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WeGov

New Russian Law Makes Publication of Information on Gay Rights Illegal

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, June 12 2013

Would this constitute "gay propaganda"? (Wikipedia)

On June 11 the Russian parliament passed a bill against “homosexual propaganda” that effectively outlaws gay rights rallies and bans informational or pro-gay rights material from publication in the media or on the Internet. Violators of the law will risk heavy fines and censorship and, in the case of a media outlet, risk being shut down. It had near unanimous support, passing in a 436-to-0 vote, with only one abstention.

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WeGov

Canada's Liberal Party Holds Online Primaries While Security Experts Scowl

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Wednesday, May 1 2013

Justin Trudeau, newly elected leader of Canada's Liberal party (image: Flickr/justintrudeau)

Canada’s federal Liberal party elected a new leader last week. And for the first time in the party's history, the voting took place online. Justin Trudeau, the telegenic son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Canada's most famous leader, won in a landslide with over 80 per cent of the vote. But online voting critics say that despite the decisive results, the Internet remains an unsafe place to cast your vote. Read More

WeGov

Denmark to Close Down on Openness in Government Administration

BY Jon Lund | Wednesday, April 24 2013

Copenhagen (credit: JamesZ_/Flickr)

A clear majority of Danish parliamentarians supports the new Freedom of Information Act, which would increase the right of government to keep internal documents and correspondence between members of the legislative and executive branches of government secret from the public. The law could prevent the media from exposing political scandals. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and it is the civil servant culture. Read More

WeGov

Latvians Create their Own Parliamentary Bills Online

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, April 10 2013

Riga, capital city of Latvia (credit: Leif Sobremonte/Flickr)

The social initiative platform ManaBalss — "my voice" — offers Latvian citizens the opportunity to get directly involved in their government. Already, ManaBalss points out, two new laws have been passed because of this initiative. This might be a turning point for Latvia, which generally has one of the lowest levels of political engagement and trust in government in the European Union. According to the New York Times, until recently Latvia’s “national politics were largely controlled by a handful of business tycoons…and who are said to have chosen Latvia’s last president in a secret meeting in a zoo. Read More

WeGov

Is This the End of Iceland's Crowdsourced Constitution?

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, April 3 2013

Icelandic citizens who drafted the constitution last year. (Skrifstofa Stjórnlagaráðs / Flickr)

When Iceland faced a fiscal catastrophe in 2008, residents took to the streets with pots and pans to demand change from the government.  Leaders in the country took the spirit of the crowd to heart. In 2011, Iceland announced that it would be crowdsourcing its next constitution, an effort that ultimately resulted in a full draft bill.  Yet amid Iceland’s election season and the turmoil to determine the country’s future, the crowdsourced constitution has now been effectively scrapped. 

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WeGov

Russian State Regulation - and Censorship - of the Internet Begins in Earnest

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, April 1 2013

Though around 50 percent of the population remains offline, Russian users make up the largest Internet presence in Europe.  There were 67 Russians people online last April, and projections have that number rising to over 90 million by this year.  Yet as the Russian web has grown, so have attempts to rein it in.  Now Russian leadership under Vladimir Putin has made a first major step towards centralized state control of the Internet, by acting on new legislation that will allow the government to selectively censor online content. 

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WeGov

How Open Is China's Homegrown "Open-Source" Initiative?

BY David Eaves | Friday, March 29 2013

China is not the first emerging power to see open source as a way to enhance its autonomy and diminish the leverage of foreign stakeholders. Brazil has which began to aggressively invest in and implement open source solutions around 2003, also saw it as a strategic choice. Yes, reducing software costs of government played a role, but it too wanted to boost the develop its IT sector - which it sees as being strategically important - as well as reduce its dependency on American software companies. The question of course, is how effective will these strategies be? Read More

WeGov

Viennese Transport Authority to Release Transit Data in Response to Online Petition

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, March 29 2013

The Viennese Transit Authority Wiener Linien announced Friday that it will make its transit data available to third parties this summer after coming under pressure from an online petition started by two developers. Read More

WeGov

North Korea Revokes 3G Internet Service for Foreign Visitors

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, March 27 2013

A Koryo Tours Manager took a shot of Pyongyang on Instagram on March 6. Source.

North Korea's brief foray into 3G Internet service, exclusively intended for tourists, has ended as of this week. A relaxation of strict prohibitions against mobile devices for foreign visitors in this winter was followed by the opening of the country’s data network in February. Officials in the country have now announced they will terminate the service, as tensions escalate on the Korean peninsula. Read More

WeGov

Finnish Parliament Must Vote on Citizens' Petition for Same Sex Marriage Law

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, March 25 2013

Helsinki Cathedral in Midnight Sun (credit: Visit Finland/Flickr)

Over the course of a single day last week, Finnish advocates of equal marriage rights gathered 50,000 signatures for a petition that proposes granting legal recognition to same sex couples. According to the Citizen's Initiative Act, a modification of the Finnish constitutionthat was passed last year, this is the minimum number of signatures required for a legislative vote: the proposal has therefore been submitted to parliament. Read More