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First POST: Rulings

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, February 23 2012

  • Mitt Romney said during last night's debate that he saw a video "on YouTube" in which Rick Santorum praised his vote on Title 10, which funds programs like Planned Parenthood.

  • The Guardian's Citizen Agenda project created an interactive looking at previous debate questions and encouraging the posing of #unasked questions.

  • A super PAC supporting Ron Paul has spent more on web ads so far than any other organization of its kind, according to ClickZ.

  • Newt Gingrich has released an online video that outlines his stance on energy development. The video lasts approximately 30 minutes and the Gingrich campaign plans on airing the video on television prior to Super Tuesday.

  • President Barack Obama's online campaign shop has upset the owner of a New York City Irish bar. The campaign is selling St. Patrick's Day-themed shirts online with the phrase O'bama that depict a four-leaf clover, but the traditional Irish symbol is a three-leaf clover.

  • Donald Trump recorded a robocall for Mitt Romney in Michigan.

  • A commenter on the New York City blog Gothamist was arrested for allegedly making a threat against New York City Police Commisioner Ray Kelly in a comment. The publisher of Gothamist provided the commenter's IP address.

  • Anti-abortion legislation in Virginia that had prompted much anger online has been amended. The law no longer requires women to have a specific and invasive type of pelvic ultrasound before the abortion, known as a transvaginal ultrasound. The changes also include having the doctor ask the woman if she wants to see an image from the ultrasound rather than requiring the doctor to attach a copy of the image to the woman’s medical file, according to the New York Times.

  • As first reported by Die Zeit, software recommended in Germany by authorities for shielding minors from questionable content has also been found to block more than just pornographic sites — it also blocks BoingBoing, Wikileaks and Techdirt.

  • Techdirt has a humorous take on a Wall Street Journal article that suggested Anonymous could take down the power grid.

  • The chief executive of a web design company assessed the web sites of the Republican candidates.

  • The CIA wants to change the way it does business with software vendors by switching from "enterprise licensing agreements," to buying software services on a "metered," pay-as-you-go basis.

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  • ABC's Nightline aired a special feature on the working conditions in Apple's Chinese factories.

  • A U.S. software industry report singled out Brazil, China and India for policies that supposedly threaten the future of cloud computing.

  • The Nebraska state legislature is considering a law that would require Facebook to give access to a deceased person's account to the executor of that person's estate.

  • A New Jersey political consultant admitted faking the source of robocalls in a 2009 legislative election by obtaining the cell phone number of another candidate's chief of staff.

  • A Colorado woman has until Monday to turn over an unencrypted version of her laptop's hard drive.

  • While Apple is planning a large solar array on a new facility in North Carolina, Google is asking the FCC for permission to cover 1,000 acres of land with satellite dishes at a facility in Iowa.

  • California has made an agreement with Amazon, Apple, Google Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, and Research in Motion to ensure that their apps comply with California privacy laws. All mobile apps made by the companies are now required to have a privacy policy in place and must provide information on “how personal data is collected, used, and shared.” The app privacy policy must also be placed prominently in their respective app store listing.

  • The Syrian government arrested 12 online activists over the past week and continue to use technology that blocks texts with key words or phrases in their ongoing efforts against protestors.

  • Pope Benedict XVI will be sending out his papal messages during Lent over Twitter.

  • Four million U.K. homes will have to install filters to prevent 4G mobile signals from interfering with television signals.

  • Residents of the U.K. can serve legal briefs via Facebook, according to a High Court ruling.

  • A study revealed the use of GPS jamming devices in the United Kingdom.

  • Google Street View has come to Russia.

  • #Ruddvenge began trending on Twitter in Australia after Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd announced his resignation in a leadership dispute with Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Precipitating his decision, among other factors, was a video circulating on YouTube showing him repeatedly swearing while trying to record a speech in Chinese when he was previously prime minister.

  • Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council will require that published results of all research it helps pay for be made publicly accessible in institutional repositories within 12 months of publication.

  • The increased use of drones domestically is prompting some worries in Germany.

  • The German taxi industry is under pressure from a new smartphone app that could make taxi dispatch centers redundant for smartphone users because customers can order a taxi without passing through an operator or dispatch center. If this sounds familiar, here's why.

  • A Russian poll worker was removed from her job after she spoke about the pressure to commit voter fraud in an online video.

  • A new Italian transparency initiative that required ministers to list income and assets online provoked so much interest that the website crashed.

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.