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WeGov

Analyzing Social Network Metadata to Uncover Censorship

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, March 12 2014

Screenshot of email metadata (MIT Immersion)

If you've entered your email into the MIT Media Lab Immersion platform, you might have some idea of the information that can be gleaned from metadata. The same is true of social networks like Twitter and Facebook. One researcher has found that analysis of social network metadata can reveal wide scale censorship with 85 percent accuracy, without needing to track sensitive keywords.

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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

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

Study: Most Twitter Slurs Show “In-Group Solidarity,” Not Hate

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, February 19 2014

Twitter search for "white boy"

A new study from the UK-based think-tank Demos found that racial and ethnic slurs on Twitter are more likely to be used in a non-aggressive way to align oneself with a particular group rather than to attack or deride others.

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WeGov

Venezuelan Protestors Report Phones Stolen and Internet Sites Blocked By Authorities

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 18 2014

Protest in Caracas, February 15, 2014. (andresAzp/Flickr)

After five days of clashes between antigovernment protestors and Venezuelan authorities, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez submitted to security forces today to face charges of terrorism for allegedly inciting violent protests against President Nicolás Maduro's government. The protests have resulted in four deaths so far, for which each side blames the other.

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WeGov

Making "NSA-Proof" Social Networking Mainstream

BY Carola Frediani | Tuesday, February 18 2014

Even Internet Grandma Can Use It? (credit: KnowYourMeme)

Webmail services like Yahoo and Google and social networks like Facebook and Twitter are convenient and efficient platforms, as well as easy to use, but they collect massive amounts of user data that can facilitate intelligence spying and other types of snooping. Meanwhile, securer methods of communication are often cumbersome and overly technical for the average user who would like to send an email without having to download and set up various software. Yet after Edward Snowden’s leaks, an increasing demand for securer alternatives has led to the development of anti-surveillance products with an eye towards being user friendly. Read More

WeGov

Turkey: "We Need Internet Censorship, Because Violence Against Women"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, February 13 2014

A controversial anti-Internet freedom ad from Turkey

The draconian Internet legislation that was working its way through the Turkish government in January passed February 5. To coincide with the new legislation, the Turkish government launched a disturbing advertising campaign that seems to equate a free and open internet with violence. The accompanying picture is of a woman with a bruised eye.

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WeGov

Bing Denies Censoring Chinese Search Results Worldwide...Again

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, February 12 2014

Chinese version of the Bing search engine

Recent research by the nonprofit organization Great Fire shows that Bing is censoring English and Chinese search engine results on sensitive topics like the Falun Gong, not only in China but globally. Microsoft—which owns and operates Bing—has issued a statement to Business Insider denying these accusations and blaming the search results on a system error. Great Fire has responded in turn, in short saying that Microsoft is being both dishonest and evasive.

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The Day We - But Not Wikipedia - Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 11 2014

Screen shot of the defunct Wikipedia planning page for The Day We Fight Back

Drop by the Wikipedia main page today and you will find a featured article on the constellation Perseus. Conspicuously absent is The Day We Fight Back banner so many other websites like reddit, Boing Boing, and Upworthy are flying. Nor did they set Edward Snowden as the featured article, as someone suggested in a thread on what, if any, action should be taken today. Although it was discussed in multiple Wikipedia forums, no consensus was ever reached, and so Wikipedia is sitting this one out.

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WeGov

Indonesian Tweeter Most Recent Target of Draconian Internet Law

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, February 6 2014

Screen shot of Benny Handoko's Twitter profile

After joining Twitter in 2008, former construction worker Benny Handoko amassed nearly 54,000 followers. On February 5 a South Jakarta court sentenced him to a year of probation for tweeting libelous statements about an Indonesian politician. The case, one of the first to be taken to court under the Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) Law because of a tweet, has reignited a debate about the controversial Internet law, which has been in place since 2009.

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News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

GO

tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

GO

monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

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