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WeGov

What To Do With Those Fake Photos From Venezuela

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, February 24 2014

A photo from a 2011 Al Jazeera story about student protests in Chile was repurposed in Venezuela earlier this month.

First POST: Secret-Spilling Machine

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, February 24 2014

Some unanswered questions about Ukraine's #EuroMaidan protests; Julian Assange's ghostwriter speaks out on his subject's megalomania; Gawker's Nick Denton on the end of privacy; and much, much more. Read More

Digital Engagement Starting to Be New Normal in New York City Council and City Hall

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 21 2014

Google Hangout with Ben Kallos

Public officials in New York City, from the mayor down to newly elected members of the City Council, are starting to make digital engagement more of an integrated part of their daily routine, as Miranda Neubauer reports. Read More

WeGov

Absent a Labor Union, Chinese Workers Organize With Social Media and Cheap Smartphones

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, February 21 2014

A clothing factory in Dongguan, China (credit: Ed-meister/flickr)

A new report by the China Labour Bulletin says that since China does not allow the formation of independent trade unions, social media and affordable smartphones have served as crucial organizing tools for Chinese workers. Read More

WeGov

After Snowden Leaks, Is a Promise Enough to Protect Digital Rights in Europe? (updated)

BY Antonella Napolitano and Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 21 2014

WePromise.eu

In Europe, a coalition of privacy and civil rights groups, known as EDRi, is pushing to keep digital rights and privacy a hot button issue through a new online petitioning platform, WePromise, strategically using the political momentum of the EU's upcoming parliamentary elections: 28 EU countries are currently immersed in electoral campaigning and between May 22nd and 25th, citizens from all over Europe will elect 751 new (and old) Members of the European Parliament. So it seems that EDRi's launch of WePromise in early February couldn't come at a better time. But is making promises enough? Read More

WeGov

Transparency Optional? Try Poderopedia

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, February 21 2014

Transparency is important (Seth Thomas Rasmussen/Flickr)

In many parts of the world, political transparency is still considered to be optional. Take Panama, for example, where political candidates are not required to declare assets, sources of funding or potential conflicts of interest. This puts the onus of discovery and exposure on the public. However, before Panama voters head to the polls in May they can check a Poderopedia-powered platform chock full of vital information crowdsourced (and verified) by journalists and citizens. The project is called “Cuida Tu Voto” (“Watch Your Vote”) and launched in Panama City earlier this week.

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First POST: Too Big to Read Our Mail

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, February 21 2014

Why and how the NSA should be broken up; Comcast's lobbying blitz; the vital role of social media in Ukraine and Venezuela; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Building an Automatic "Lie Detector" for Twitter

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, February 20 2014

American inventor Leonarde Keeler testing his lie-detector (Wikipedia/public domain)

An international group of researchers led by the University of Sheffield is building a social media “lie detector” called Pheme, after the mythological rumormonger, that can determine in real time whether a information spread on social media is true or false.

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WeGov

In India, an E-Gov Platform Inspired by Wikipedia

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, February 20 2014

In India, making the shift from paper to online (FriskoDude/Flickr)

On February 18 the Indian government launched an information website inspired by Wikipedia. Vikaspedia is available in five local languages, including English, and will eventually expand to include 22 more Indian languages.

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First POST: Heat List

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, February 20 2014

The FCC offers new rules to protect net neutrality; Homeland Security backs down on license plate tracking; the Facebook-WhatsApp deal; and much, much more. 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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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.

GO

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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