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How A Trio Of Feminists Persuaded Facebook To Unfriend Rape "Humor" Groups

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 30 2013

Beyond a joke: Facebook recently admitted that its flagging system is flawed

A global campaign to alert advertisers moved Facebook to take action against groups flagged as promoters of "gender-based hate" after several years of repeated attempts to persuade the company to change the way it evaluates requests for take-downs. Read More

On Rob Ford's Facebook Page, Wisecracks Don't Last Long

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, May 28 2013

Even as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford faces increased pressure over his alleged crack use, his staff is trying to maintain order on his Facebook page, according to Vice. Closer to techPresident headquarters, a candidate for mayor of New York City is taking a more hands-off approach as Facebook visitors crack wise in comments on his posted photos. Read More

WeGov

Facebook Becomes Full Member of Global Network Initiative

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 22 2013

Facebook announced today that it has opted to become a full member of the Global Network Initiative, a group founded by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to address the challenges technology companies face when dealing with governments about issues like freedom of expression and data privacy. Read More

More Progressives Target Zuckerberg on Facebook over FWD.us

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 8 2013

Progressives United, the political action committee founded by former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, is coordinating the latest push by progressive groups against the advertising tactics of FWD.us, the pro-immigration advocacy group backed by Mark Zuckerberg and other technology companies. Read More

WeGov

Pakistanis Take Refuge in Social Media Campaigning Before Election

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 8 2013

Screengrab from the Official MQM Twitter page

In the days leading up to Pakistan’s general election on May 11, politicians from the three major secular parties have been forced, by violent attacks on political rallies that have caused more than a hundred deaths, to stop holding political events in public areas. Instead, they have come to rely on Facebook and Twitter as a campaign platform. Read More

WeGov

To Protest Judge's Sentence, Iranians Launch Viral Feminist Campaign on Facebook

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, April 26 2013

A collage of photos from the Kurdish Men For Equality Facebook page

On April 15, police paraded a convicted criminal dressed in traditional Kurdish women’s clothing through the streets of Marivan, Iran, in accordance with a judge’s sentence. A local feminist organization, the Marivan Women’s Community, found the sentence humiliating to Kurdish women, and organized a protest. The protest moved online to a Facebook page with the tagline: “Being a woman is not humiliating and should not be considered punishment.” Overnight, the page garnered 3,800 fans. One week later, it now has more than 10,000 fans. The protest has prompted 17 members of Iran’s parliament to sign a letter to the Justice Ministry calling the punishment “humiliating to Muslim women.”

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WeGov

Venezuelan Man Detained For Posting "Destabilizing" Photo On Facebook

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, April 19 2013

Screengrab of Venezuelan Youtube video

Following the presidential election in Venezuela, a government agency detained a man on April 16 for allegedly spreading photographs of burning ballots. The Interior and Justice Ministry accused twenty-two year old Daniel Andres Rondón Sayago of sharing the pictures with “destabilizing intentions.” The Minister for Information announced the detainment via Tweet.

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Controversial Cybersecurity Legislation CISPA Sails Through The House

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, April 18 2013

A controversial bill aimed at encouraging the private sector to be more forthcoming with the sharing of potential threat information with U.S. military entities sailed through the House Thursday by a vote of 288 to 127, ... 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

WeGov

Is This the End of Iceland's Crowdsourced Constitution?

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, April 3 2013

Icelandic citizens who drafted the constitution last year. (Skrifstofa Stjórnlagaráðs / Flickr)

When Iceland faced a fiscal catastrophe in 2008, residents took to the streets with pots and pans to demand change from the government.  Leaders in the country took the spirit of the crowd to heart. In 2011, Iceland announced that it would be crowdsourcing its next constitution, an effort that ultimately resulted in a full draft bill.  Yet amid Iceland’s election season and the turmoil to determine the country’s future, the crowdsourced constitution has now been effectively scrapped. 

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News Briefs

RSS Feed 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.

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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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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

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wednesday >

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media and India's General Election

The biggest democratic election in the world to date is taking place in India from April 7 to May 14, and, for the first time in India, the results might hinge on who runs a better social media campaign. The Mumbai research firm Iris Knowledge Foundation has said that Facebook will “wield a tremendous influence” but Indian politicians are not limiting their attentions to India's most popular social media platform. In addition to virtual campaigning are initiatives to inform, educate and encourage Indians to participate in their democracy.

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