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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 thursday >

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.