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WeGov

Sierra Leone Teen Becomes MIT Media Lab's Youngest "Visiting Practitioner"

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, December 3 2012

A video about a boy from Sierra Leone who creates innovative technology solutions with household goods and materials he sources from dumpsters has gone viral, with over 3.5 million views in two weeks. Kelvin Doe, 16, figured out how to make his own batteries out of acid, soda, and metal when he was 13 years old. He also made a generator out of a cast-off voltage stabilizer and built the equipment to start a community FM radio station, which he runs with a team of friends who act as reporters and station managers (Doe goes by the name DJ Focus). He created these things out of necessity — because batteries were too expensive and his family home did not have access to regular electricity. Read More

WeGov

In Egypt, Digital Maps Start a Conversation About Harassment that Continues In the Street

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, November 30 2012

Screenshot from Harassmap.org

Several months before the Egyptian revolution, a group of Cairo-based volunteers launched Harassmap, an Ushahidi-based interactive map that provides a visualization of reported sexual harassment incidents. Two years later, the organization has grown and secured its funding. But what role has mapping played in their community outreach work? Read More

Syria's Internet Completely Cut Off for the First Time Since its Civil War Began

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, November 29 2012

After a Damascus car bomb (credit: FreedomHouse/Flickr)

Since early this morning, the Internet has been effectively cut off in Syria. Internet intelligence company Renesys reported that all 84 of Syria’s ISP address blocks have become unreachable. The most recent update at noon shows 92 percent of Syria’s networks still down. Read More

WeGov

Pakistan Considering Bill that Would Ban Independent Mapping Projects

BY Nighat Dad | Wednesday, November 28 2012

The government of Pakistan is about to propose a law that would make it illegal for independent bodies to engage in mapping. The Land Surveying and Mapping Bill 2012, proposed by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), transfers all mapping authority in Pakistan to Survey of Pakistan (SoP), which reports to the MoD and takes its orders from General Head Quarters (GHQ). Read More

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India's Successful AIDS Prevention Program Threatened by Proliferation of Mobile Phones

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, November 27 2012

Inexpensive mobile phones have brought independence to India's sex workers. Rather than work in brothels, where the madam takes a cut of their fee, they can now deal directly with their customers. But this financial freedom comes with a prices — a steep rise in HIV and AIDS rates. Read More

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Following Government Orders, Tajikistan's Telecoms Have Blocked Facebook

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, November 27 2012

Facebook is now totally blocked in Tajikistan. Starting from last week, the Ministry of Communications ordered the country's six mobile service providers and six Internet service providers to block access to the popular social media platform. Read More

WeGov

Reporting from Uzbekistan With a Lens Hidden in Plain Sight

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, November 26 2012

A BBC journalist who recorded interviews with her iPhone and Skype in order to circumvent official restrictions on the media discovered that these tools were so effective in producing broadcast quality content that she no longer needed the bulky conventional equipment, reports Journalism.co.uk. Read More

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Media Analysts Wonder if Israel and Hamas are Allowed to Issue Death Threats on Twitter

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, November 21 2012

Did official Israeli and Hamas spokespeople violate Twitter's terms of use by using the social media platform to issue threats of violence? Read More

WeGov

In India, Your Facebook Status Could Get You Arrested

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, November 21 2012

Often described as the world's largest democracy, India's legislation on free speech would probably surprise the average American. Vague wording of laws that define defamation issues and hate speech, for example, have affected freedom of expression on the Internet — perhaps most notably, on social media platforms. As the New York Times India edition reports, there have been several cases of otherwise law-abiding citizens being arrested and even jailed for their tweets and status updates. Most recently, two women were arrested for Facebook updates. Read More

WeGov

Mapping the Gaza-Israel War

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, November 20 2012

As the latest Middle East war rages on, informative interactive maps aggregate social media data from Gaza and Israel. Read More