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The Day We - But Not Wikipedia - Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 11 2014

Screen shot of the defunct Wikipedia planning page for The Day We Fight Back

Drop by the Wikipedia main page today and you will find a featured article on the constellation Perseus. Conspicuously absent is The Day We Fight Back banner so many other websites like reddit, Boing Boing, and Upworthy are flying. Nor did they set Edward Snowden as the featured article, as someone suggested in a thread on what, if any, action should be taken today. Although it was discussed in multiple Wikipedia forums, no consensus was ever reached, and so Wikipedia is sitting this one out.

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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

The Three Different Meanings of "Internet Activism"

BY Nick Judd | Friday, January 4 2013

In an article for its upcoming print edition, Economist discovers the politics of the Internet. In an extended primer appearing in its Jan. 5 print edition, the venerable magazine explores the world of Internet freedom activists — people who love the Internet as it is and view the fight to preserve freedom of information as political trench warfare across multiple theaters: before state regulators, in corporate boardrooms, in Congress, in the court of public opinion, and in the design of the hardware and programming of the software that keeps the Internet running.

The piece is worth a read, but the Economist has trouble sussing out two or three different forces at play when it comes to "Internet activism."

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About SOPA, Law Prof Asks: Is Corporate Political Speech Suddenly Okay With You?

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, January 18 2012

UCLA Law School professor Eugene Volokh challenges the idea that people who like today's "blackout" protests by Internet companies can also dislike the now-lowered limits on corporate speech thanks to the Citizens United decision. Read More

Dave Winer asks, 'Did Politics Just Change?'

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 12 2011

Dave Winer suggests that, if the Occupy protests are a sign of things to come, then the future of politics will be completely digital: If politics has changed, it's now in the domain of tech, completely. You won't use ... Read More

A Look at #OccupyWallStreet's Internet-Powered Protest Engine

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, October 4 2011

Occupy Wall Street protesters march on the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 1. Photo: blulaces / Flickr Vanessa Zettler moved to New York from Brazil about a year ago, and says she was among the first to find out that Occupy Wall ... Read More

#OccupyWallStreet Protesters Turn Online to Organize

BY Nick Judd | Monday, September 19 2011

Protesters on Wall Street on Sept. 17. Photo: Paul Weiskel / Flickr Hundreds of people converged on Wall Street this weekend to protest corporate influence over politics, an event that began Saturday after a call to ... Read More

New Crowdfunding Site Promises to Be a Kickstarter for K Street

BY Nick Judd | Monday, September 12 2011

For years, many Internet activists have gone online to counter the influence of real-world lobbyists. Soon, though, they may go online to hire their own lobbying muscle instead. A coming website, YouLobby, is expected to ... Read More

In Vancouver, Riot Cleanup -- and Consequences -- on Twitter and Facebook

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 16 2011

Flickr user Matthew Grapengieser shares this image of the violence in Vancouver, B.C. after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup Final on June 15. Sometimes, Internet activists want to protect people who take to the streets ... Read More

News Briefs

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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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EU Court Rejects Data Retention Law, But Data Retention Won't End Overnight

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg struck down a data retention law Tuesday that required telecoms to keep customers' communications data for up to two years, declaring it violated privacy rights. However, experts warn that the ruling will have no automatic effect on relevant laws in member states, which could lead to “messy consequences.”

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