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WeGov

With #Shahbag, Bangladesh Protest Movement Blows Up on Twitter

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, February 20 2013

A SNA graph of February 8 Twitter activity under #Shahbag (credit: Analyzing Social Network)

Protests in Bangladesh are ongoing this week in the aftermath of the February 5 ruling that sentenced politician Abdul Quader Mollah to life in prison.  Bangladeshis who believe Mollah should have received a death sentence for his role in carrying out atrocities during the 1971 civil war have taken to the streets in outcry.  The center of activity has been the Shahbag neighborhood in the capital city of Dhaka, an area that has now given its name to the online movement and discussion around the protests. 

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WeGov

How Mobile Can Hold Government Accountable for Clean Water Failures

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, February 15 2013

In India, wastewater and drinking water supplies mingle in the street (Wikimedia Commons).

National Geographic’s online series Digital Diversity is back this week with a report from the Aquaya Institute, a nonprofit research and consulting group working on public health issues in the global water crisis.   The UN may have announced last spring that 89% of the global population now has access to improved water sources, yet for thousands these sources remain unreliable, and, in many cases, still unsanitary or unsafe.  While building the infrastructure to enhance the water supply can be a long process, spreading knowledge about whether a source is drinkable is one simple solution. 

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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

The Wacky World of Authoritarian Regimes on Social Media

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, February 4 2013

Gulnara Karimova's Twitter page.

For many authoritarian states, social media can present the ultimate threat: anti-regime discourse and dissent from the party line. This hasn’t stopped many despots from taking to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Read More

WeGov

Eric Schmidt and His Daughter Both Share Thoughts on North Korea Trip

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 23 2013

It might not get weirder than this: Sophie Schmidt posts about the North Korea trip.

Google’s Eric Schmidt and his daughter have both shared thoughts online about their visit to North Korea earlier this month, in a delegation led by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Read More

WeGov

Abayima Makes SIM Cards Into E-Readers to Combat Information Blackouts

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 22 2013

Over the past decade, mobile tech has grown into a dominant force in journalism, activism, and revolution across the globe. Yet one organization is going lo-tech to get information in the hands of the people – by transforming basic cellular phones into e-readers loaded with news that might be otherwise censored by the government. Read More

WeGov

Breaking Silence, Eric Schmidt Says North Korea Needs Internet Freedom

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 11 2013

Eric Schmidt has broken his radio silence on the subject of his North Korea trip. After returning to Beijing yesterday, Schmidt spoke frankly to members of the press, saying that it’s time for the DPRK to implement Internet freedoms. Read More

WeGov

China's WeChat Now Automatically Censoring Social Media Updates

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 10 2013

Screengrab from WeChat's website

The Chinese mobile social media app WeChat is now automatically censoring certain keywords, in a further development to the Southern Weekly scandal that has rocked China’s netizens over the past week. Read More

WeGov

Schmidt and Richardson Have Arrived in North Korea and Are Touring Computer Facilities

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 9 2013

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt Tours a Computer Lab at Kim Il Sung University (screengrab from AP video)

Google’s Eric Schmidt arrived in North Korea earlier this week on a humanitarian visit led by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. On Tuesday, the group — which also includes Google Ideas director Jared Cohen, formerly of the State Department — was taken on a whirlwind tour of computer facilities in the capital of Pyongyang. Read More

WeGov

Chinese Microblogging Platform's Censor Claims the Company is On Netizens' Side

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 8 2013

A long post on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo from a user claiming to be a manager at the company raises questions over Sina’s stance on government regulations that require it to censor user-generated content. Read More