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WeGov

Surveillance in the Overlooked Corners of Africa

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, March 4 2014

Screenshot of Appelbaum and Marques

In the video below, filmed during the Oslo Freedom Forum in May 2013, Jacob Appelbaum breaks it to Rafael Marques, an Angolan investigative journalist and anti-corruption activist, that his laptop is being surveilled through a crude backdoor in spite of the fact that he is using Tor. He opens up a file where they can see all the images that have been stored and are waiting to be collected by the hackers. Appelbaum tells an understandably concerned Marques: “Every computer that's targeted is compromisable,”

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WeGov

How To Follow… The Crisis in Ukraine (Updated)

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, March 3 2014

Kiev, February 18, 2014 (Аимаина хикари/Wikipedia)

The EuroMaidan Revolution has passed the 100 day mark and Russian forces have taken control of parts of Crimea. The New York Times described the escalating conflict between Russia and the West as “reminiscent of low points in the Cold War.” The Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has said that “we are on the brink of disaster.”

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MoveOn To Launch Six Figure Campaign To Sign Young Americans Up For Healthcare

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, February 28 2014

Sample banner ads for MoveOn's campaign (courtesy of MoveOn.org)

On Monday, MoveOn will launch a national mobile campaign to get young Americans to sign up for health insurance by the March 31 deadline. The campaign makes use of “tap-to-call” technology, in which a cell phone user only has to tap an ad to be connected with an enrollment specialist. MoveOn has dedicated $100,000 dollars to the campaign already, but after two months of positive test results the organization hopes to raise more funds to expand the program.

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WeGov

Newest Twist in Pakistan YouTube Ban Case Comes From…California

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, February 27 2014

Blocked! (Wikipedia)

On February 26, a U.S. federal appeals court ordered Google Inc to remove the film “Innocence of Muslims” from YouTube for copyright violations. The film sparked protests throughout the Middle East after it was released in September 2012, and demonstrations in parts of Pakistan turned violent. Pakistan's Prime Minister ordered YouTube to be blocked, ostensibly to prevent any further violence as a result of “Innocence of Muslims.” The Pakistani Internet rights organization Bytes For All has challenged the YouTube ban in court, and now that Google has been ordered to remove the film from YouTube, point out that there is now no reason to keep the site blocked.

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WeGov

You Will Not Believe How A Gas Station Almost Stole 700 Indian Rupees Worth of Gas From This Guy

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, February 26 2014

Screenshot of Shankar explaining the scam

Even without the Upworthy-esque headline, one man's Facebook video explaining how routine petty larceny occurs at gas stations in India went viral and spawned spontaneous organization around the topic. It is an example of the culture of civic engagement in India that breeds successful projects like I Paid A Bribe.

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WeGov

Telegram: Viable WhatsApp Alternative from Russia, But Still Questionably Secure

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, February 26 2014

Telegram (U.S. National Archives/Wikipedia)

After Facebook bought the messaging application WhatsApp on February 19 for a whopping $19 billion dollars, the messaging app Telegram, a product of the “Russian Zuckerberg” Pavel Durov, surged in popularity.

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The UAE Wants to Speed Up Government Service Delivery With Drones

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 25 2014

Screenshot of Netflix's (fake) "Drone2Home" program

Earlier this month Netflix released a short mock commercial poking fun at Amazon's plans to create a drone delivery service called Prime Air.

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WeGov

The Apocalypsticle: Better-Than-Nothing Tabloid Journalism or the Plague of New Media?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 25 2014

Kiev, February 18, 2014 (Аимаина хикари/Wikipedia)

The age old truism “A picture is worth a thousand words” is once again up for debate. Sarah Kendzior, writing for Politico, threw down the gauntlet in the article “The Day We Pretended to Care About Ukraine,” in which she criticizes the use of “apocalypsticles” to cover events in Ukraine as mere clickbait. Emily Bell responded in The Guardian, writing that listicles are valuable precisely because they are accessible, and to criticize a media form for catering to non-elites is “perverse.”

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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.

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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