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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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.