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Crowdsourcing Disaster Response Via Social Media and SMS

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, August 27 2012

In two detailed and important blog posts, Patrick Meier explains how grassroots activists are using social media platforms and mobile phones to coordinate disaster relief, often when the government's response is inadequate. In many cases, Meier points out, the grassroots networks existed already, having been created as a means of coordinating political protest. Read More

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Young Iranians Use Mobile and Social Media to Mobilize Grassroots Relief for Earthquake Victims

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, August 21 2012

In response to the government's poor response in delivering aid to earthquake survivors in northeast Iran, young middle class people from Tehran are mobilizing grassroots relief efforts to collect and deliver supplies via social media platforms, circumventing the government's block on Facebook via VPNs. Read More

Iranian Government Plans to Disconnect Government Agencies from the Internet

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, August 8 2012

Iran plans to move several of its ministries and state agencies offline as a way of protecting them behind a secure computer wall from what it sees as online threats, the Telegraph reported. An Iranian official also said the measure is the first step in the launch of a long-rumored domestic intranet system set to start in 18 months, per the Telegraph. Read More

Obama: Network Disruption in Syria, Iran, Facilitates Human Rights Abuse

BY Nick Judd | Monday, April 23 2012

In an executive order signed Sunday and released by the White House on Monday as President Barack Obama spoke at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C., the president called for financial restrictions on entities involved in the disruption, monitoring, or tracking of computers and networks by the Syrian or Iranian governments. The order would block property in the U.S. owned by people involved firsthand in network tracking and disruption, as well as people who provided technology, finances or expertise. It calls out Syrian and Iranian Internet service providers by name, but may be inclusive enough to cause problems for the Swedish telecommunications supplier Ericsson, which has supplied Syrian telecommunications firm Syriatel, said the Electronic Freedom Foundation's Jillian C. York. Read More

U.S. State Dept. Creates New Online Animation "Behind The Electronic Curtain," Targeting Iran

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, April 6 2012

The State Department on Friday started promoting a new cartoon it created highlighting Iran's online system of censorship. It started promoting the video on Twitter in English, Chinese, Farsi and Arabic with the hashtag ... Read More

Bahrain and Belarus named Enemies of the Internet

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, March 13 2012

Reporters without Borders released an updated report yesterday of the countries that it has designated Enemies of the Internet. Read More

Iranian Internet Disruptions May Be Sign of Iran's Own "Clean Internet" to Come

BY Raphael Majma | Wednesday, February 15 2012

What appear to be Iranian government efforts to interdict or inspect Internet traffic have come with increasing frequency in recent months. Most recently, Iranian activists and journalists were the target of an anonymous Feb. 13 email “warning” that threatened them with punishment for working for the goals of foreigners. Read More

Should Americans Care About Superinjunctions?

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, May 31 2011

In a Forbes op-ed published over the weekend, Mercatus fellow Adam Thierer digs into the relevance of the British courts' efforts to uphold "superinjunctions," privacy orders that effectively bar the press (and anyone ... Read More

The 'Comodo Hacker' Says Attack Was About Restoring 'Equality' to the Internet

BY Nick Judd | Monday, March 28 2011

Someone purporting to be the "Comodo hacker" posted a message to the world on Saturday that frames this month's successful attack on one of the web's largest providers of SSL certificates as revenge for previous Internet ... Read More

The Internet Is Still a Scary, Scary Place

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, March 24 2011

The system that allows you to check your GMail account or your bank balance online is complicated, but it's based on the idea that one of a small number of firms — called certificate authorities — can be ... Read More

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In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

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NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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