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First POST: Rules

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, December 2 2011

  • Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land takes an in-depth look at how Apple has been handling its first search-related scandal related to the iPhone's Siri not being able to find an abortion clinic. He notes that the problem isn't "because Apple is pro-life. It’s because Planned Parenthood doesn’t call itself an abortion clinic." Stephen Colbert also had his own take on the issue.

  • Dan Gillmor points out that teen tweeter Emma Sullivan is lucky she lives in Kansas and not in Thailand.

  • There's a new Facebook clone — the only catch is that it is only accessible from Cuba.

  • The Sunlight Foundation notes that the Senate is now publishing its spending online, but there is still room for improvement.

  • The director of the U.S. Copyright Office gives an update on how the agency is going about growing a searchable index of its 70 million imaged records.

  • Voting is open for the best of 42 New York Metropolitan Transportation Agency apps created by developers. Among the options is TurnstileData, which showcases how many people have passed through a given turnstile in the past four hours.

  • This Saturday is Open Data Day throughout the world. In New York City, for example, participants will be coming up with tech-savvy ways to explain the farm bill, while in Shanghai, users will be mapping and visualizing environment related data.

  • The House of Representatives yesterday voted to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission, which was created after the 2000 election to improve proper election administration. The Republican-controlled House aims to save $16.3 million annually. The Democratic-controlled Senate is unlikely to take up the bill.

  • Russia censors television broadcasts from one time zone to the next. But at the same time the AP notes "the uncut programs are quickly posted on the Internet, where they are discussed and spread through Russia's thriving blogosphere by a growing number of Russians unhappy with Putin's rule."

    It also states:

    Russia now has the highest number of Internet users among 18 countries in Europe, with market research company comScore Inc. recording 50.8 million unique visitors to the Internet in September. In the same month, Russia had the fifth most engaged social networking audience in the world, with the average user spending 9.7 hours a day on popular social networking sites.

    The percentage of Russians using the Internet is still low by European standards but it has been growing steadily.

  • Jon Huntsman has now come out with four web videos accusing Mitt Romney of flip-flopping, ABC reports. What Huntsman calls "Backflip" is the same line of attack the Democratic National Committee is using with

  • Netflix has named Christopher Libertelli head of its Washington policy office. He was previously the head of North and South American government regulations for Skype.

  • The New York Times is asking users to submit campaign materials in Iowa.

  • A House Committee has approved a new cyber-security bill, while at the same time Germany ran a cyber-attack crisis management exercise.

  • Yesterday at GeekNetNYC, Lee Rainie, the Director of the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, gave a presentation on the "The new landscape for civics and politics (especially in mobile)." He noted, for example, that "26 percent of adults used cell phones for political purposes in 2010." This will likely "double" in '12."

  • And then there is a new study out from Pew today: "On any given day, 53 percent of all the young adults ages 18-29 go online for no particular reason except to have fun or to pass the time."

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.


tuesday > Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like 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 is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and And strangely enough, seems to want its early users to ask 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.


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.


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.


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.