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First POST: Hypernetworked

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, March 6 2012


  • In Forbes, Tom Watson writes about how Rush Limbaugh's current uncomfortable situation is thanks in part to a new awakening among networked, tech-savvy, motivated women advancing the causes of women's health and and women's right to control their bodies:

    The campaign was almost instantaneous, coordinated by no individual or organization, and entirely free of cost. Prominent feminist organizers told Forbes that it was social media’s terrible swift sword, led once again by Twitter and Facebook-savvy women, that dealt Limbaugh the worst humiliation of his controversial career, and in many ways, revealed the most potent “non-organized” organization to take the field on the social commons in the age of Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous....“What we’re seeing right now is a continuation of the networked response to the right-wing war on women’s health that began with the Komen reaction a few weeks ago,” said [Allison Fine]. “It is across generations and extra-organizational with individual women using a variety of social media channels to connect with other women and create their own protests.”

    On his show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh did not seem to be too worried about the advertiser boycott, saying: "They decided they don't want you or your business. That's their business decision. This show is about you, not advertisers."

  • Politico's Josh Gerstein takes a critical look at the Obama administration's transparency record. Worth remembering: Recent academic work on technology and "open government" seeks to create some daylight between the concept of transparency — opening a window into the workings and decision-making processes of government — and the principles of "open government" currently being pursued by the White House. The Obama administration has come under fire more than once on transparency this year around its handling of Freedom of Information Act requests, some of which, per the Associated Press, were screened by political appointees of the administration.

  • Eighty-one scholarly journal publishers have expressed their strong opposition to a bill that would require the results of federally supported research be made public within six months of publication. For more on this, read Nancy Scola's recent piece in the American Prospect about the politics of open access to science.

  • Notable

  • According to CSPAN, a speech by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on the First Amendment at Wesleyan University is closed to TV cameras.

  • Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, has requested that the FTC investigate processes used by Apple and Google mobile applications to access private information on smartphones without their owners consent. This request comes after a number of recent scandals where both iPhone and Android apps were found to access or have the capability of accessing photos, contacts, and other information on smartphones. Schumer is a frequent caller of investigations.

  • The founder of the Internet Archive is on a mission to create a physical repository of every book to ensure their continued existence in the event of a digital disaster or new digital formats.

  • The Associated Press is partnering with Google to map Super Tuesday results today. Meanwhile, Twitter has tracked the Road to Super Tuesday in tweets.

  • The Gingrich campaign has asked a judge in Chicago to dismiss a copyright infringement lawsuit over the campaign's use of the song Eye of the Tiger.

  • Former White House aide Reggie Love is the focus of a new Obama campaign web video targeting African-Americans. Also recently featured: singer Janelle Monae.

  • The benefit performance of "8" that was streamed on Youtube raised $ 2 million and was watched by at least 200,000 users.

  • The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has organized a QR code based scavenger hunt game in which "participants will be challenged to locate other participants who have key assets that are represented by the QR codes." According to the agency, the game intends "to simulate how the public can help find essential resources during national emergencies — a very real concern for the military when responding to humanitarian crises or disasters such as the Haiti earthquake of 2010," and seeks "to explore the role the Internet and social networking plays in the timely communication, wide area team-building and urgent mobilization required to solve broad scope, time-critical problems."

  • According to a new Pew Study, many organizations are still struggling to embrace a web-centric state of mind and figuring out how to take advantage of online targeted advertising options.

  • International

  • The French government has passed a law to digitize and sell French books from before 2001 that are no longer for sale in print or online.

  • Hackers affiliated with Anonymous reportedly hacked into the website of the Hungarian Constitutional Court and rewrote the country's recently oft-criticized new constitution, to state among other things that IT workers can retire at 32 and get pensions equal to 150 percent of their salaries, and are exempted from paying tax. Another new section said that Anonymous and other grass-roots IT groups should fight internal or external threats against the country.

  • As was first reported by many German news sources, the German government is proposing a licensing scheme for the use of excerpts from journalistic articles on commercial sites, such as Google. The plan was part of the coalition agreement drafted three years ago. Many German commentators are criticizing the proposal for being vague and unclear with regard to how digital innovators would profit.

  • At the opening of the CeBIT technology show in Hanover, Germany, Eric Schmidt said he believed that the Internet would eventually break down censorship. Microsoft plans to exhibit its vision of a digital city at the show.

  • A Facebook page that opposes Scottish independence from the U.K. so far has over 6,000 supporters. The Scottish National Party — leaning in part on new, Internet-centric tech tools for organizing — won parliamentary elections last year with Scottish independence at the heart of its platform.

  • An Istanbul-based start-up is working on launching a Muslim social network.

  • Syrian bloggers and online activists analyzed purported footage of Syrian rebels using foreign currency and noted that supposed Israeli bank notes were Filipino currency, while some Israeli coins and other bills had been out of circulation for many years.

With Raphael Majma

News Briefs

RSS Feed 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.


friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.


The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.


wednesday >

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media and India's General Election

The biggest democratic election in the world to date is taking place in India from April 7 to May 14, and, for the first time in India, the results might hinge on who runs a better social media campaign. The Mumbai research firm Iris Knowledge Foundation has said that Facebook will “wield a tremendous influence” but Indian politicians are not limiting their attentions to India's most popular social media platform. In addition to virtual campaigning are initiatives to inform, educate and encourage Indians to participate in their democracy.


EU Court Rejects Data Retention Law, But Data Retention Won't End Overnight

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg struck down a data retention law Tuesday that required telecoms to keep customers' communications data for up to two years, declaring it violated privacy rights. However, experts warn that the ruling will have no automatic effect on relevant laws in member states, which could lead to “messy consequences.”