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First POST: Turning On

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, June 4 2014

How Google is making encryption more mainstream; new data on online harassment; how bloggers are changing Vietnamese society; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Power Shifts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, June 3 2014

#ResetTheNet starts to gain momentum; how Facebook could tilt an election; #BringBackOurGirls gets banned in Nigeria; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Battle for the Open Net

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 8 2014

Start-ups and big tech alike are speaking out against the FCC's draft net neutrality proposal; activists start an "Occupy FCC" protest outside its DC HQ and promise to spread it; a House bill to end some dragnet surveillance advances; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Where's the Outrage?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 7 2014

Is a populist revolt against the loss of net neutrality on the horizon?; how the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag took off; a close look the SF Gives tech anti-poverty initiative; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Adjustments

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 1 2014

The RNC may be having trouble with its tech renaissance; how Facebook is "throttling" the organic reach of nonprofits and political causes; the demise of Twitter as a platform for useful conversation; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, April 16 2014

2006 story in the Toronto Star (Hossein Derakhshan)

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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WeGov

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, April 15 2014

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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First POST: Bitcoin Agonistes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 22 2014

Is Bitcoin going to change the world? One of the inventors of the web browser thinks so; Edward Snowden denies being a Russian puppet; the Ukrainian government geolocates protesters and sends them a scary SMS; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Paranoid Liberalism

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 21 2014

The New Republic accuses Snowden, Greenwald and Assange of being "paranoid libertarians"; Academics think Facebook can be used to predict election results; Data-mining for marketing purposes goes really, really awry; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Tech Journos in Iran Arrested For "Contact With Foreign Media," Among Other Charges

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, December 10 2013

Screenshot of video of a state TV broadcast

In the past three weeks 24 journalists, bloggers and technologists at online media companies have been arrested by Iran's elite force of revolutionary guards. Yesterday, some of those arrested appeared on state television, handcuffed and with their faces to the wall, obscuring their identity.

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News Briefs

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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