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After Snowden, Columbia J-School Panel Sees Renewed Need for Legal Framework Protecting Journalists

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, January 31 2014

The editors of the Guardian's U.S. edition and the New York Times, a First Amendment lawyer and a member of the Obama-appointed surveillance review panel called for a renewed legal framework to protect the privacy and security interests of journalists in the wake of the unprecedented surveillance revelations from Edward Snowden at a panel at Columbia University Thursday night. Noting varying degrees of government pressure on both sides of the Atlantic, Guardian U.S. editor Janine Gibson and New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson stressed that respecting the right of news organizations to report on sensitive materials was in the government's interest as well, since otherwise the material would simply find its way out in a completely haphazard way without regard for any journalistic responsibility, which was also the outcome Edward Snowden hoped to avoid. Read More

First POST: Inclemency

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, January 3 2014

Repercussions from the NY Times' call for clemency for Edward Snowden; the anniversary of Aaron Swartz's death and MIT's role; Ezra Klein taking Wonkblog independent; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Accomplishments

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, January 2 2014

Must-reads from the end of the year; The New York Times calls for clemency for Edward Snowden; the Commotion 1.0 mesh networking toolkit launches; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Intellectuals

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, December 12 2013

Why you should get off Facebook; where the women tech intellectuals are at; the PCCC gets poked and prodded; NYC's police crime data policy gets stopped and frisked; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Incentives

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, December 10 2013

HealthCare.gov has turned the corner; David Karpf asks if Change.org is watering down its issues as its gains users; and everyone is worrying when the great Facebook News Feed crash will come; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Taking Over

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 26 2013

How privacy concerns will fit into the next populist wave in US politics; Glenn Greenwald and Paul Carr spar; why the number of lobbyists in Washington is probably double what you think; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Generation W?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, September 17 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Whistleblowing as an act of generational identity?; Craig Newmark is officially the government's biggest "nerd"; Turkey's ruling party is building a social media army; and much, much more. Read More

Why Didn't Facebook Waive "Sponsored Post" Fees for Hurricane Sandy Relief?

BY Lea Zeltserman | Wednesday, November 7 2012

South Ferry subway station under water, the day after Hurricane Sandy (credit: MTAPhotos)
As the full scope of the disaster wrought by Hurricane Sandy sank in, volunteers in New York and New Jersey dropped everything to help the thousands evacuated from homes that were flooded, freezing and without electricity; many put out urgent calls for supplies and volunteers on Facebook, but their posts failed to reach a wide audience because the social media site did not suspend its fees for promoting posts — even as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal lowered their paywall in order to give people in the disaster-struck region access to information. Read More

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How the New York Times Uses Citizen Media to Watch "Syria's War"

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, July 16 2012

Source: YouTube via nytimes.com.

Forced to watch ongoing violence and unrest in Syria from afar, the New York Times launched "Watching Syria's War," an interactive page that presents, parses and explains videos coming out of the country from a growing group of activists and everyday citizens. In an edited interview with Lisa Goldman, page editor J David Goodman explains how the project works, from the way the Times breaks down what is or isn't credible for its visitors to what the entire endeavor might say about the future of conflict reporting. Read More

New York Times Collates Syrian Opposition's Citizen Journalist Reports

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, July 13 2012

Source: NYTimes.com

The New York Times online has created an ambitious, information-rich page that aggregates video clips and tweets posted by both citizen journalists who support the Syrian opposition and official government media outlets. Watching Syria's War is updated several times each day. The project is particularly timely in that it attempts to bridge the gap between independently verified information and information that is disseminated by interested parties with an agenda. Syria is a bit of a black box at the best of times, but since the civil war began over one year ago it has been particularly difficult to obtain accurate information. Reporters are prevented from entering Syria or, when they do obtain a visa, from moving about the country freely. 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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