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Even For Censorship Savvy China, ICTs Can Cut Through Corruption, Study Finds

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, May 23 2014

Just how much can China's Great Firewall take? (credit: 阮_先生/Weibo)

In a few years from now, or perhaps it has already happened, mention “human flesh search engine” to a Chinese netizen and they may get glossy-eyed with nostalgia -- the good old days when a digital probe into the life of a politician or wealthy businessman could potentially uncover a trail of corruption: illegally obtained houses, hidden wealth, shady transactions. Now that these searches have largely fallen out of use -- and one can safely assume, due to the intimidation and jailing of those who have spread online “rumors” -- is the fight against corruption lost? A new study conducted by two Taiwanese scholars concludes, perhaps not. Read More

First POST: Undermining

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, May 19 2014

Polling suggests squishy support for net neutrality in the US; Cisco isn't happy about the NSA hacking its hardware; "Nerds for Nature" is hacking the physical landscape; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Where's the Outrage?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 7 2014

Is a populist revolt against the loss of net neutrality on the horizon?; how the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag took off; a close look the SF Gives tech anti-poverty initiative; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

MOOCs Gain Popularity in China in Spite of Barriers to Access and Anxiety About Western Influence

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, May 6 2014

Screenshot of Coursera Zone

Coursera's founder Andrew Ng has announced that China is the education platform's fastest growing market after the United States. More Chinese users download the Android app than in any other country, and China ranks second in number of iOS downloads.

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WeGov

Weekly Readings: War on Rumors

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, May 5 2014

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

WeGov

With New Android App, Chinese Netizens Can See What Their Gov't Wants to Suppress

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, April 30 2014

Weibo via @RichardBuangan

Last year, on the 24th anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen Square Massacre, Chinese netizens uploaded doctored images of the iconic photograph of the “Tank Man,” with big yellow ducks or Angry Birds characters taking the place of the military vehicles. Searches for “big yellow duck” on the microblogging platform Sina Weibo were summarily censored, and individual images hand-deleted. It seems almost inevitable that something similar will flood the Chinese Internet this year, yet when and if it does, Chinese citizens will be able to use the Android app FreeWeibo to peruse deleted posts.

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WeGov

Weekly Readings: Off-Grid

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, April 28 2014

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

WeGov

China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, April 24 2014

The new BBC series Sherlock is a popular subject for dan mei (Wikipedia)

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.

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WeGov

In China, An Open Data Movement is Starting to Take Off

BY Rebecca Chao | Thursday, April 24 2014

Chinese students demanding better Internet. How long till citizens ask for better access to data? (chichiochoi/flickr)

About eight months ago when techPresident first wrote about the state of open data in China, there were only three non-user friendly government open data sites and a smattering of open data enthusiasts who often had to find their own data sources and even create hardware to generate their own data. They were not a formally connected group but rather, individuals who created open data apps out of personal interest. Now, the recently launched Open Data Community is trying to create a multi-disciplinary network of businesses, research institutes, and NGOs interested in open data. Read More

WeGov

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

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, April 21 2014

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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