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To Fund a Political Rally, French Politician Turns to the Crowd

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, March 20 2013

Patrick Mennucci, on the Ulule page for Pour Marseille 2014.

Platforms like Kickstarter have gotten citizen activist movements off the ground around the world. Yet in Marseille, France, this week, a local official started a funding campaign for a political engagement rally in the city, in what may be the one of the first instances of a political office using a commercial crowdfunding site. Read More

WeGov

Secret Raytheon Software is a Search Engine For Spying on Social Media Activity

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, February 14 2013

Screengrab from a video obtained by the Guardian, of a Raytheon employee demonstrating the uses of RIOT.

Earlier this week The Guardian broke the news that US-based defense contractor and security firm Raytheon has developed software over the past two years that can comprehensively track activity across social media platforms.  Across the web, people have weighed in on how this “Google for spies” will affect the future of surveillance – and the US government’s infiltration of the lives of foreign citizens. 

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WeGov

France Orders Twitter to Identify Users Posting Hate Speech

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 25 2013

Twitter has been ordered to provide identifying information for French users participating in racist and anti-Semitic discourse on the social network. The ruling was handed down Thursday by a Paris court in response to a lawsuit brought on by several rights groups. The American company,which maintains a policy of not screening content posted by its users, has yet to articulate its response. Read More

WeGov

France's Techies Flap their Wings at Tax Increases With Online "Pigeons" Protest

BY Karim Lebhour | Friday, October 26 2012

The avatar of "Les Pigeons," with Twitter hashtag #GEONPi

They call themselves “Les Pigeons” — in French, “pigeon” is slang for “suckers,” easily fooled and easily abused. The name was adopted by a group of young Internet entrepreneurs who at the beginning of October launched an online campaign in protest of the government's planned tax hike, which they said would hurt small companies like startups. Read More

Twitter Indicates it Will Act Upon Requests to Censor Hate Speech

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, October 19 2012

Over the past two days, Twitter has applied its censorship policy in two separate cases — one in France and one in Germany. Both were related to the promulgation of hate speech. Read More

[OP-ED]: In France, Still Waiting for the Internet Election

BY Federica Cocco | Friday, May 11 2012

Nicolas Sarkozy is not the only politician to have lauded Obama’s 2008 campaign. Many European campaigns were running slogans that echoed the “Yes, we can!” refrain.

The gimmicky rhetoric failed to persuade their electorate and, when push came to shove, pretty much the whole old continent has effectively failed to heed Obama’s campaign strategy. Mainstream parties didn’t carry out grassroots mobilization and fundraising in earnest. A top-down approach persisted.

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France Prepares for a Twitterless Election

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, April 17 2012

French social media users may not post exit poll results of Sunday's election until after all polls close, and disobeying that rule could result in the cancellation of some results, according to French media reports cited by the Guardian and others.

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A French Presidential Candidate, Set to Jay-Z and Kanye

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 12 2012

Now making the rounds is this video, released on Tuesday, in which footage of French presidential candidate François Hollande's visit to suburbs of Paris and Lyon is set to a track from Jay-Z and Kanye West's recent collaborative effort, "Watch the Throne." Read More

Can an Obama-like Campaign Work in France?

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, March 21 2012

François Hollande during a public speech. Photo: Parti Socialiste /Flickr

According to a recent survey, 39% of French people say the Internet will play an important role in the electoral campaign. The main opponent to President Sarkozy, the Socialist candidate François Hollande, seems to consider the web as an important battlefield. His digital strategy seems inspired by the 2008 Obama campaign. Will it be enough to generate the same kind of mass participation in online politics in France? Read More

In France, Tension as Facebook and Twitter Enter Presidential Politics

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, February 21 2012

One of the suspended Sarkozy parody accounts after the reinstatement

The French presidential campaign started last Wednesday night when President Nicolas Sarkozy officially announced his candidacy on the national TV network TF1. But it took less than a week for the campaign to become a heated battle online. 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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wednesday >

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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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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