Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Backtracking

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 10 2012

Source: YouTube
  • Nancy Pelosi released a web ad supposedly attacking Stephen Colbert that is aimed at getting support for the DISCLOSE act, which was reintroduced into the House yesterday to counter secret, unlimited campaign donations. In the pseudo-attack ad, complete with unsettling, black-and-white images of Colbert, Pelosi says, "Stephen Colbert used to be my friend ... But since the day he started his super PAC, taking secret money from special interests, he's been out of control, even using his super PAC to attack my friend Newt Gingrich ... I'm Nancy Pelosi, and I support this ad because Americans deserve a better tomorrow, today." The ad has received close to 13,600 views. It links to the Facebook page, which has over 2,750 likes.

  • Mark Zuckerberg inadvertently appeared to "like" Mitt Romney because of a Facebook design flaw.

  • The Romney campaign is inviting donors to give money in order to "join Mitt on the campaign trail."

  • Zach Seward from the Wall Street Journal collected together the 29 songs that the Obama campaign has announced as its official campaign soundtrack. Yesterday morning, the songs — enclosed in a Spotify playlist — began making the rounds.

  • The official Obama Tumblr created a gif of the president's reaction to a science fair experiment at the White House that had been going viral, with the comment "Yeah, we had to."

  • The FBI file on Steve Jobs was released yesterday.

  • Apple Stores, such as the new one in New York City's Grand Central Station, received 250,000 signatures from activists that had been collected online against working conditions at the company's factories in Asia.

  • Foxconn, the main company that recently came under fire for poor working conditions in factories that supplied Apple with products, has been hacked by a group called Swagg Security. The leaks included personal emails from CEO Terry Gou and employee email accounts and passwords.

  • Bradley Manning’s arraignment has been scheduled for February 23rd.

  • Republican Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra has taken down a very-offensive-to-many Super Bowl ad and replaced it with an ad called “Spend”. A similarly incendiary microsite supporting the ad has been taken down; accessing the URL now redirects visitors to Hoekstra’s campaign site.

  • A Muslim convert from Brooklyn has pleaded guilty to creating a website that he used to post online threats against the creators of South Park.

  • The Electronic Privacy Information Center has filed suit against the FTC over Google’s new privacy policy. EPIC argues that a prior agreement between Google and the FTC allows the FTC to prevent their proposed privacy update.

  • David Carr suggests that even though the Occupy movement may have lost his tangible presence in many cities, its ideas are gaining currency.

  • The CEO of J.C. Penney went on CBS News yesterday morning to once again speak out in favor of Ellen DeGeneres as a spokeswoman for the company. The talk show host herself had directly addressed a campaign against her on her show. A group called One Million Moms seeks to have J.C. Penney end its relationship with her because she is lesbian. On her show, she said, "For those of you who are just tuning in for the first time, it's true. I'm gay. I hope you were sitting down," and thanked J.C. Penny for standing by her.

  • The New York Times reported on how the debate over bills to regulate security of privately owned critical infrastructure that is often controlled by Internet-connected systems has been shaped by the controversy over SOPA and PIPA.

  • Representative Sue Myrick (R-N.C.) announced on Facebook and YouTube that she would not be seeking another term.

  • A man has created an online petition at demanding the return of paper savings bonds. So far only 128 people have signed.

  • BP has won the exclusion of several potentially damaging e-mails from an upcoming trial related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

  • Reporters in Pasadena can no longer hear police calls after the department switched to an encrypted radio signal.

  • Poynter explored the differences between the news websites users said they turned to for political news in a Pew study compared to websites users actually visit according to comScore. is in the first group and HuffPost Politics is in the second.

  • The social network Path apologized for automatically uploading contacts from users' phone address books.

  • A new Google program pays users who allow their usage of Chrome and the websites they visit to be tracked and monitored for research purposes.

  • In a Washington Post op-ed, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Wikimedia Board of Trustee Kat Walsh defend their efforts to oppose recent anti-piracy legislation:

    We are not interested in becoming full-time advocates; protests like the Wikipedia blackout are a last resort. Our core mission is to make knowledge freely available, and making the Web site inaccessible interrupts what we exist to do. The one-day blackout, though, was just a speed bump. Breaking the legal infrastructure that makes it possible to operate Wikipedia, and sites like ours, would be a much greater disruption.Two weeks ago we recognized a threat to that infrastructure and did something we’ve never done before: We acknowledged that our existence is itself political, and we spoke up to protect it. It turned out to be the largest Internet protest ever

  • At Techdirt, Mike Masnick criticizes at length a New York Times op-ed by the head of the RIAA.

  • After six days, the Boston Police have restored their primary website after it was hacked by individuals upset with the department's treatment of local occupiers.

  • The Columbia Journalism School's New York World speaks with the authors of a new book that is highly critical of the NYPD's Comstat system.

  • There's already Pet Owners for Obama, but could Bo be an election winner too? Animal Planet is launching a year-long "Decision 2012" campaign to have Americans elect their favorite pet, beginning on President's Day — dogs, cats or independents:

    Beginning February 20, Animal Planet wants you to visit and nominate your pets to become breed representatives for their prospective parties in the species primaries. As the election gets underway, these representatives will have their qualifications questioned in the categories of cuteness, intelligence, agility, animal welfare and more. In this campaign, the videos and photos users upload to the site will serve as the propaganda to persuade Americans where to cast their votes in the search for the premiere pet.

  • The Minnesota Supreme Court is hearing arguments in a case in which a student at the University of Minnesota was disciplined for Facebook comments that had upset donors.

  • A Romanian man has been indicted for hacking into NASA computers.

  • Eardex, a Cologne start-up, seeks to create a database of the cost of living worldwide.

  • Fast Company takes a look at a new Interpol cybercrime innovation center scheduled to open in Singapore in 2014.

  • The software workarounds required for unfiltered use of internet access in Iran have recently been failing, showing that the Iranian government has increased the effectiveness of its control over the Internet.

  • Islamists are calling for the execution of a Saudi blogger who tweeted about the Prophet Muhammad.

  • Chinese Internet users have been using the micro-blog Weibo to speak out against their government’s decision to veto the recent UN resolution denouncing the Syrian government.

  • Malta is considering a nationwide wifi-network.

  • A British blogger who had anonymously written about crime issues plans to sue the Times of London for hacking into his e-mail to expose his identity. At Britain's Leveson media inquiry, the man behind the political blog Guido Fawkes said he had been using foreign web hosts, including the United States, to avoid legal action against news and documents he published, such as a Merrill Lynch memo about a bank bailout.

  • Regional cybercrime offices have been launched across the United Kingdom.

  • The Brazilian government has been demanding that web hosting firms there shut down domain names that it deems inappropriate for references to pornography, according to Techdirt.

  • The German Family Minister called for schools to educate on the risks of social networks beginning in fifth grade.

With Raphael Majma

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

Civic Hackers Call on de Blasio to Fill Technology Vacancies

New York City technology advocates on Wednesday called on the de Blasio administration to fill vacancies in top technology policy positions, expressing some frustration at the lack of a leadership team to implement a cohesive technology strategy for the city. GO

China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.


wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

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.