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First POST: Fallout from SOPA, ACTA, and Megaupload

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, January 30 2012

Photo: Elsie Esq.
  • The Mitt Romney campaign has released a new web video entitled "Credits", which shows "a running list, like a reel of movie credits, of Gingrich's House colleagues who voted to reprimand him for ethics violations in 1997," the the Washington Post reported.

  • NBC requested that Mitt Romney stop airing an ad that features a 1997 clip of Tom Brokaw reporting on Newt Gingrich’s ethics violations concerns. Brokaw expressed his concern over the use of his image in the political ad and its relation to his image as a journalist prior to NBC making the request. As the New York Times noted:

    Whatever the implications for NBC News are, the commercial seemed to serve the campaign’s purpose. The Internet was full of posts on Saturday with NBC’s demand that the campaign pull the ad. Mr. Romney’s spokeswoman wrote on Twitter: “Watch the @MittRomney ad that has everyone abuzz here!” and included a link to the video.

    The following day, the Gingrich campaign removed the BuzzFeed logo from an anti-Romney ad, even though BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith said the site wouldn't have objected.

  • On February 4th, the Nevada Republican party will release real time results via their Twitter account for the Nevada Republican caucus..

  • A new Facebook application will poll users on selected political issues, and the results will be shown on Times Square billboards.

  • The Wall Street Journal looked at what it would take to get Twitter unblocked in China. Meanwhile, in a Reuters magazine article, Jonathan Weber explores what makes Twitter so unique, writing that it "has become one of the most important news purveyors of the 21st century:"

    As the reach of Twitter and the other Internet media companies extends across the globe, though, it's becoming apparent that they are not just enablers of communication, they are publishers, wrestling with classic publishing problems. They make decisions about what types of words and pictures are suitable, they determine how to respond to would-be government censors, they struggle with how to organize information in a useful fashion, and they even worry about how to handle advertising in a way that doesn't alienate customers.

  • In announcing its new policy on potentially censoring tweets in different countries, Twitter also released all the takedown notices it has received so far.

  • New visualizations show tweets in New York City and in Africa.

  • Americans abroad stand to have a bigger influence in the 2012 election in large part in due to technology, the International Herald Tribune reported:

    All these issues around having no time to vote or receive a ballot are just totally disappearing," said Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat, president of the Overseas Vote Foundation ... The foundation's Web site,, which has tools to facilitate voting, received 1.25 million visitors in October 2008, according to the Pew center. Ms. Dzieduszycka-Suinat said the improvements could make a difference in close elections. She said that while more than 989,000 ballots were requested by overseas voters in 2008, only 680,000 were returned for counting, according to the Election Assistance Commission. The states with the highest number of overseas voters are populous states with great influence in presidential elections. In descending order, they are California, Florida, Texas and New York."

    All states and the District of Columbia now allow military and overseas voters to receive blank ballots electronically. A judge in New York moved up that state's primary largely because a later date would have made it difficult to comply with federal laws governing the timing for absentee ballots.

  • The City Council in Cambridge, Mass., has so far not been able to reach an agreement on who to elect as mayor. This has prompted the hashtag #HowCambridgeShouldPickAMayor with suggestions that are based off of Cambridge inside jokes, such as: "First to park the car in Harvard Yard," "Who can lock the Harvard Yard gates the fastest," "Who can dismantle an Occupy Harvard tent fastest," "first to properly pronounce Huron Ave.," "Race up the Porter Square T stairs," and "whoever chooses this hashtag as their campaign slogan."

  • President Barack Obama singing Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" has increased the song's sales by 500 percent. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's book has increased its Amazon rankings by 522 percent, after her run-in with Obama went viral.

  • A Twitter account has been tweeting excerpts from the Ron Paul newsletters that have been considered racist.

  • The Washington Post is collecting news stories about the campaign, submitted using the hashtag #campaignreads, at

  • Google looked at its top trending searches during last week's debate, which were the terms "language ghetto," "rubio," "freddie mac," and "moon." The top trending candidates were "Santorum" and "Paul."
  • The Boston Globe highlighted the Massachusetts-based Fight For the Future group, which played a key role in the online anti-SOPA protests. The Onion also takes on SOPA and PIPA, for example with the suggestion that "All pirated material [be made] available only at the Commerce Department's new site,"

  • Senator Ron Wyden is asking the State Department to clarify the consequences of signing the international treaty ACTA without congressional approval.

  • The Hollywood Reporter looks back on how the MPAA was caught somewhat by surprise at failure of the SOPA/PIPA legislation.

  • Megaupload alternatives have seen an increase in traffic since the site's shutdown. Meanwhile, a poll of U.S. voters found that most of them felt like censorship, not piracy, is a greater issue.

  • The Pirate Party of Catalonia is suing the FBI in Spain over harm caused to non-pirating users of Megaupload.

  • New We the People petitions call for the White House to oppose the Research Works Act and to reduce the term of copyright.

  • The White House has now released over two million visitor records.

  • The European Parliament website was taken down in an attack attributed to Anonymous, while a man in Poland was arrested for a hacker attack that occurred there. Mexican websites were also hacked.

  • Google highlighted two studies that show a positive impact of the web on the world economy. "The Boston Consulting group's 'Digital Manifesto' predicts that the value of the Internet economy in [some] of the world's top 20 economies will boom to $4.2 trillion in 2016-nearly double 2010's number," bloggers for Google's European Public Policy blog write. "It contributes an average of 1.9 percent of GDP across 30 countries in the developing world and generated 1.9 million jobs alone in six countries: Hungary, Malaysia, Mexico, Taiwan, Turkey, and Vietnam, according to the new McKinsey & Co. report, also released today in Davos."

  • Advances in cloud computing have been a large factor in military cuts, the New York Times reported. The Times also looks at how its readers cut a hypothetical Pentagon budget using its interactive.

  • Some activists are starting online petitions against working conditions in Apple's overseas factories. Apple CEO Tim Cook sent an email to his employees in response to the New York Times coverage Apple has received as of late. In the email, Cook told employees that "Any suggestion that [the company doesn't] care is patently false," and that Apple will not "stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain."

  • Even though CNN has been suffering in TV ratings, it is still a leader in online reach when compared to FOX News, per PaidContent.

  • Local TV stations are against an FCC proposal that would require them to post their "public inspection files" online. Among other things, TV stations are obliged to disclose the political ads they're airing — but in general, those records are now only available to people who show up in person to ask for them.

  • An Hawaii House Representative is backing down from a proposal that would have required Internet service providers to record every website their customers visit.

  • Evgeny Morozov reviews a new book entitled "I Know What You Are and I Saw What You Did: Social Networks and the Death of Privacy," by Lori Andrews.

  • A WNYC reporter debunks what he calls a common pro-Obama meme on Facebook.

  • The Wisconsin Government Accountability Board will make recall signature scans against Governor Scott Walker available online later today.

  • Newark will have to release documents and e-mails related to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's $500 million pledge to the city's public schools in response to requests by the ACLU and news organizations, a judge ruled.

  • The New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has made real estate offering plans available online this month.

  • A lawyer in the United Kingdom has been charged with professional misconduct for tweeting insults about his case during the trial, the Telegraph reports. His opposing lawyers also found out that all the shares of the company he was defending against charges of allowing illegal downloads were in his name.

  • Scotland is implementing the Offensive Behavior at Football and Threatening Communications Act, which also covers statements made online. The law makes it illegal for Scottish football fans "to attack one another using religious, ethnic, regional or violent historical slurs in songs, chants, Internet postings or even stray remarks at a stadium or pub."

  • A prominent Pakistani-American businessman wrote an opinion article about an unsigned memo in which the Pakistani civilian government supposedly asked the U.S. to help to stop a military coup within Pakistan. Then a viral video emerged featuring him with two lightly-dressed women, wrestling. He says the video has been used to discredit him.

  • The New York Times takes a closer look at how the Internet pushed Chinese officials to be more transparent about pollution data. Hong Kong also stated that it would update its air quality objectives.

  • Two Internet service providers in the Netherlands have declined an anti-piracy group’s request that they block user access to the Pirate Bay. The ISPs, KPN and T-Mobile, may be taken to court over the matter.

With Raphael Majma