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Privacy Advocates Put Microsoft's Transparency Report In Context

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, March 25 2013

Microsoft's publication of its first law enforcement transparency report last Thursday met with praise from privacy advocates, who hope that this will spur others to do the same. However, some of them warned that the numbers have to be viewed in broader context. Read More

San Francisco Tells New York: Our Data Is Bigger Than Your Data

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, March 25 2013

Photo: Thomas Hawk/Flickr

San Francisco city officials have watched their brethren in New York have a day in the sun for a new emphasis on what you might call data-driven governance — and they're ready for their turn. Read More

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Ends His Tenure Not With a Bang, but a "Meh"

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, March 22 2013

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski told the commission's staff Friday that he's stepping down in the next few weeks. Telecommunications observers and experts say that under Genachowski's tenure, the FCC did a serviceable — if unambitious — job of addressing necessary changes in policy to adapt to broadband Internet and a shifting communications landscape. Read More

Microsoft Finally Reveals Statistics on Law Enforcement Requests for User Information

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, March 21 2013

Microsoft on Thursday reported that law enforcement authorities around the globe had made 75,378 requests for information about the users of its services in 2012. The company said that those requests "impacted potentially 137,424 accounts." It estimates that these requests affected less than .02 percent of its active users. Read More

Organizing for Action Is Ramping Up

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, March 21 2013

Organizing for Action isn't wasting time letting the lessons of 2012 languish. The campaign is ramping up and just sent out a list of positions that it's looking to fill. Among those wanted: e-mail strategists and ... Read More

Lawmakers Ponder the Dawn of a Drone-Surveillance State

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, March 20 2013

Senate lawmakers on Wednesday grappled with the question of how they can preserve the privacy rights of American citizens as domestic uses of unmanned aircraft take off both in the private sector and in the world of law enforcement. Read More

Republican FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell To Step Down

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, March 20 2013

Robert McDowell, a Republican commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, said during a public Wednesday morning meeting that he's leaving the agency. Read More

What "Growth and Opportunity" Means for a Digital GOP

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, March 18 2013

Several conservative operatives and party alumni expressed cautious optimism on Monday as the Republican National Committee issued a 100-page report that implicitly acknowledged their criticisms, and then outlined a framework for revamping its operations to correct those deficiencies. Some Democrats, meanwhile, took notice of the Republican Party's efforts — and took it as a sign that they shouldn't be complacent in the afterglow from electoral victories on several fronts in 2012. Read More

The Tech Arms Race Is On: Democratic National Committee Is Also Hiring

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, March 15 2013

The Republicans aren't the only ones looking for tech talent. The Democrats are too. The Democratic National Committee is hiring a new tech team, to be directed by the DNC's Technology Director Bryan Whitaker. An e-mail ... Read More

Elizabeth Warren's Digital Director Joins Bully Pulpit Interactive

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, March 14 2013

Lauren Miller, who served as Elizabeth Warren's new media director during the then-Democratic candidate's 2012 bid for the Massachusetts' senate seat, has joined Bully Pulpit Interactive in Washington, DC as a senior ... Read More

News Briefs

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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