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First POST: 'Dogs Don't Go There'

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 24 2012

  • The single largest expense of the Obama campaign in Janaury was Internet ads, as the New York Times reported. "Mr. Obama spent $4.3 million on Web ads in January, about as much as some of the Republican candidates raised."

  • A Buzzfeed writer has now written a short book based off the story of Mitt Romney and his dog Seamus, titled "Hey Mitt! Dogs don't go there!" In the book, "Mitt's dog Seamus walks you through the many things you shouldn't do as a dog owner," such as giving the dog aspirin or heating him up with a microwave.

  • Actor Jason Alexander responded to Mitt Romney’s use of a Seinfeld reference during Wednesday’s debate that he attributed to the character George Costanza. Alexander tweeted, “Thrilled Gov. Romney enjoys my old character. I enjoyed the character he used 2 b 2. If he’d embrace that again, he’d b a great candidate.” The reference, which Romney wrongly attributes to the Costanza character, was also made in December.

  • Rick Santorum was the most searched-for candidate on Google during the recent Republican candidate debate, but terms deemed harmful to the candidate were also top trends.

  • The Michigan Democratic Party is encouraging its supporters in an email to vote in the state's Republican primary. The email links to a YouTube video in which Republican state senators said in a legislative session that they would welcome Democratic voters. The Washington Post notes that the Democrats' effort is in part a move by liberal blogs like Daily Kos, under the motto "Operation Hilarity."

  • Rep. Allen West took to Facebook to address his anger over high gas prices and questioned how much it cost President Barack Obama to “fill his gas tank?”

  • The United States government formally charged Army private Bradley Manning in the Wikileaks case yesterday. No date has been set for the start of the trial.

  • In a New York Times op-ed, Bill Gates comes out against allowing the publication of individual teacher ratings in New York following a court decision last week that allowed the release of that data:

    Many districts and states are trying to move toward better personnel systems for evaluation and improvement. Unfortunately, some education advocates in New York, Los Angeles and other cities are claiming that a good personnel system can be based on ranking teachers according to their "value-added rating" - a measurement of their impact on students' test scores - and publicizing the names and rankings online and in the media. But shaming poorly performing teachers doesn't fix the problem because it doesn't give them specific feedback...At Microsoft, we created a rigorous personnel system, but we would never have thought about using employee evaluations to embarrass people, much less publish them in a newspaper.

    The New York City Department of Education is expected to release the ratings today.

  • .

  • Head of the MPAA Chris Dodd told the Atlanta Press Club that "Hollywood is pro-technology and pro-Internet." But he also emphasized that online piracy is a serious problem. He said that ""nearly one-quarter of all global Internet traffic is copyright theft. And at the heart of the problem is the proliferation of parasitic foreign rogue sites whose sole purpose is to facilitate, and profit from, the theft of international property." He continued to state that "wee are not talking about overzealous film buffs or political activists making a statement about freedom of information. We are talking about criminals."

  • The White House yesterday announced a set of online privacy guidelines that it said would help provide consumers control over how companies use their private data. While the White House unveiled its proposed Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, Internet companies and online advertising networks in the Digital Advertising Alliance came to the White House to commit to using Do Not Track technology.

  • In a letter to Google CEO Larry Page, 36 State attorneys general express strong concerns about Google's new privacy policy and request a meeting with Page and an answer to their letter by February 29. The EFF has been instructing users how to remove their Google search history before the start of the new policy in March, a message that many Internet users have been spreading on Twitter and Facebook.

  • A 14 year old Libyan boy has founded an online news site called the Brega News Agency:

    In May, Malik founded the Brega News Agency as a platform for the articles he wrote during the 2011 revolution that ousted Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi from power. He now leads a team of 10 volunteer reporters covering Libyan news, publishing articles and photographs on the BNA Facebook page. Malik is moving into television as well, posting video interviews on his Brega97 YouTube channel, and on a new television station called the Benghazi Broadcasting Network ... "My goal is to be an agency like Reuters or A.P., but at the moment we just have the Facebook page," he said. "We don't have any money. Hopefully we'll soon have a Web site."

  • Google announced that it plans to offer glasses that project information, entertainment and eventually advertisements on to its lenses. The product is like Google Goggles, the augmented reality software for your Android phone, only with actual goggles.

  • FCC chairman Julius Genachowski called on Internet service providers to adopt new security measures that would notify customers when their computers are compromised.

  • The New York Times reports that a manual disclosed as part of a Freedom of Information request indicates that Homeland Security officials were instructed to produce reports on policy debates related to the agency that drew content monitored from social media. Some of the keywords that officials were encouraged to search for were "China, cops, hacking, illegal immigrants, Iran, Iraq, marijuana, organized crime, police, pork and radicals. "

  • Verizon's rival cell phone companies are asking the FCC to block the company's deals to buy wireless airwaves from cable operators, saying the move hurts competition.

  • The provosts of 11 research universities express their commitment to open access in a letter and their opposition to the Research Works Act.

  • The creators of a website that allowed students to search for cheaper textbooks have open-sourced their code to allow any student to "scrape" data on textbooks and prices from their college bookstores and compare them to other sources such as Amazon or eBay.

  • The City of New York recently launched a new Facebook page and a Tumblr page.

  • An Ohio judge has ordered an ex-husband to post an apology on Facebook to his ex-wife every day for thirty days for breaking a protective order.

  • The Georgia Senate has passed a bill requiring students to take online courses as a precursor to graduating high school. Meanwhile, new legislation in Mississippi will expressly prohibit the use of state funds to pay for “virtual public charter schools.”

  • A New York Times reporter notes that as the situation in Syria becomes ever more dangerous for journalists,raw, amateur video emerging from the country online is becoming more crucial to convey the situation on the ground:

    “Bashar al-Assad shut off the Internet and cut us off from the world,” said Abu Jaffar, a Homs activist, who helped dig out bodies from the apartment building, and then videotaped the effort and posted the results. “So he has made every Syrian into a journalist.” Mr. Jaffar and several of his fellow activists were interviewed by means of Skype, over a computer they powered with a car battery, using a portable Inmarsat satellite transmitter set up to provide a WiFi hotspot in the corner of the city where they were hiding. Activists said they were raising money overseas to pay for the transmitters and the satellite time. The apartment building where [London Times Reporter] Ms. Colvin died was targeted, Mr. Jaffar and other activists asserted, because it housed the activists’ media center. The satellite transmitters on the roof had probably been spotted by Syrian reconnaissance aircraft, they said.The dead were found in and around that center, and the activists were uploading videos of every body and disseminating details about the victims.

  • In Iran, a new national Internet that will have greater monitoring capabilities will reportedly launch later this spring.

  • Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin set the Internet abuzz when it came to light that Putin has written two blog posts for the British version of the Huffington Post. His posts, entitled “Russia: The Ethnicity Issue” and “Being Strong: National Security Guarantees for the Russian People,” were published in January and on Tuesday, respectively.

  • Germany is considering a two-strikes online piracy law.

With Raphael Majma

News Briefs

RSS Feed 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.


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.