Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >
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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

WeGov

7 Things You Didn't Know About Vietnam's Net

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 4 2014

Screenshot of Vietmeme's Twitter profile

Vietnam has an active Internet culture of civic engagement, but it can be hard to see because it is relatively ephemeral and dispersed over multiple networks. A one stop shop for a snapshot of Vietnam's online community is Vietmeme, a kind of front page for the Vietnamese Internet.

Read More

WeGov

Facebook at 10: Over the Hill in the US, Growing Pains Abroad

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 4 2014

Happy birthday, Facebook! (Puschinka/Wikipedia)

Today is the 10th anniversary of The Facebook. At the start of the new year, it boasted 1.23 billion users worldwide. While we in the United States fret over Facebook's alleged identity crisis or whether or not it is “over the hill” or happily middled aged, in other parts of the world Facebook is an essential platform for mobilization and activism and even, in many places, a gateway to the world wide web (if not the Internet in its entirety).

In honor of Facebook's birthday, techPresident presents a round up of Facebook news from around the world.

Read More

WeGov

"Prism On Steroids" At The Russian Olympics

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, January 28 2014

Beefing up surveillance (Jedimentat44/Flickr)

New Internet legislation in Russia is scheduled to go into effect on February 1, just one week before the XXII Winter Olympics Games begin in Sochi. Less than a year after Russia outlawed “homosexual propaganda” online (or off), it has now set its sights on the use of social media platforms to organize protests. Starting in February, Internet providers can be ordered to block sites if someone tries to organize “participation in mass public events.”

Read More

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

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

More