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Google's Eric Schmidt and WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Get One Another's Jokes

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, April 23 2013

Eric Schmidt. Photo: LeWeb12

As part of research for their new book, Jared Cohen and Eric Schmidt met WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2011. The full conversation, according to a transcript and recording WikiLeaks has published online, ranged from the technical details of WikiLeaks' methods for avoiding censorship in China to Assange's political theories about control of, and access to, information. Their brief conceptual stop in Rwanda — which, Assange suggested, would have gone differently had WikiLeaks been around — was one of many. Read More

What Schieffer Should Ask: The Internet and Foreign Policy

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, October 22 2012

The two presidential candidates aren't likely to get to this at Monday night's final presidential debate, but one revealing question CBS' Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer could ask is what role they think the Internet should play in conducting public diplomacy and in promoting freedom abroad. Read More

Watching the Roll-Out of Google Ideas

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, July 11 2011

If you're curious, as we are, about where Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen are going with their Google Ideas think/do-tank, check out this recent profile from the Financial Times. Pegged to a June 26-29 conference in Ireland ... Read More

Google Ideas, CFR Bring Together Ex-Extremists

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, March 22 2011

Foreign Policy's Josh Rogin reports that Google Ideas, the wing of the company led by former State Department policy planning staffer Jared Cohen, is planning a 3-day conference in Dublin late June that will, in ... Read More

The Internet, Ignored No More: Morozov's Case Against "Freedom.gov"

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, January 3 2011

Thankfully, Foreign Policy's Evgeny Morozov, a frequent critic of the U.S. State Department's push to advocate in favor of "Internet freedom" around the planet, has boiled down his objections into a concise ... Read More

Talkin', and Not, About the New Wired World Order

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, October 25 2010

Ciudad Juarez, where the U.S. State Department is working to build a mobile narco-violence reporting tool; Photo credit: pmoroni. Read More

Meet the New Statecraft, Same as the...

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, September 8 2010

Some context for the news that the State Department's Jared Cohen is indeed headed to Google: frequent critic Evgeny Morozov homes in on the question of whether the benefits for free expression associated with tech ... Read More

Jared Cohen Exits State, Enters Google

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, September 8 2010

It's official: the State Department's Jared Cohen, closely identified with the idea of "21st Century Statecraft," is indeed leaving the department's Policy Planning staff to head up a new "think/do ... Read More

State's Jared Cohen Reportedly Bound for Google "Think Tank"

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, August 16 2010

Photo credit: Center for American Progress Fortune seems to confirm, kinda, a rumor that has been floating around technology and politics space for some time now: the State Department's Read More

Three Days in Colombia: What U.S. Digital Diplomacy Looks Like on the Ground

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, July 16 2010

As part of a State Department "technology delegation" to Colombia this week, American technologists and State Department staffers visited Escuela Marina Orth. Read More

News Briefs

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Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

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The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

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tuesday >

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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