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How the Apple-Google Fight and the New iOS6 Might Be Good for Open Source

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, July 11 2012

Open Plans and Portland, Oregon's Tri-Met system launched a multi-modal online trip planner last year

Apple upset public transit advocates and environmentalists this year when it was revealed in mid-June that the next iteration of its operating system for the iPhone and iPad will omit public transportation into its bundled Maps software — a move many seem to think stems from a desire to cut Google out of the native iOS experience. Kevin Webb, a manager in charge of transit projects at the non-profit group OpenPlans, says this is an opportunity for open source and open transit data advocates, not a setback. Read More

Mozilla Kicks Off Summer Code Party This Weekend in 67 Countries

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, June 21 2012

Forget sending your kid to summer school: Have them stay at home and learn alongside their friends how to make cool things by learning to code. Read More

Google Reports "Alarming" Government Requests for Censorship in 2011

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, June 18 2012

Google says it continues to see cases of governments asking Google to remove political speech, which are alarming "not only because free expression is at risk, but because some of these requests come from countries you might not suspect—Western democracies not typically associated with censorship." This interpretation comes alongside newly released data from July to December 2011 detailing governmental requests to remove content from its search results or websites. Read More

#PDF12: Announcing This Year's PDF Google Fellows

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, June 4 2012

We're pleased to announce the following people have been named Google Fellows for Personal Democracy Forum 2012. Fifteen highly creative and talented people were selected out of a competitive pool of more than one ... Read More

Should U.N. Politics Affect the Internet?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 24 2012

A key U.S. House subcommittee plans on examining the implications of the U.S. ceding control of key aspects of the global Internet infrastructure next Thursday. The House Energy and Commerce's subcommittee on Communications and Technology announced Wednesday that it's going to hold a hearing on proposals at the United Nations' International Telecommunication Union to afford more control over Internet governance to countries other than the United States. Read More

Republican National Convention Organizers Sever Ties With Becki Donatelli's Campaign Solutions

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, May 22 2012

After eight years producing online content for the Republican National Convention, GOP web consultant Becki Donatelli's Campaign Solutions is off of the project. "Campaign Solutions was retained to help develop our convention website and digital strategy, but they are no longer involved in convention planning," James Davis, the convention's communications director, told techPresident Tuesday. It's unclear what precipitated the of the relationship between the convention organizers and Campaign Solutions, which has been producing the online component of the event since 2004. But Donatelli's name surfaced in a controversial anti-Obama ad pitch sent to a Super PAC backed by TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, which appeared in its entirety in the Times last week. Ricketts has since disavowed the proposal and Donatelli has denied any involvement. Read More

Romney Campaign Targets Obama's Barnard Commencement Speech With Google Ads

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, May 14 2012


New York City area web users looking for details about Barnard College's Commencement Ceremony, where President Barack Obama gave the Commencement Address earlier this afternoon, are also likely to have encountered a targeted ad calling out "Obama's Wasteful Spending" on Mitt Romney's website, as Emily Schultheis from Politico first reported. While she suggested it was targeted at only the zip code where the college is located on Manhattan's Upper West Side, it also showed up on a search for a zip code located in Queens, while accessing the Internet from Lower Manhattan. But it did not show up for an Internet user located outside the New York area. Read More

Google To Provide Live Streaming and Social Networking Services To Republican National Convention

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, April 13 2012

Republicans will be using YouTube and Google+ to live stream events online from the Republican National Convention in Florida this summer, the convention's organizers announced on Friday. Read More

Google Tries to "Start Something" Post-SOPA/PIPA

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 9 2012

This morning somewhere between two and four million people got an email in their inbox from Vint Cerf, Google's official "Internet evangelist," asking them to complete the following sentence: "The Internet is the power to …" and to share their answers with the tag #ourweb. The effort is a direct outgrowth of the seven million-plus petition drive Google ran last January 18th against the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), with the people being emailed the ones who opted in to getting more information on the issue. With this move, the other shoe that hadn't dropped since January's legislative battle is now in motion. Read More

House Subcommittee Approves Global Online Freedom Act

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, March 27 2012

Image: WIRED/Wikimedia Commons

A House subcommittee on human rights voted on Tuesday to approve a bill that seeks to promote the notion of global "Internet freedom" by blocking the export of U.S. technologies that overseas regimes would use primarily ... Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

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

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. 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.


tuesday > Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like 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 is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and And strangely enough, seems to want its early users to ask 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.


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.


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.


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.