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First POST: Trump

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 3 2012

Donald Trump. Photo: Gage Skidmore / Flickr
  • Donald Trump announced his endorsement of Mitt Romney yesterday, and the Democratic Party put out a video saying that partnership made sense since they "both like firing people." At first there was some confusion as to whether Trump would be endorsing Newt Gingrich or Romney, evident in the fact that Fox News didn't remove "Gingrich" from the URL of its story on the Romney endorsement.

  • The New York Times, Reuters, paidContent, Marketingland and others look at the details that Facebook reveals in its IPO documents. Reuters notes that among its risks, the company sees the restriction of access by foreign governments such as China and Iran and regulatory uncertainty.

  • Since 2008, Joe DeSantis, Communications Director for Newt Gingrich, has made 23 edits to Callista Gingrich's Wikipedia page. Changes varied, but one change noted by Buzzfeed's Andrew Kaczynski, who tirelessly dregs the Internet, had DeSantis altering a line describing her as Gingrich's "third wife" to note her instead as, simply, his "wife."

  • The rapper K'naan is upset that Mitt Romney used his song Wavin' Flag during his Florida victory speech without his permission, and might pursue legal action.

  • Google takes a look at how nationwide search interest for the Republican candidates has developed, and also compared Florida exit poll results with search data.

  • A New York Times editorial calls for cameras in the Supreme Court.

  • A federal appeals court refused yesterday to unseal recordings from California's trial over the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.

  • The Library of Congress's THOMAS interface now provides links to committee hearing videos.

  • Even though President Barack Obama has preferred interviews to impromptu question-and-answer sessions while also interacting with voters online, the White House said he is not ignoring the traditional press corps, as the New York Times reported:

    Daniel Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, responded in an e-mail, "The idea that interacting with the public through social media is somehow going around the White House press corps is a prehistoric notion." "The media has become so diffuse that communicating ones' message requires a lot more work than it used to," he wrote. "You have to be willing to go where the viewers are, because they now have so much choice in where they get their information."

  • The White House says it can't respond to the We The People petition asking the White House to investigate the Motion Picture Association of America's Chris Dodd — after he was quoted as saying of lawmakers who did not support the Stop Online Piracy Act, "Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk" — because it "requests a specific law enforcement action."

  • Creative America, the MPAA-backed group which has supported SOPA and PIPA, is looking to pay people to collect sign-ups for its list, Techdirt reports.

  • According to FEC filing reports, Google spent roughly $390,000 on SOPA lobbying. Techcrunch reports that it's unclear from the documents whether Google was lobbying for or against the bill.


  • One pro-Ron Paul Super PAC blamed a credit card company for missing a recent deadline for filing disclosure reports with the Federal Election Commission.

  • Occupy videographer Tim Poole says he feels unwelcome among some other members of the Occupy movement. Meanwhile, the People's Think Tank is still ongoing, and NYU plans to put recordings of the conversations online.

  • A federal advisory board says the release of data about a new bird flu strain is too dangerous.

  • In a larger seizure of sites illegally operating websites ahead of the Super Bowl, Immigration and Customs Enforcement shuttered 16 domains accused of illegally streaming copyrighted sports broadcasts live, or linking to sites that did the same.

  • A New York City Council member is proposing a bill that would allow residents to make campaign contributions via text message in citywide races.

  • The New York City MTA picked a multi-purpose subway navigation app for first prize in an app contest.

  • The Guardian interviewed David Karp, the founder of Tumblr.

  • An American Idol producer tweeted that he would love for the President to sing a duet with Al Green on the show.

  • A British Parliament report said the government should not scare people about cybersecurity, but still warn them how they should protect themselves.

  • Scotland Yard accidentally sent 1,000 crime victims e-mails that included the other victims' e-mail addresses.

  • A French court has fined Google $660,000 because it claims that Google Maps is abusing its dominant position by being free.

  • Hong Kong is considering a copyright crackdown.

  • Many Syrians who are in opposition to President Bashar Assad are using the web to express their protests, as the AP reports:

    The Internet provides a layer of anonymity, which is vital when retribution is a real danger, but the creativity has also spilled into the streets in the banners, signs and songs of the protesters. "Top Goon: Diaries of a Little Dictator" is one of several new online shows. It was created by 10 young professional artists inside Syria. It uses finger puppets that impersonate Bashar Assad -- nicknamed Beeshu in the series -- and his inner circle.

With Raphael Majma

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.