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Hashtags and Robots.txt: How German Parliament Debates Internet Policy

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, November 30 2012

The German Parliament on Thursday held its first debate about a government-proposed law that could force search engines and other online news aggregators to pay a license fee to news publishers for displaying snippets of online news articles.

During this first round of debate, scheduled Thursday at 10:40 p.m., Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration and its allies defended the law as harmless to freedom of expression and a necessary step to regulate an increasingly vital Internet. Opponents questioned the unforeseen consequences that might result and criticized the coalition government's record on Internet policy, joining Google and some allies who have sought in recent weeks to build public opposition to the law.

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First POST: "Hey," Redux

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, November 30 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Quantifying the usefulness of the "Hey" email subject line; anger mounts among Republicans over how much money consultants made on the Mitt Romney campaign versus how many missteps the campaign reportedly made; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

First POST: Hashtags

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, November 29 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The White House's new aggressive use of the web to support its policies; Obama for America reports back about a supporter survey; how a Google lobbying push might have German lawmakers on the defensive; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

It's Like Snopes For Your Inbox

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, November 28 2012

A group of developers have created a tool that uses information from Politifact and Factcheck.org to highlight red flags for forwarded e-mails that contain misinformation. The tool, LazyTruth, is currently only available as a Chrome extension for Gmail, although the developers say they are interested in expanding to other email providers and browsers. Read More

First POST: Retrospectives

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, November 28 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Top Republican digital strategists plan to analyze the election aftermath; Rep. Darrell Issa goes to Reddit looking for a conversation about Internet regulations; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

WeGov

With "Betatext," German Green Party Tries Out Open-Source Politics

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, November 27 2012

(wegewerk)

As Germany gears up for its parliamentary elections in fall 2013, the parliamentary group of the German Green Party has released a tool called betatext to allow supporters to comment on position papers, motions or legislative drafts. "While others only talk about more participation and transparency in the political process -- we implement it," the parliamentary group states. Users of the tool can also see other people's comments and rate them. Read More

First POST: Bad Bet

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, November 27 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Court action on the right to record law enforcement officials; movement at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; no more political bets for Americans on the prediction markets of Intrade; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

First POST: Leftovers

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, November 26 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Understanding the 2012 Obama campaign apparatus' legacy; analyzing the Israel-Palestine online propaganda war; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

First POST: Gobbler and Cobbler

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, November 21 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The next step for Obama for America; confusion over Senate legislation governing law enforcement access to online communication; opening up this year's presidential turkey pardon to the wisdom of the crowd; and more in today's pre-Turkey Day roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

First POST: Demythologizing

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, November 20 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Demythologizing the Obama 2012 campaign; analyzing social media in the election's final days; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

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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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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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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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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