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The British Government's "Twitter Exclusives"

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, April 29 2013

As Britain slowly gears up for its 2015 general election, the government of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron has begun a more aggressive Twitter strategy, the Guardian reported. Read More

Can Tweets Predict the Vote?

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, April 25 2013

Analyzing nearly 800 competitive races in the 2010 and 2012 congressional elections, researchers have found that the frequency with which a Republican is named correlates with the Republican vote margin the subsequent election, independently of other factors such as incumbency, media coverage, partisanship and demographics. Read More

Why Twitter Didn't Believe the "Hacked" AP, But Bought False Facts About Boston Manhunt

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, April 24 2013

When the Associated Press' Twitter account caused a brief stir Tuesday by posting a false report that President Barack Obama had been injured in a fictitious bombing at the White House, stocks plummeted — but only for a few minutes. That response differed significantly from the situation late April 18 and early the next morning, a Friday, as the first reports emerged of the manhunt that would bring Boston to a halt for a full day. It's an example of how quickly misinformation can spread online in the absence of rapid action to roust it away. Read More

NRCC Plans "Digital College" for Hill Staffers

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, April 18 2013

The National Republican Congressional Committee plans to start a "digital college" training program for Hill staffers, Campaigns and Elections reported. Under the program beginning in May, staffers will learn about setting up webpages, e-mail outreach and Google Adwords, with a special focus on accountability metrics, according to C & R. Read More

WeGov

French Ministers Disclose Country Homes and Cars on New Website

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, April 18 2013

French government ministers and the French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault are now publishing a list of their assets on a special government website. The news comes just weeks after Budget Minister Jerome Cahuzac resigned following a report on an investigative French website, Mediapart, that he had an undeclared Swiss bank account. Read More

National Design Service? Gov.uk Wins Design of the Year Award

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, April 17 2013

The website of the British Government Digital Service, GOV.UK, last night won the London Design Museum's Design of the Year Award. "The jury unanimously agreed that GOV.UK was the overall winner for Design of the Year 2013 for its well thought out yet understated design, making the user experience faster and easier. The website is regarded as one of the leading government websites in the world," the museum stated in a press release. Read More

Aaron Swartz and Anonymous in "The Good Wife"

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, April 16 2013

Anonymous on The Good Wife (CBS Publicity)

Mass media imitated life in a new way last weekend, as an episode of CBS's The Good Wife invoked the memory of the late, troubled programmer Aaron Swartz as it explored the lines between Anonymous, Internet activism and idealism. The Good Wife has already drawn attention for its writers' tendency to use recent events as material. The episode, which first aired Sunday, also evoked Steubenville rape case and that of a Kentucky teenager who was charged in 2012 for naming her alleged attackers on Twitter. Read More

Two Ways to Fight "Tax Evaders" on Tax Day — In a Manner of Speaking

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, April 15 2013

Tax Evaders screenshot

Two groups of web developers released online games in the run-up to Monday's tax deadline that invoke the steady drip-drip-drip of news from leaks disclosing the extent to which multinational corporations and wealthy individuals use offshore accounts to avoid tax obligations. Read More

NRCC Wants to Make Vine Attack Ads a Thing With S. Carolina Congressional Race

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, April 12 2013

The NRCC has launched what it says is the first political attack ad in the form of a six-second Vine video in the House race in South Carolina's First District, where Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of Stephen Colbert, is running against former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. Read More

Hackathon Promises $50,000 to Apps for a Smarter Subway Ride

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, April 11 2013

Previous year's contest winner, Embark. Source: Embark

The New York City MTA and AT&T are co-sponsoring a two-day hackathon to launch this year's MTA App Quest program in partnership with NYU Poly and ChallengePost, which helps run problem-solving competitions for government agencies and software companies. 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

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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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