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A Hackday For Teen Girls Tries to Close Gender Gap in India's Tech Sector

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, August 26 2013

More than 200 bright young girls came together at the Satvika 2013 technology conference last week for a hackday created just for them. It is one way entrepreneur Deepak Ravindran is pushing to close the gender gap in India's technology sector.

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WeGov

The Mumbai Gang Rape and the Digital Fingerprints of a Crime

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, August 26 2013

CPOA/flickr

Last week in Mumbai, five men dragged a 23-year-old magazine intern behind a broken wall in the deserted Shakti Mills and raped her, documenting the brutality on their cell phones through video and photos. They then threatened to publicize the footage if she tattled and forced her to clean up the crime scene. But even before they committed the heinous act, they had paved a digital trail of evidence. Read More

WeGov

Citizen Journalism and mGovernance in Rural India

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, August 19 2013

Imagine nearly 20 million people without access to news and current events. In the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, language barriers, illiteracy, lack of Internet access and strict radio regulations exclude millions living in rural communities from the mainstream media. A voice messaging service called CGNet Swara overcomes those obstacles and empowers anyone in rural India with a cell phone to become a citizen journalist.

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WeGov

Can a New Tool Help Contain the Deadly MERS Virus?

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, August 5 2013

source: Al Jazeera English

A number of digital health tools have emerged of late, from Google Flu and now a mega data collecting platform called BioMosaic. Can these new technologies really help us predict outbreaks and prevent their spread? Read More

WeGov

The Permanent Hackathon

BY Susannah Vila | Thursday, August 1 2013

Aren't you tired of pictures of hackathons? (Gary Dee/Wikimedia)

The hackathon model is being reimagined so that it’s less focused on discrete time-frames, ticking clocks and prize money, to more focused on building lasting communities across sectors, using physical spaces like innovation hubs, event series and virtual conversations. As these recent experiences suggest, replacing the traditional hackathon model with one that’s based on a continuous conversation promises three key advantages. Read More

WeGov

Flooding in Macedonia Tests a Smartphone Early Warning App

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, July 26 2013

Flooding in Macedonia in 2006 (Flickr/Novica Nakov)

When the southeastern region Macedonia flooded in February after three days of heavy rain, locals could log into a smartphone application to get up to the minute disaster information. It was a not so dry run of a new app developed by students and professors at the University of Skopje's Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and backed with a US $10,000 grant from the UNDP Innovation Fund.

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WeGov

An App to Shield Tibetans' Texts From Prying Eyes

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, July 24 2013

Monks protesting with Tibetan flags (image: SFTHQ)

There may finally be a tool Tibetans can more safely use – at less risk of censorship or surveillance – to communicate with each other inside and outside of Tibet. Since YakChat launched in March, the new messenging app has taken Tibetan activists “by storm,” explained Nathan Freitas of the Guardian Project, an organization that creates secure, open-source communications software. Around 5,000 Tibetans have since adopted this app, though most of them are outside of Tibet. Read More

WeGov

70 Percent of China's New Internet Users Log in on their Phones

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, July 23 2013

Since January, China's Internet populace grew to clock in at 591 million at the end of June, according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC). Phones are the preferred (or the only) way to surf the net: 70 percent of the new Internet users accessed the Internet on a phone.

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WeGov

Journalists in Mozambique Have a New Way to Get Help Reporting on Elections

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, July 19 2013

Screenshot of Citizen Desk's beta version (Sourcefabric.org)

The municipal elections in Mozambique are over four months away but short-staffed newsrooms are already preparing to deal with the persistent conundrum: how do they accurately cover the elections with over 2,500 polling stations to monitor across the country? A new tool called Citizen Desk allows newsrooms to incorporate citizen reports into their news stream, to act as eyes and ears for the upcoming elections. Read More

WeGov

Can Better User Experience Reboot Kenya's App Economy?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 17 2013

Mark Kamau (Flickr/Whiteafrican)

African bloggers have bemoaned the failure rate of mobile apps in Kenya, in particular those that win competitions and then disappear. While many factors could contribute to the phenomenon, at the iHub UX Lab in Nairobi, Kenyan web solution expert Mark Kamau shows developers how to put the user at the center of the design. UX is short for User Experience, and Kamau advocates for it as a way of sharing the “cognitive load” between mobile app developers and users.

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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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