, the governments pushing this agenda want to create national barriers in cyberspace. This approach would be disastrous for internet freedom. More government control will further constrict what people in repressive environments can do online. It would also be disastrous for the internet as a whole, because it would reduce the dynamism of the internet for everyone. Fragmenting the global internet by erecting barriers around national internets would change the landscape of cyberspace. In this scenario, the internet would contain people in a series of digital bubbles, rather than connecting them in a global network. Breaking the internet into pieces would give you echo chambers rather than an innovative global marketplace of ideas.

  • A group supporting Mitt Romney accidentally leaked an ad critical of Newt Gingrich on Youtube before taking it down.

  • The Obama campaign goes behind the scenes of its new website.

  • Staffers of Rep. Rick Larsen (D-WA) were fired after tweets about unprofessional behavior.

  • Occupy Wall Street protesters take down a "Law & Order SVU" set in Foley Square made to emulate occupied Zuccotti Park.

  • New York University will offer a course on Occupy Wall Street next semester.

  • A murder conviction in Arkansas was thrown out in part due to tweets from a jury member. In the U.K, a judge warned that juries could be inappropriately looking information up online.

  • Hollywood companies will be running an ad campaign in support of anti-piracy legislation. At the same time, technological entrepreneurs and innovators have formed a group of their own to represent their interests in Washington.

  • At a hearing, senators expressed concerns about ICANN's expansion of new top-level domains.

  • New England police departments participate in training on using data to fight crime and car crashes.

  • Kashmir Hill at Forbes is skeptical of the journalistic practices employed by the "Oregon blogger."

  • CNN looks into the secrecy surrounding the opening of new Apple stores, including the one opening in New York City's Grand Central today. (via @noelrk)

    Interviews with nearly two dozen people involved in the development of upcoming and recently opened U.S. Apple Stores, including the one in Grand Central, provide a look at Apple's unusually furtive way of doing business. These people say Apple sometimes employs uncommon legal tactics, refuses to name itself in public documents and hearings, and has sworn city government officials to secrecy.
    [...]
    When reached by phone in October, MTA spokeswoman Marjorie Anders told CNN in response to a question about the soon-to-open Apple Store, "We're not talking about that." Why? "Because Apple doesn't want us to." Is this typical?
    "No, but Apple is not typical," Anders said. Further questions, she said, would need to be submitted in a formal Freedom of Information request, a government process that can take months to yield documents.

  • New York open government bill remains held up in legislature.

  • Mainland Chinese residents watched a Taiwanese presidential debate online even as China sought to censor access, and one Chinese resident attempted to make his way to Taiwan on a flotation device.

  • Chinese activists are also recording pollution levels and posting them online.

  • A German state lawmaker steps down after making contact with a 15-year-old on Facebook (in German).

  • News Briefs

    RSS Feed tuesday >

    Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

    Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

    Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

    A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

    GO

    monday >

    The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

    Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

    The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

    Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

    GO

    The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

    It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

    GO

    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.

    GO

    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.

    GO

    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.

    GO

    More