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WeGov

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

WeGov

More Confusion Within Iranian Government on Censorship

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, May 6 2014

Iran announced over the weekend its plans to block Whatsapp but President Hassan Rouhani claims the ban will not take place. Read More

WeGov

Weekly Readings: Data Speaks Louder than Words

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, April 21 2014

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

WeGov

Turkey's Twitter Ban and Why the Country's Still Tweeting

BY Carola Frediani | Tuesday, March 25 2014

khalid Albaih/flickr

When Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided on Thursday to “wipe out” Twitter, banning the microblogging website across the country, he made it more popular than ever. In a few hours after the ban, hashtags like #TurkeyblockedTwitter and #TwitterisblockedinTurkey became trending topics. Turkish netizens managed to post more than half a million tweets in the 10 hours following the ban with an average of about 1.8 million tweets per day, according to Al Jazeera. That figure quickly grew to the point of setting a new record for the country. Read More

WeGov

Russia Blocks Major Opposition Sites; Anonymous Russia Retaliates, Shuts Down Kremlin Site

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, March 14 2014

Russia has blocked a handful of independent news sites, including those of renown chess player and opposition leader Gary Kasparov and popular dissident blogger Alexei Nalvany. The block began Thursday with an announcement by Russia's general prosecutor's office that Kasparov's website and others would be shut down because they "contain calls for illegal activity and participation in mass events conducted in violation of the established order." 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

Hadrian's Firewall: UK's New Internet Filter or Censor?

BY Wendy M. Grossman | Wednesday, January 22 2014

The UK Internet is getting its own Hadrian's Wall, an ancient fortification in Northern England (quisnovus/flickr)

"Hadrian's Firewall," the veteran journalist Guy Kewney called it in 2006, the first time I wrote about plans for UK-wide content blocking. The term is much more valid now: just before Christmas British ISPs turned on a system that requires subscribers to actively choose whether they want filtering that will block material in broad categories such as sex, alcohol, violence, and hate speech. In response, the Open Rights Group is gearing up to collect evidence of whether and how the filters work. Of particular concern to ORG is the problem of over-blocking with little redress available to site owners, as well as the dangers inherent in over-confidence in the technology. Read More

WeGov

As Govt Ups Censorship of Microblogs, Chinese Netizens Migrate to Other Platforms

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, January 17 2014

Zhihu, a newer online platform allows for more liberal discussions than the oft-censored Weibo (credit: screenshot)

If you’re in China, don’t get too attached to your microblog. Sooner or later, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will begin to censor it and you’ll either have to suck it up or move on. New data shows that most are choosing the latter, migrating from the popular microblog Weibo to the (seemingly) more private instant messaging service WeChat, as well as new debate platforms like Zhihu (“Did you know?”), which currently allows users to ask tough questions. Read More

WeGov

From Keeping Away Snoops to Surmounting the Digital Divide, Mesh Networks are on the Rise

BY Carola Frediani | Thursday, January 16 2014

In Somaliland, locals build their own Internet where there is none (credit: Daniel Hastings)

From Somalia to Greece, from New York to rural Spain, an increasing number of communities around the world are taking back the right to build their own Internet, by setting up wireless communication networks. Digital divide, scarcity of resources, fears of corporate and government surveillance are the main drivers behind a growing movement that, by leveraging Wi-Fi technology, seeks to create open, free and autonomous networks to connect people. Read More

WeGov

An Accidental Ally For the European Union: “Thank you, Mr. Snowden,” says European Commission VP Reding in Hangout Debate

BY Antonella Napolitano | Thursday, January 9 2014

Screenshot of the hangout debate with European Commission VP Viviane Reding

The year 2013 was a "Year for the Citizens" in the European Union where the institution pledged itself to "encourage dialogue between all levels of government, civil society, and business." But in many countries citizens were more hostile than open to communicating with an institution often perceived as distant and intrusive. That's probably one of the reasons why the European Commission is launching a series of online initiatives to create a space for debate with the most important members of the European institutions. Last Tuesday, the Vice President of the European Commission Viviane Reding hosted an online debate on Google hangout, joined by five journalists and activists from all over Europe.

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