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WeGov

70 Percent of China's New Internet Users Log in on their Phones

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, July 23 2013

Since January, China's Internet populace grew to clock in at 591 million at the end of June, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). Phones are the preferred (or the only) way to surf the net: 70 percent of the new Internet users accessed the Internet on a phone.

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WeGov

Obeying French Courts, Twitter Hands Over Identities of Users Who Employed Anti-Semitic Hashtag

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 22 2013

Screenshot of a #UnBonJuif tweet by @mafiacorsica

On July 12, Twitter gave the French authorities the necessary data to identify the authors of anti-semitic tweets accompanied by the hashtag #UnBonJuif (#AGoodJew). The decision officially ends a lengthy legal battle with France's Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) and several anti-racism groups. The case pitted hate speech laws against free expression and privacy on the Internet. Hate speech laws triumphed, but the outcome has reignited public debate on the subject of rights and responsibilities of both Internet users and companies.

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WeGov

Online and Off, Assaults on Independent Media in Zambia

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, July 19 2013

President Michael Sata (Flickr)

In the past two weeks Zambian authorities have stepped up their assaults on the independent news site the Zambian Watchdog. Since July 9, three journalists have been arrested for allegedly contributing to the site, and at least one has been charged with sedition. Meanwhile, authorities blocked access to Zambian Watchdog on Tuesday. After the site was moved to a different address, the new location was quickly blocked as well. Reporters Without Border created a mirror site, but today reported that it was blocked within hours.

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WeGov

From the Courtroom, Russian Activist Defiantly Tweets to the End

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, July 18 2013

On Thursday a Russian court found opposition leader and Moscow mayoral candidate Aleksei Navalny guilty of embezzling money from a state-controlled timber company. He was sentenced to five years in prison, and the conviction will bar him from running in political races. The ruling singlehandedly eliminates Vladimir Putin's most formidable political foe. While the judge read the full sentence, which took more than three hours, Navalny and the rest of the courtroom live-tweeted the proceedings, even after they were ordered to turn off their phones.

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WeGov

In Finland, A Citizens' Initiative to Protect Privacy and Whistleblowers

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, July 18 2013

Parliament of Finland (Wikipedia)

The Finns would help Edward Snowden if they could. Unfortunately, the law in Finland requires an asylum seeker to be in the country when applying, according to foreign ministry spokeswoman Tytti Pylkö. Some see the requirement as an unfortunate gap in their laws, and have petitioned to have it closed. On July 8, Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi) submitted a citizens' initiative to close the loopholes regarding whistle-blowers, and to protect the privacy of Finnish citizens.

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WeGov

Can Better User Experience Reboot Kenya's App Economy?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 17 2013

Mark Kamau (Flickr/Whiteafrican)

African bloggers have bemoaned the failure rate of mobile apps in Kenya, in particular those that win competitions and then disappear. While many factors could contribute to the phenomenon, at the iHub UX Lab in Nairobi, Kenyan web solution expert Mark Kamau shows developers how to put the user at the center of the design. UX is short for User Experience, and Kamau advocates for it as a way of sharing the “cognitive load” between mobile app developers and users.

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WeGov

SMS and Facebook Alert System Reduces Pesticide Use By 30 Percent

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 17 2013

The worm of the coddling moth in an apple (Wikipedia)

Going pesticide-free just isn't an option for many farmers, but overuse is a major cause of pollution. In the Prespa Lake Basin, more than 2,000 species are threatened by the use of pesticides in adjacent towns like Resen, in southwestern Macedonia. Timing the application of pesticides is everything, but with no local media in Resen, it's hard to get the word out to nearby farmers. That's where an information system that uses SMS and Facebook to alert farmers to spray can make a difference.

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WeGov

New Platform Aims to Reduce High Failure Rate of Communications Initiatives in Emerging Economies

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, July 16 2013

Screenshot from the SPACE homepage

At a U.N. meeting in Geneva earlier this month, Amjad Umar told SciDevNet, an NGO that analyzes the impact of science on solutions for developing countries, that failure rates for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects in developing countries hovers around 85 percent. His company, NGE (Next Generation Enterprises) Solutions, has launched a beta platform that can cut failure rates and costs of ICT projects, and reduce the planning time to a few hours.

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WeGov

China Gives Independent Internet Platforms More Room To Grow

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 15 2013

WeChat promotion (Flickr/liewcf)

At the end of May techPresident reported on the Beijing Health Department's decision to shut down Taobao, an Internet marketing services platform, because it competed with the city's public service. By choosing to shut it down, Beijing demonstrated China's preference to squash disruptive innovations in favor of government establishments. However, a recent Tech in Asia post suggests that China might be easing up on those restrictions on disruptive technologies, up to a point.

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WeGov

Mostly Thumbs Up for Uchaguzi Election Monitoring in Kenya

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, July 12 2013

Uchaguzi election monitoring map of the "POSITIVE EVENTS" that were reported

To ensure a fair and free, nonviolent election in Kenya earlier this year, the non-profit tech company Ushahidi launched an election monitoring platform called Uchaguzi. This month iHub Research released a report based on a six month long assessment of the use of Uchaguzi in Kenya this year. The review was performed in order to assess scalability, replicability and long term sustainability.

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