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First POST: Twitterization

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, September 3 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The download on Peter Hamby's must-read report on Twitter's impact on 2012 campaign coverage; Jeff Bezos gives some clues to his plans for the Washington Post; Ethan Zuckerman thinks citizen science could help reduce NIMBYism; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Mixed Messages From Iran On Internet Access

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 8 2013

A week after Iran's minister for communications and information technology told the media the country slowed down the Internet before the presidential election on June 14, the president-elect Hassan Rouhani announced he would reduce online censorship. The mixed messages come along with news or at least rumor of a speedy – and easily restricted – “national Internet.”

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WeGov

How To Report From Censored Environments

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, June 24 2013

Iran ranked just below China on the Press Freedom Index this year at spot 174 (of 179), only slightly better than Somalia, Syria and North Korea. Considering the restraints on local journalists and the red tape being put up for foreign reporters covering the presidential election, Reporters Without Borders (RWB) published advice for reporting on censored elections. Turns out the article contains sound advice for any journalist or even traveler venturing into censored environments.

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WeGov

To Protest Judge's Sentence, Iranians Launch Viral Feminist Campaign on Facebook

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, April 26 2013

A collage of photos from the Kurdish Men For Equality Facebook page

On April 15, police paraded a convicted criminal dressed in traditional Kurdish women’s clothing through the streets of Marivan, Iran, in accordance with a judge’s sentence. A local feminist organization, the Marivan Women’s Community, found the sentence humiliating to Kurdish women, and organized a protest. The protest moved online to a Facebook page with the tagline: “Being a woman is not humiliating and should not be considered punishment.” Overnight, the page garnered 3,800 fans. One week later, it now has more than 10,000 fans. The protest has prompted 17 members of Iran’s parliament to sign a letter to the Justice Ministry calling the punishment “humiliating to Muslim women.”

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WeGov

Weekly Global Readings: Repression

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, January 9 2013

From today, techPresident will publish a weekly global mashup of stories about the intersection of technology, democracy and civil society. Read More

WeGov

Putting Rights Violations on the Map in Iran

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 2 2013

Screengrab of the Mapping Iran's Human Rights, from iranhumanrights.org

A new interactive map from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran will track rights violations in the country by region. The Mapping Iran's Human Rights project geographically situates violations in four categories — perpetrators, victims, prison corruption, and regional trends — while generating new knowledge about corruption from sources in Iran. Read More

WeGov

The Ayatollah Is On Facebook, Even If Iran Isn’t Supposed to Be

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, December 20 2012

Screengrab of The Ayatollah Khamenei's new Facebook page

A Facebook page for Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini,appeared online last week. The apparently state-sanctioned page has garnered over 18,000 likes, though the popular social network has effectively been banned in the country since dissidents gathered online to power protests after the 2009 reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Read More

WeGov

With YouTube Blocked, Iran Offers State Sanctioned Online Video Alternative

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, December 10 2012

Logo for Mehr.Ir

After restricting nationwide access to Gmail and Google Search earlier this fall, Iran has put forward a new effort against the Internet conglomerate’s YouTube arm, in the form of a state-sanctioned online video provider operated by the IRIB(Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Service). Read More

WeGov

Iranian Gov't Blocks Downloading of Foreign Media Files

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, October 8 2012

The Iranian government is now blocking the downloading of MP3, MP4, AVI and SWF files hosted on foreign servers, reports Storify Middle East. Read More

WeGov

In Wake of Public Outcry, Iran Lifts "Indefinite" Block on Gmail After One Week

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, October 1 2012

One week after announcing that access to Gmail and Google search would be blocked indefinitely in the Islamic Regime of Iran, regime officials restored access to the popular online platforms while claiming that they had unintentionally blocked them while trying to filter the crude anti-Islam film, "Innocence of the Muslims." Meanwhile, the Ministry of Telecommunications launched its own official email service, which requires users to register. Read More

News Briefs

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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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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

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