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First POST: Wikileaked

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, February 27 2012

  • Wikileaks says it will begin publishing 5.5 million e-mails hacked from the US-based intelligence gathering firm Stratfor by Anonymous in December. The group alleges that Stratfor engaged in a wide-ranging pattern of corruption while simultaneously working in the service of the federal government, paying informants for intelligence and doing deals with Western news agencies:

    Like WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables, much of the significance of the emails will be revealed over the coming weeks, as our coalition and the public search through them and discover connections. Readers will find that whereas large numbers of Stratfor’s subscribers and clients work in the US military and intelligence agencies, Stratfor gave a complimentary membership to the controversial Pakistan general Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, who, according to US diplomatic cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in 2006. Readers will discover Stratfor’s internal email classification system that codes correspondence according to categories such as ’alpha’, ’tactical’ and ’secure’. The correspondence also contains code names for people of particular interest such as ’Hizzies’ (members of Hezbollah), or ’Adogg’ (Mahmoud Ahmedinejad).

  • The organization Creative America was regularly tweeting "Stop Piracy" messages during the Academy Awards such as "It took 241 hard-working people to make #MidnightInParis. #Oscars #StopPiracy #NotIncludingHemingway" and "It took 278 incredible people to make #TheArtist. These jobs are threatened because of piracy. #StopPiracy #Oscars". Meanwhile, the New York Times reported that the film industry is increasingly earning revenue from online sources.

  • A Facebook/Politico poll found that an overwhelming number of voters in Michigan were unaffected by Mitt Romney’s home ties to the state.

  • While an image of Mitt Romney giving a speech Friday at a Detroit stadium looked good on television, journalists and others online were quick to notice that other photos showed that the stadium was mostly empty. ThinkProgress was quick to compare that photo to an Obama speech to a full stadium. Or, as the Daily Show's Twitter feed put it, "Ghosts 4 Romney" campaign event a huge success!"

  • The Obama campaign has launched a Spanish-language website, CNN reported. It appears as if the only other candidate with an official Spanish web presence is Newt Gingrich.

  • Thousands demonstrated in renewed protests against ACTA in Europe, although turnout seemed somewhat less than was seen at demonstrations that took place earlier this month. One of the activists' sites encouraged participants to list their estimates of the turnout.

  • An MSNBC reporter suggests that Franz Kafka has taken up residence in the U.S. Office of Government Ethics as he recounts an effort to find out how much New Gingrich earned giving speeches last year:

    NBC News Deputy Political Director Domenico Montanaro looked at Gingrich's amended financial disclosure, made available on Tuesday, and found on Page 2 references to "Annex A," where the candidate was supposedly to list his paid speeches. But Annex A was nowhere to be found. Montanaro e-mailed the Office of Government Ethics to ask for help. Montanaro ... was told he had to fill out "Form 201" with the Office of Government Ethics and directed to a page on agency’s website. But the form was in .pdf format and, while it could be filled out electronically, the changes could not be saved. Instead, Montanaro found, he had to print it out. But the completed form also could not be sent via fax back to the agency. It had to be electronically scanned and emailed to a special inbox at the Office of Government Ethics. Upon receipt of the email, the agency promised to mail -- as in, dead-tree mail -- the elusive Annex A.

  • The Reddit community has posted a first draft of their “Free Internet Act,” a completely community-created piece of legislation aimed at being a sort of "anti-SOPA."

  • The Romney campaign released a web video attacking Rick Santorum's support of Arlen Specter.

  • Mashable notes that YouTube is showcasing four campaign videos as "political case studies" examples.

  • The artist of the famous Obama HOPE poster pleaded guilty to criminal contempt Friday after he admitted that had fabricated and destroyed information in his lawsuit against the Associated Press.

  • New York Times columnist Charles Blow apologized for making fun of Mitt Romney's faith on Twitter during last week's debate.

  • MSNBC suggests that Rick Santorum is leading the other candidates in social media buzz.

  • Alaska released new e-mails from Sarah Palin's administration that indicate her growing frustration with her position prior to her resignation.

  • David Carr notes the use of the Espionage Act by the White House to pursue federal whistleblowers within the administration, including a former employee of the National Security Agency who told the Baltimore Sun that instead of spending millions of dollars on a software program bought from the private sector intended to monitor digital data, an internally developed program that cost significantly less would be more effective and not violate privacy.

  • A married Florida state lawmaker, a Democrat, has admitted sending harassing texts under a hidden identity to a married federal prosecutor.

  • Google named a former Republican member of the House as the new head of its Washington lobbying and policy office. The Washington Post noted that the Obama Administration's proposals for online privacy regulations are seen as a victory for Google, and its increased lobbying efforts. Meanwhile, Politico reported that other lobbying groups had ended their relationship with Facebook due to conflicts of interest with content providers.

  • A federal judge dismissed the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s lawsuit against FTC over Google’s new privacy policy.

  • Facebook denied a report in London's Sunday Times that it was inappropriately accessing text messages.

  • According to a new Pew survey, women's online social media profiles are more likely to be private. In addition, the college-educated reported the most difficulty with online privacy settings.

  • .

  • The Commerce Department has negotiated a new computer contract with Intelligent Decisions Inc. which it says will reduce cost for desktops and laptops by 40 percent.

  • The editor of FishbowlDC had to respond to critical comments about a post that suggested female campaign and White House reporters are using "provocative, sometimes sexy photographs of themselves for their Twitter accounts."

  • The Washington Post's Eric Wemple profiled the increasing criticism Politifact is receiving from MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. At the same, Politifact-style websites are emerging in France. Politifact also revisited its controversial treatment of a statement by Marco Rubio that "a majority of Americans are conservative." "Bolstered by more reporting," Politifact's editors now note, "we have decided to change this ruling to Half True."

  • A study commissioned by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark found that 22 percent of respondents said newspapers were credible for accurately reporting politics and elections news, versus six percent for blogs and social media.

  • Aol CEO Tim Armstrong says traffic to the Huffington Post is up 46 percent.

  • A commentator in Ad Age says that campaigns are not using video as effectively as they could be:

    Mitt Romney's campaign deserves credit for circulating a YouTube video that taught voters how to caucus for Romney in Iowa, but that video could have had a much larger impact. It was viewed more than 3,000 times since going online on December 9, but it could have reached far more voters had it been targeted to locations in Iowa, especially to prospective voters demonstrating pro-Romney behaviors online.

  • There were around 1,600 mainly critical Facebook comments on a post by New York Assembly member Amy Paulin about a bill that would give animal shelters the right to immediately kill animals that suffer from "psychological pain." She has since said she is willing to adjust the bill.

  • Twitter co-founder Biz Stone says it is "unhealthy" for users to spend too much time on the site.

  • Kickstarter, the popular crowdsourced fundraising platform, is expected to provide more funding for artistic endeavors than the National Endowment for the Arts in 2012.

  • Susan Crawford details the role GPS companies played in preventing the company LightSquared from being able to transmit terrestrial transmissions. LightSquared seeks to build a new, open wireless network.

  • A new satellite has launched that will provide cellphone-like 3G communications to the U.S. military and partner countries.

  • Facebook now allows targeted advertising based on both broad and narrow interests at the same time.

  • New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing a new online version of the traditional Green Book directory of city government officials.

  • The New York City mayoral campaign has started online with a website for William C. Thompson Jr., the former city comptroller, who ran unsuccessfully against Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2009.

  • As the uproar over NYPD monitoring of Muslim students continued, many are still very concerned.

    Anum Ahmed, an undergraduate student at New York University, said at a roundtable discussion Friday that she feels nervous now when doing simple things, like online research for her Arabic class. "Even looking up words on Google Translate," she said. "I'm thinking, like, the NYPD is surveilling what I'm searching on the Internet."

  • Performance rankings of around 18,000 New York City public school teachers were released Friday.

  • The New York Times reported on how Facebook might be able to pick up on signs of depression, particularly among university students.

  • The government of Ontario is proposing that students take three out of five university courses online each semester. Meanwhile, lecturers at the University of Edinburgh have created an online manifesto in favor of teaching online.

  • Matt Bai detailed in the New York Time magazine how former U.N. weapons inspector and critic of U.S. foreign policy Scott Ritter was caught in online stings seeking sexual contact with underage girls.

  • Google, Microsoft, and Netflix have authored a web standard proposal that could enable the playback of copy-protected media content within a web browser.

  • An AT&T customer won an $850 award in small claims court in for the company's data throttling on his iPhone.

  • United Airlines says it will change a proposed policy under which military families would have had to pay large fees for transporting pets, particularly from Japan, after uproar on the company's Facebook page.

  • The New York Times investigated why it is so difficult to make electronic payments to other individuals.

  • MSNBC reported on counterfeiting scams that involve fake products being advertised on high-profile websites.

  • Google is partnering with the University of Queensland and a multinational insurance firm called the Catlin Group to provide an online photographic and video survey of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

  • The New York Times reports on how airlines are offering tools for travelers to pick their seatmates via social media.

  • Mashable highlights 10 non-profits using Pinterest including Unicef and Amnesty International.

  • Viviane Reding, vice president of the European Commission, contributed commentary to CNN about Europe's vision for online privacy.

  • A photo of September 11, 2001 hijacker Mohamed Atta reportedly appeared in an insurance advertisement on Facebook.

  • Just as the German Supreme Court ruled that a law allowing the storage and sharing of telecommunication data by security services is unconstitutional, a news report suggested that the German secret service had accessed 37 million emails and data connections in 2010 and had been searching for keywords such as "bomb,” “nuclear” and “rocket.”

  • A bridge connecting Slovakia and Austria could be renamed for Chuck Norris following a Facebook poll organized by the Bratislava regional assembly.

  • Victims of phone hacking in the United Kingdom claim that Rupert Murdoch's News International had established an "e-mail deletion policy" with the aim to "eliminate in a consistent manner" emails "that could be unhelpful in the context of future litigation."

  • A Swedish start-up called Bambuser has played an unexpectedly critical role in broadcasting video from Syria, as it allows users to broadcast live videos from their mobile phones to the Internet:

    Since the violence escalated in Syria in recent months, Bambuser has noticed a massive uptick in the number of videos streamed via the site. Currently there are more than 1,000 Syria-related videos posted daily on Bambuser, estimates Adler. What's more, video footage provided by Bambuser is also used by major news outlets like the Associated Press, Press, Reuters, CNN and Al Jazeera reaching a global audience in the millions.

  • Der Spiegel also reported on efforts by the Syrian opposition operating from Turkey.

    The Internet, which they can access from two laptops equipped with USB modem sticks, is their lifeline to the outside world. An FSA officer recently found shocking new pictures from Homs showing severed male heads. The men rely on Skype to stay connected to supporters and other Syrian comrades. "Skype is the most important program of the revolution," says one fighter, who explains that this is because it is harder to monitor than Facebook.

  • The New York Times has a closer look at how much Foxconn workers actually make.

  • Google plans to launch Streetview in Botswana.

  • South African officials took to social media to provide the public reports of Nelson Mendela’s health after Mandela was recently admitted to the hospital.

  • Villagers in Panhe, China, claim that the government forced them to post online messages stating protests over local corruption earlier this month were resolved peaceably.

  • A site called Tea Leaf Nation seeks to give a sense of the Chinese public consciousness through an analysis of Chinese social media sites.

  • Palestinians clashed with Israeli police at the Al Aksa Mosque after there were calls on right-wing Israeli websites for Jews to push Muslims from the site.

With Raphael Majma

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