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First POST: Throne Games, Phone Games

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 15 2014

An explosive new report about Verizon's apparent abuse of Title II of the Telecom Act; the "glass cliff" and the demise of NYT executive editor Jill Abramson; what the European high court forgot to do in its ruling against Google; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

The EU and I: How to Vote for an MEP If You Can't Keep Your Parties Straight

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, May 15 2014

Screenshot of euandi results

Next week Europeans will go to the polls to elect representatives to the European Parliament. Over the course of four days, the 28 members states combined will choose 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). To help them with their decision, voters can turn to the Voting Advice Application euandi. After responding to 28 policy statements, euandi lists the parties that align most closely with voters' values. VAAs have been shown to increase voter turn out on election day and to raise voter awareness about political issues, but statement selection can have an outsized effect on recommendations, leaving plenty of room for bias and inaccuracy.

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WeGov

In Gaza, Tech Start-Ups Break Down Barriers to Entrepreneurship

BY Daniella Peled | Wednesday, May 14 2014

Gaza is now home to a promising startup scene (Mercy Corps)

In Gaza, where the blockade has made entrepreneurship difficult and some times impossible, enterprises that exist in a virtual world, one where the difficulty of physically crossing borders can be overcome, are becoming increasingly attractive. It’s too soon to tell whether entrepreneurship and a new fledgling tech start-up community is helping the beleaguered economy of the Strip, but those involved in the sector hope it can capture the imagination of a generation mired in frustration and give them hope for the future. Daniella Peled reports from Gaza. Read More

WeGov

When Cute Cats Aren't Enough to Save Vimeo (or Reddit, Imgur, & 100+ Other Sites Blocked in Indonesia)

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 14 2014

In his 2008 talk on the Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism, Ethan Zuckerman said “if you're not getting porn in your system, it doesn't work.” The idea is that popular platforms flush with cute cats and other innocuous, user-generated content are robust enough to support more controversial content, like pornography and social and political activism. Governments around the world, however, are throwing cute cats to the wind in their quest to rid the Internet of pornography (as impossible as that must seem to people who use the Internet). The most recent victims of the porn crackdown: Vimeo, Reddit and Imgur, which are now all blocked in Indonesia.

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WeGov

Monithon, a Government “Monitoring Marathon” in Italy

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, May 14 2014

One of the layers of the Monithon Map shows government-confiscated real estate that once belonged to the mafia

In Italy, an independently developed initiative called "Monithon" is trying to foster online citizen observation and reporting on the development of projects funded by the European Union, a topic of particular interest at the moment given it is only a week from the European Parliamentary elections. Read More

#PDF14 Here Come the Breakouts! [UPDATED!]

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 14 2014

The breakout scene at PDF 2012 (Photo credit: Esty Stein)

In addition to three dozen fantastic main hall keynoters, Personal Democracy Forum 2014 (#PDF14) is proud to offer the following amazing array of breakout speakers. Breakout sessions take place after lunch on both days of PDF, back-to-back from 2:00 to 3:00pm and then, after a coffee break, from 3:30-4:30pm. They will be held upstairs from NYU's Skirball Hall in the Kimmel Center on the 8th and 9th floors. Read More

First POST: Our Surveillance Society

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 14 2014

Senate mavericks Udall and Wyden take on the government's "culture of misinformation" about surveillance; all the private ways companies track individuals will curl your hair; how the European high court ruling against Google may change journalism and free speech; and much, much more. Read More

Calling All Writers, Organizers, Students, and Activists: Personal Democracy Forum 2014 Wants You!

BY Sonia Roubini | Tuesday, May 13 2014

We are now accepting volunteer applications for our 11th annual conference, an internationally recognized tech/politics event that convenes the best and brightest in their fields. Every element of the conference, from ... Read More

#PDF14 Preview: An Interview with Shauna Dillavou of CommunityRED

BY Sonia Roubini | Tuesday, May 13 2014

This #PDF14 speaker preview features Shauna Dillavou. Shauna is the executive director and cofounder of CommunityRED, an organization whose mission is to improve the digital security of journalists and activists in ... Read More

WeGov

EU Court Rules Google Must Remove Search Listings Under "Right to Be Forgotten"

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, May 13 2014

A European court ruled today that citizens have the "right to be forgotten" or that they can request that certain private information be removed from online searches. The ruling comes amidst an EU proposal to reform data protection laws that began in 2012. Read More

News Briefs

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Beyond @Congressedits, Capitol Hill Looks for Entry to Wikipedia

As he recently told techPresident, the creator of Congressedits did not aim to make Members of Congress look bad, but said he hoped that they would recognize the importance of Wikipedia as a public space and engage more with its community. "If staffers and politicians identified as Wikipedians, that would be super. You could imagine politicians' home pages with a list of their recent edits, that they would be proud of the things that they are doing." On Capitol Hill, there is in fact interest in making that vision a reality, starting off with an initial conversation that could create a framework for more Wikipedians in Congress. GO

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In the Philippines, Citizens Go Undercover With Bantay to Monitor Public Offices

The Philippines, a country of almost 100 million, is considered among the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia, despite a boost in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in the past few years (from 134th in 2010 to 94th in 2013 out of 175.) Corruption involves all levels of government, but benefits also from a mindset of tolerance, says Happy Feraren, the co-founder of Bantay.ph, an anti-corruption educational initiative that teaches citizens how to monitor the quality of government services, sometimes by going undercover. GO

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