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As Sandy Approaches the East Coast, Hackers Build Tools to Understand the Storm

BY Nick Judd | Monday, October 29 2012

A group of volunteer hackers concentrated in MIT's Media Lab have built this map of live-streaming webcams in and around Hurricane Sandy's expected path. The page also allows users to add live streams to the list. The live stream map reuses source code originally written to compile a list of live streams for people to follow along with Occupy Wall Street protests, says Charlie deTar, the MIT Media Lab Ph.D student who is hosting the map. Read More

U.S. Enters Age of Location-Aware Mobile Emergency Alerts

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, May 10 2011

White House photo by Pete Souza If you're a customer of one of the big four mobile carriers and live in New York City, you could soon see a public safety announcement from President Obama pop up on your mobile phone. At ... Read More

The New ReliefWeb: A Rebuilt Online Home for the Humanitarian World

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, April 12 2011

Unhappy with the coordination between governments, NGOs and others during the Rwandan genocide, in 1996 the United Nations' launched ReliefWeb as an information network for the "dissemination of reliable and timely ... Read More

What's "Tweaking the Tweet"?

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, August 12 2010

Judging from the Twitter stream, one topic under discussion at today's Red Cross summit on applying social media to disasters is something called "tweak the tweet." 'Tis an old idea, finds Google, but on the ... Read More

Disaster Victims Given a Mobile Way to Say They Need Help

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, July 19 2010

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, aka FEMA, has set up a way for people in disaster zones to register for assistance using their mobile phones. Read More

Ann Curry Tweets Disasters

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, April 20 2010

Credit: JD Lasica Read More

Lessons Learned from Using Twitter to Track Quakes. And Tremblors. And Gempas.

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, March 24 2010

Twitter 101 is that company's effort to demonstrate the best uses of their platform, including a growing stable of quickie case studies showing how businesses tweet. Twitter has published self-profiles, thus far, of ... 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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