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WeGov

Blank Spot No More: North Korea Now Visible on Google Maps, Via Volunteer Cartographers

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 29 2013

A view of downtown Pyongyang, via Google Maps.

Three weeks after Eric Schmidt’s visit, Google has made its first inroads in North Korea — at least virtually. The once-blank spot occupied by the country on Google Maps has been revised to include a wealth of geographic and locational detail. Read More

WeGov

Open Letter Urges Skype to Come Clean on Data Collection and Monitoring

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, January 28 2013

TOM-Skype, the partner site that operates Skype service in China.

Skype has been coming under fire from Internet freedom advocates for its lack of transparency on user privacy. An open letter to Skype appeared online last week – undersigned by Reporters without Borders and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, among others – calling it “effectively…one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies,” and decrying “persistently unclear and confusing statements about the confidentiality of Skype conversations.” Read More

WeGov

In India More People Have Phones than Toilets, But Society is Not More Mobile

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, January 28 2013

Twenty years ago, making a telephone call from a rural village in India likely meant a trek down to the lone public phone in the town square. Today, although there’s still a 50,000-person-deep waiting list for landline installation in private homes, mobile phones have radically transformed the country, breaking down barriers in communication, commerce, and access to services. Yet in society that retains its deep class stratifications, how significantly has mobile communication improved life for the poorest Indians? Read More

WeGov

Hack Day Brings Tech Solutions to Refugees Seeking Family Members

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 25 2013

Developers at last weekend's Refugees United Hack Day

The world population of refugees displaced both within their home country’s borders and to harboring nations numbers in the tens of millions. Four fifths of that population is accounted for in the developing world, where humanitarian crisis cuts across communities, often separating families. On January 19, London-based developers worked to create new solutions for reconnecting these families, at the second Refugees United Hack Day. Read More

WeGov

France Orders Twitter to Identify Users Posting Hate Speech

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 25 2013

Twitter has been ordered to provide identifying information for French users participating in racist and anti-Semitic discourse on the social network. The ruling was handed down Thursday by a Paris court in response to a lawsuit brought on by several rights groups. The American company,which maintains a policy of not screening content posted by its users, has yet to articulate its response. Read More

WeGov

Does Davos Tech Idealism Actually Do Anything?

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 24 2013

Flickr/World Economic Forum.

The World Economic Forum is ongoing in Davos, Switzerland this week, with 2,600 representatives from organizations around the world coming together under the banner of “resilient dynamism,” the optimistic — if abstruse — theme for the 2013 conference. Read More

WeGov

India's IT Ministry Sets a Tech Agenda for the 21st Century

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 24 2013

Indian IT Minister Kapil Sibal (Wikimedia Commons).

Indian IT Minister Kapil Sibal has made his plans clear to digitalize government, with online portals and e-governance measures meant to streamline bureaucracy and increase accessibility. Now Sibal has put forth an ambitious one-year agenda for the for the country’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology (acronym: DEITY). Read More

WeGov

Eric Schmidt and His Daughter Both Share Thoughts on North Korea Trip

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 23 2013

It might not get weirder than this: Sophie Schmidt posts about the North Korea trip.

Google’s Eric Schmidt and his daughter have both shared thoughts online about their visit to North Korea earlier this month, in a delegation led by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Read More

WeGov

Indonesians Combat Rape Culture Via Social Media

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 23 2013

Indonesians have taken to social media to fight misogyny in the largely Muslim nation. Like in India, where several shocking incidents over the past year have led to outrage, public discourse over rape and other forms of sexual assault is the issue in question. Read More

WeGov

Abayima Makes SIM Cards Into E-Readers to Combat Information Blackouts

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 22 2013

Over the past decade, mobile tech has grown into a dominant force in journalism, activism, and revolution across the globe. Yet one organization is going lo-tech to get information in the hands of the people – by transforming basic cellular phones into e-readers loaded with news that might be otherwise censored by the government. Read More