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Understanding the Global Digital Gender Gap

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, February 28 2013

The worldwide digital gender gap, from the ITU's World in 2013 report.

There are 200 million more men on the Internet than women, according to new figures from the International Telecommunication Union, and the gender gap is even wider in the developing world. Worldwide Internet usage by men currently stands at 1.5 billion, with women users at 1.3 billion. In developing nations, 16 percent fewer women than men are online, as opposed to 2 percent in the developed world. The figures come from the ITU's World in 2013 report on information technology use, released on day three of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday. Read More

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EU Court to Determine if People Googling Themselves Have the Right to Censor Search Results

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, February 27 2013

Google Spain.

If an Internet user sees that their reputation is getting tarnished online, should they have the right to request that the data be removed from search results?  That’s the premise of a case from Spain that the European Court of Justice will be deliberating over the next several months, after the country’s highest court ruled that Google was responsible for the spread of the harmful information. 

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Code of Conduct for SMS Disaster Response Presented to Mobile World Congress

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, February 26 2013

The Mobile World Congress is taking place in Barcelona this week, with mobile providers from around the world presenting strategies for proliferating and monetizing new technologies.  Yet as mobile’s reach extends far beyond the realm of the basic phone call, forming a fundamental part of the information infrastructure in developing nations, the humanitarian sector is also on display.  Yesterday, the Disaster Response Program from GSMA presented a Code of Conduct for SMS use during disaster response, hoping to address the mobile industry’s growing role in humanitarian crisis management.    

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Low Price Smartphones Dominate the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, February 25 2013

The 2013 Mobile World Congress kicks off in Barcelona today, with representatives from over two hundred countries congregating to see what the next year will bring in apps, hardware, and initiatives.  With mobile firmly in place as primary communication platform of the developing world, the focus now turns to bringing next-generation technologies into the hands of these millions of subscribers, by creating cheaper smartphones. 

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Social Networks Show Political Ambivalence Ahead of Philippine Elections

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, February 25 2013

Rappler.com's SNA graph of election season Twitter use.

Filipinos will be heading to the polls for midterm elections in May, with senators and representatives from districts around the country set to be selected for the Sixteenth Congress of the Philippines.  Yet even as the two major political parties campaign for rule of the legislature, it turns out that their base supporters may not be that different – raising questions of the strength of the party system. 

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In Bangkok Governor's Race, Social Media Acts as a Populist Poll

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, February 22 2013

Gubernatorial candidate Suharit Siamwalla (from: ZocialEye)

Bangkok residents will elect a new governor on March 3. This election cycle, more Thai voters are getting their information about candidates from social media than ever before. Could observing the chatter around the elections replace traditional polling methods, as a means of predicting the outcome of the elections? Read More

Climate Change Activists Go Toe-to-Toe With Exxon Over Crowdfunded TV Ad

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, February 21 2013

Screengrab from the Exxon Hates Your Children ad.

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The sponsors of a controversial ad hoped that crowdfunding could help them place their message on national television, turning a space usually reserved for selling cars and lingerie into a marketplace of ideas. But before their 30-second climate-change spot could air during President Barack Obama's State of the Union, its target, Exxon-Mobil, successfully campaigned for Comcast to pull the ad. The controversy generated some press, but those climate-change activists were boxed out of a key market at a key time — leaving questions about crowdfunding's impact for activism. Read More

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On Social Media, Chinese Citizens Challenge Officials to Swim in Polluted Rivers

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, February 21 2013

A riverbank in Puning, China (Wikimedia Commons).

When the smog crisis in China escalated last month, even the tight-lipped state media broke down and joined the widespread complaints across social media that the government wasn't doing enough to curb industrial pollution.  A month later, netizens are mobilizing again; and this time they are directly confronting state officials about the country’s thousands of polluted waterways.  

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In Slovakia, Student Developers Open Up the Court System

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, February 21 2013

Screengrab from otvorenesudy.sk, showing a prototype of the dataset.

When two Slovak computer science students couldn’t easily access the information they were looking for about court decisions on the Department of Justice website, they built a solution that made their search easier.  The dataset they created from information about 400,000 rulings since 1997 could be a model for open government practices in eastern Europe. 

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With #Shahbag, Bangladesh Protest Movement Blows Up on Twitter

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, February 20 2013

A SNA graph of February 8 Twitter activity under #Shahbag (credit: Analyzing Social Network)

Protests in Bangladesh are ongoing this week in the aftermath of the February 5 ruling that sentenced politician Abdul Quader Mollah to life in prison.  Bangladeshis who believe Mollah should have received a death sentence for his role in carrying out atrocities during the 1971 civil war have taken to the streets in outcry.  The center of activity has been the Shahbag neighborhood in the capital city of Dhaka, an area that has now given its name to the online movement and discussion around the protests. 

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