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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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.