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The Simplest Step Ethiopians Can Take to Protect Themselves From Excessive Gov't Surveillance

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, June 20 2014

The Ethiopian government has at their disposal a formidable collection of surveillance technologies, and can intrusively monitor writers and activists at home and abroad. In late April the government arrested six independent bloggers and a journalist. More than 50 days later they are still being held in custody, and yet no formal charges have been filed. In March Human Rights Watch published a lengthy and detailed report warning that surveillance in Ethiopia could get even worse if the government gains the human capacity necessary to fully leverage the available technologies.

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WeGov

[Interview] MEP Marietje Schaake Says We Need Global Collaboration to Keep the Internet Open

BY Antonella Napolitano | Friday, June 13 2014

MEP Marietje Schaake at PDF14 (Photo: Esty Stein/Personal Democracy)

A video interview with MEP Schaake on the PDF conference, working with citizen empowerment and next steps for the European Parliament on digital rights. Read More

WeGov

A Bit of Hypocrisy From Ecuador On Internet Surveillance

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, November 20 2013

President Rafael Correa (Wikipedia)

Proposed changes to Ecuador's Criminal Code threaten Internet users privacy, security, and possibly even access, reports the digital freedom activist group Access. Among the changes is the provision that Internet service providers (ISPs) must retain records of Internet activity for up to six months. This change would be at odds with the Ecuadorean Constitution, which prohibits arbitrary retention of communications online and off. Another provision would require cybercafes to videotape their patrons. Aside from violating user privacy, this requirement would be prohibitive to small ma and pop establishments, which might close if the owners are unable to afford cameras and data storage equipment.

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WeGov

Worried About The NSA? Be Glad You Don't Live In India

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, September 11 2013

Last week The Economic Times reported that India's massive surveillance apparatus known as the Centralised Monitoring System (CMS) will be “operational soon”—this in spite of the fact that some believed it to be at work as early as May of this year. When CMS finally made headlines, activists worried that India's existing privacy laws wouldn't be enough to protect consumers from snooping government officials abusing their powers. Low and behold—on September 9 The Hindu reported that India's 160 million Internet users are already being thoroughly surveilled, and that the government's activities violate laws meant to ensure “privacy of communications.”

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WeGov

As Protests Continue, the Brazilian Gov't Scrambles to Surveil Social Media

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, June 21 2013

Brazil trying to control protests on the street, and online (Rui Rodrigues/Flickr)

As the protests in Brazil continue – aided and abetted by social media – the government has been scrambling to put together an Internet surveillance system to track and monitor protests both on and offline.

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Companies and Internet Activists to Congress: Investigate Potential NSA Surveillance Overreach

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, June 11 2013

Over 80 advocacy organizations and Internet companies including Free Press and Mozilla have launched what they are calling a global petition to Congress calling for an inquiry into the scope and scale of reported government surveillance and reforms to the Patriot Act, the FISA Amendment Act and the state secrets privilege. Read More

WeGov

French Authorities Want to Tap (and Tax) Skype Calls

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, May 23 2013

Paris, France ( Wikipedia)

In spite of repeated requests from the French telecommunications authorities ARCEP, Skype has refused to classify itself as an electronic communications operator in France, which would require them to route emergency calls and allow the French police to intercept conversations. ARCEP has informed the Paris public prosecutor of Skype's refusal, and criminal charges might be brought against the company for failing to comply. This is yet another instance in recent months of France making things difficult for tech companies. Some worry that the overzealous government is discouraging technological progress in France, hindering business and economic growth.

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Journalists Who Neglect Digital Security Put their Sources at Risk

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, September 5 2012

Journalists are putting their sources — and sometimes their own lives — at risk by failing to implement digital security strategies, article the American Journalism Review. Read More

Report: Surveillance Tech In Syria, Myanmar Comes From Sunnyvale

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, November 9 2011

An American technology company is increasingly coming under fire with allegations that its Internet filtering technology is being used by some countries to censor and monitor its own citizens, Technology Review reports: ... Read More

Governments Must Not Censor the Internet: A Strong Remark From UK Foreign Minister

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, November 1 2011

In the opening address of the London Conference on Cyberspace, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague took a strong stance on freedom of expression, declaring that governments should not censor activities in cyberspace. His ... Read More

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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