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

First POST: Weird Nerds

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, March 19 2014

The NSA can collect a whole country's phone conversations (not just metadata); Edward Snowden gets his 15 minutes of TED fame; the evolving etiquette of quoting public Tweets; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Done In By Data

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, January 10 2014

Are meaningful reforms of the NSA coming?; How Silicon Valley became "the man"; why municipal broadband should be embraced in New York City; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Accomplishments

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, January 2 2014

Must-reads from the end of the year; The New York Times calls for clemency for Edward Snowden; the Commotion 1.0 mesh networking toolkit launches; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Not Psyched

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, September 12 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Mark Zuckerberg and Marissa Mayer offer their responses to the NSA revelations; the "tech intellectuals" get their academic review; educational technology moves in on public schools; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Egypt

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, August 15 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Reacting to the massacres in Egypt; Bradley Manning apologizes; Pew Internet says the kids are all right; and much, much more. Read More

Ender's Game: The Problem With "The End of History" In Technology Debates

BY Nick Judd | Monday, April 29 2013

Why do some writers insist on treating the end of the 20th century like an intellectual black hole, capturing all ideas that enter and preventing new ones from escape? A more interconnected global society, influenced by Internet communications technology, is now part of the world — but a virulent strain of bad rhetoric seems set on preventing anyone from leveling a genuine critique about what that might mean. Read More

Book Review: Evgeny Morozov Doth Protest Too Much

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 9 2013

By Chatham House, via Wikimedia Commons

According to Evgeny Morozov, the world has gone crazy and he's one of the few sane people left. His strange new book, "To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism," goes so far to build up straw men for his attacks that he suggests contemporary technologists would have ensured Rosa Parks could never have committed her legendary act of civil disobedience. And it gets worse ... Read More

Liberation Technology: Three Studies Examine the Impact of Social Media on Popular Uprisings

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, July 17 2012

It's hard to deny that social media affected Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring uprisings, the student protest movement in Chile, Yo Soy 132 in Mexico and the social justice movement in Israel, but there's plenty of controversy over how and why social media mattered. Were Facebook, Twitter and YouTube mobilizing tools that brought people to the streets? Or were social media platforms just useful platforms for broadcasting information about revolutions that were actually mobilized through traditional grassroots means? On these questions, two papers and one book recently caught our attention. Read More

Worth Watching: Pariser, Vaidhyanathan, Morozov and Weisberg On Whether the Internet is Closing Our Minds

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, April 18 2012

They say that anyone who knows what's good for him will avoid arguing on the Internet.

But what of arguing about the Internet?

That's what four net-centric thinkers — MoveOn.org board president Eli Pariser, "Googlization of Everything" author Siva Vaidhyanathan, Slate's Jacob Weisberg and "Net Delusion" author Evgeny Morozov — did Tuesday at an Oxford-style debate organized by Intelligence Squared U.S. and held here in New York. At issue: "When it Comes to Politics, The Internet is Closing Our Minds.”

Pariser — author of "The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You" — and Vaidhyanathan argued in favor and won by moving 25 percent of attendees over to their position.

Read More

Morozov and Jarvis Clash Over 'Public Parts'

BY Nick Judd | Monday, October 17 2011

Evgeny Morozov guns for Jeff Jarvis in a review of his new book, Public Parts. From The New Republic, here's Morozov: Why are we so obsessed with privacy? Jarvis blames rapacious privacy advocates—“there is money to ... Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

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

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.

GO

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.

GO

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

More