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Split by SouthWest: My SXSW 2012 Diary

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 15 2012

danah boyd and Alex Howard at SXSW 2012 (Photo by Micah L. Sifry)

PDM editorial director Micah L. Sifry spent last Friday through Monday at South by SouthWest Interactive, attending panels, keynotes and hanging out. Here's his report: SXSW is still a place where sessions packed with thousands of attendees cheer for the iconoclasts and the game-changers. It is also much more of a business networking conference than an internet futurists' playpen. In short, it has a split personality. Read More

The FBI Says "Sabu," the Influential LulzSec Member, One of Two Arrested, Six Charged

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, March 6 2012

In a press release, the Federal Bureau of Information announced the indictment of six people who are charged with using their hacking skills to sneak onto an FBI call with other law enforcement agencies as well as information raids on HBGary, an information security firm that had been apparently planning a propaganda campaign against Wikileaks, and Stratfor, a global intelligence firm; and attacks on websites belonging to Fox, Sony, and PBS.

The release supports much of a FoxNews.com exclusive published earlier today. Together, they paint a picture of key mistakes compromising the security of the FBI — and of the man Fox News reports is a LulzSec leader turned informant.

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Anonymous And LulzSec Are At It Again, and This Time, It's Legal

BY Becky Kazansky | Wednesday, July 27 2011

Lulz Security and Anonymous, better known for illegal data breaches and acts of 'hacktivism,' today called for supporters to engage in a new protest against their old nemesis PayPal — but participants in this ... Read More

Report: Fear of 'Internet Vigilantes' Holds Back Austrialian Internet Filtering Initiative

BY Nick Judd | Monday, June 27 2011

Telstra, one of Australia's biggest Internet service providers, has not yet made a final decision on whether or not to cooperate with the federal government there to block access to websites that purvey material ... Read More

Senate Staffer Says Hackers Knocked, But Didn't Get Far

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, June 14 2011

Hackers gained access to files on Senate.gov over the weekend, but gained access to no sensitive information, Deputy U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms Martina Bradford said in a statement emailed to reporters last night. ... Read More

Updated: Hackers Say They've Broken Into Senate.gov

BY Nick Judd | Monday, June 13 2011

LulzSec, the same people who hacked PBS.org, announced today that they've hacked into Senate.gov, the website of the U.S. Senate. A spokeswoman for the Senate Sergeant at Arms, the office responsible for the senate's ... Read More

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

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wednesday >

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

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