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Interview: Why Fight For the Future Is Supporting Bitcoin

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, December 3 2013

Bitcoin banknote

Last week, Fight for the Future, the Internet freedom group that played a big role in kicking off the movement that stopped the SOPA and PIPA bills, announced that it was taking on a new cause: Bitcoin. Together with Bitcoin evangelist Jon Holmquist, they put together ">" as a hub for more than 250 online vendors who are accepting the digital currency, some of them offering special deals through the site. The vendors include OK Cupid, Reddit,, and the Internet Archive. What follows is a short interview with the group's co-founders as to why they're backing the controversial digital currency. Read More


At "Peak Open," Open Government Partnership Faces Default States of Closed

BY Alex Howard | Wednesday, November 6 2013

Incoming civil society chair of the OGP, Rakesh Rajani, far left (Photo: Alex Howard)

With the second annual Open Government Partnership summit now concluded, one longtime observer of the "open government" movement, Alex Howard, offers his overview of its achievements, shortcomings and challenges ahead. Read More


Could State Department Funded Lantern Be Bigger, Better Tor?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, October 22 2013

Lanterns in Singapore (Tallkev/Flickr)

Global Internet freedom is without a doubt declining. Authoritarian states like China and Iran routinely block social media and news websites. Half of the countries surveyed for the 2013 Freedom House report on net freedom have blocked political or social content, and nearly a third blanket block at least one blogging or social media platform. Anti-censorship tools exist, but the most popular and effective buckle under the overwhelming demand for them in repressive countries.

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SIM Card Registration Newest Assault on Privacy and Freedom of Expression in Zimbabwe

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 9 2013

Harare, Zimbabwe (Wikipedia)

As of October 1, Zimbabweans have 30 days to register their SIM cards with their service providers, or risk a fine or imprisonment of up to six months. The Zimbabwean government is also establishing a single subscriber database of all the subscribers' personal information. The government justifies these measures as necessary to safeguard national security, but human rights activists in Zimbabwe say that they pose a threat to citizens' privacy and free expression.

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First POST: Traffic

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 3 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Government shutdown of web services irking journalists; Grover Norquist is a Guy Fawkes fan; Lavabit's embattled owner explains why he shut his service down; and much, much more. Read More

[Editorial] Reading Hillary Clinton on Internet Freedom and Edward Snowden

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, July 2 2013

German Pirate Party demonstration in Berlin during President Obama's recent visit (Photo by Mike Herbst, Flickr)

In the wake of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations, techPresident's editorial director Micah Sifry wonders, what, if anything, is left of Hillary Clinton's "Internet Freedom" agenda. The answer is not much. Read More

Book Review: Is the Internet Just Another Example of Monopoly Capitalism At Work?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, June 27 2013

Robert McChesney speaking at the 2008 National Conference on Media Reform (Photo from

Robert McChesney, who is one of the cofounders of Free Press, the author of several books on the media, and a professor at the University of Illinois, says he always wanted to write a book about the Internet and the larger digital revolution. But he held off, because "grasping the Internet was like trying to shoot a moving target in a windstorm." Then he and John Bellamy Foster co-authored a 2011 article called "The Internet's Unholy Marriage to Capitalism" for Monthly Review and it hit a chord. The time, McChesney says, was finally ripe. I wish he had held his fire. Here's why: McChesney doesn't quite get the Internet. Again and again, in Digital Disconnect, he conflates the free and open net with the larger digital ecosystem, eliding or underplaying important distinctions between the actions and ambitions of big tech and communications companies and the behavior of individuals and networks online. Read More


Protests in Turkey: Lies, Damn Lies, and Social Media

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, June 3 2013

Mapping tweets around Istanbul. Source: NYU SMaPP

If Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to be believed, ongoing protests in Istanbul are thanks in no small part to lies and exaggerations spreading online. "There is now a menace which is called Twitter," Erdogan said on TV, according to the Guardian. "The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society." While some have suggested that Erdogan has cracked down on Internet access in response, there's no evidence his government has limited connectivity. In fact, initial research suggests that the Turkish protests have spawned a record number of Tweets compared with other protests, spreading not just real-time information about protests, but encouraging others to participate. The uncomfortable truth is that while it's unsurprising to hear a government official denouncing his detractors as misinformed or dishonest, Erdogan isn't entirely wrong. Unverified and in some cases clearly inaccurate information about the protests is spreading fast, and in some cases too rapidly for reliable information to counteract. Read More

Syrian Internet Almost Entirely Dark, Multiple Observers Say

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, May 7 2013

Syrian Internet connections appeared to flicker off throughout the day Tuesday in what appears to be the largest disruption of access since the war-torn country was completely separated from the rest of the digital world last November. Read More

The Net Neutrality Debate Returns in Germany, Rousing Activists

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, May 7 2013 Petition Creator meets with Telekom Executive (Facebook)

Against the backdrop of the German national election campaign, the Berlin Internet conference re:publica opened Monday with organizers calling on Chancellor Angela Merkel to oppose a controversial proposal by phone and Internet provider Deutsche Telekom to effectively eliminate its flat-rate broadband service. Read More