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First POST: Answers

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, January 24 2012

  • Mitt Romney has released his tax returns online. At last night's debate on NBC, in response to attacks from Romney on his record in the House, Newt Gingrich said he wouldn't spend time responding to what he said were Romney's "falsehoods" and would instead give his own perspective on his website today.

  • The Department of State has launched "My State Department," an interface to the website that allows users to customize content based on their interests. Users sign in via OpenID and can then change or add widgets focused on different areas of the department's work.

  • Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and his challenger, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, have signed a pledge to limit political ads by outside groups.

  • Some Republicans still wish Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is delivering the State of the Union response tonight, would run for president. To that end, they've created the website, the New York Times reported. According to the website, almost 5,800 people have signed a petition since January 21st.

  • Mitt Romney is the subject of a viral video called “Nobody Loves Me,” which highlights some of Romney’s more awkward campaign stops and the Republican party’s lukewarm reaction to the candidate.

  • Mozilla will crowdsource translation of President Obama's upcoming State of the Union Address to provide captions and subtitles in various languages.

  • Slate has an animation of the Republican horse race, so far.

  • Hackers, possibly from abroad, appear to have disrupted railway signals in the Northwest for two days in December, according to a government memo, Nextgov reported.

  • Google nearly doubled its spending on lobbying in 2011, and now outspends Microsoft. Mashable reports that out of all the 2012 presidential possibilities, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, and Barack Obama are the only ones who can include the "Computers/Internet" industry among their twenty largest donors.

  • A Twitter account linked to Anonymous denied reports that the group planned to attack Facebook. Senator Chuck Grassley's (R-Iowa) Twitter feed was hacked by what appeared to be a supporter of Anonymous who opposed SOPA, PIPA and the international counterfeit trade agreement ACTA. Anonymous also appears to have temporarily deleted all information from and targeted, government and music websites in Brazil and Vivendi. A group affiliated with Anonymous also attacked several Austrian governmental websites, according to local media reports.

  • According to a report cited by Reuters, the shutdown of Megaupload is unlikely to deter piracy.

  • Engineers from Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace have teamed up to create the “Don’t Be Evil” bookmarklet, which “looks at the three places where Google only shows Google+ results and then automatically googles Google to see if Google finds a result more relevant than Google+."

  • South Carolina is the latest state to participate in the 2012 Project, a non-partisan campaign to encourage women to run for public office, with a new web-based training program.

  • The head of the American Crossroads Super PAC vows that the group will be focused on defeating Barack Obama using social media and voter registration and turnout efforts online. Meanwhile, Reddit users are discussing how to use a Reddit Super PAC called Test PAC, Please Ignore.

  • ClickZ reports on an analysis of what other Facebook likes correlate with support of the presidential candidates' fan pages.

  • NPR reports on how the CIA has gone from analyzing and translating radio broadcasts to analyzing social media around the world.

  • The Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Transportation are currently requesting feedback on their open government practices as part of a required update in accordance with the White House's Open Government Directive.

  • Gadi Beh-Yehuda, social media director for IBM's Center for the Business of Government think tank, is offering a course on social media in government through the General Services Administration's Web Manager University. The course is being offered to government officials, who will learn about implementing various social media tools.

  • According to an audit, most New York City teachers and principals are not using an $80 million student information database.

  • A Stanford professor announced that he will leave his position to start an online start-up to teach low-cost online classes.

  • The Illinois Supreme Court will allow cameras in courtrooms on an "experimental basis."

  • Philadelphia has unveiled a new website to monitor the system-wide status of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). Meanwhile, New York City announced that the Bronx and one other borough would get the Bus Time tracking system this year, before the remaining boroughs get it in 2013. But the New York MTA is having trouble with a computer system that is supposed to improve service on the subways.

  • JStreet is encouraging supporters to sign an online petition to House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) to unfreeze Palestinian aid that benefits the Palestinian Sesame Street.

  • Trust in government has fallen around the world, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, the BBC reported.

  • Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg is co-chairing the World Economic Forum in Davos.

  • Google Plus now allows some pseudonyms. At launch, the service had been criticized for not allowing anonymity.

  • McDonald's social media director explained to paidContent how a recent Twitter campaign got out of hand.

  • Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has joined Twitter, the BBC reported.

  • The British public have responded enthusiastically to the opportunity to suggest questions for the British Education Secretary via Twitter, the BBC reported.

  • Anne Sinclair, wife of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, greets the readers of the new French-language Huffington Post site.

With Raphael Majma

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.


tuesday > Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and And strangely enough, seems to want its early users to ask for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.


monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.


The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.


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.


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.