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First POST: Ides

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, March 15 2012

The full Kony 2012 network (from

    Must Reads

  • SocialFlow's Gilad Lotan deconstructs the Invisible Children network online and shows how the Kony 2012 video successfully spread in part because, Lotan writes, "a pre-existing networked infrastructure was already set in place, triggered at the start of the campaign. Invisible Children has already been building an on-the-ground network of young supporters across the United States, activating them all at the same time, as the campaign began..." He adds, "This movement did not emerge from the big cities, but rather small-medium sized cities across the Unites States. It is heavily supported by Christian youth, many of whom post Biblical psalms as their profile bios." Lotan also points out that the celebrities who were targeted by the Kony campaign played a big role in spreading the video, and thus have a heavy responsibility to evaluate causes that they help.

  • A screening of the Kony video in Uganda provoked anger, disappointment and scorn among people who had been affected by the warlord's crimes. In the U.S., a group called MarylandJuice has started a campaign to save a local college student from deportation, using a set of tactics that are explicitly copied from the Kony 2012 manual. And Communicopia CEO Jason Mogus explains: “Why your nonprofit won’t make a Kony 2012.

  • Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith's resignation letter continued to spark waves all over the web yesterday, with a liveblog from the New York Times. Reactions also included a real response to Goldman Sachs employees from executives Lloyd Blankfein and Gary Cohn, a fake response from Andy Borowitz, and Why I Am Leaving The Empire by Darth Vader.

  • Nieman Journalism Lab spoke with U.S. CIO Steven VanRoekel.

    The centerpiece of the government's tech transparency push has been, the growing repository of federal datasets from departments within the executive branch. While VanRoekel is proud of the site, he said it needs to transform into a true open data platform, not just a spout people use to access government information. "We have to get out of the data business and into the platform business," he said. What VanRoekel wants is for the government to be more than just a dumb pipe. Instead he envisions a system where the government provides a service for citizens and developers to experience data, either through widgets and apps, or through what they create on their own...VanRoekel sees it as moving away from a kind of distributed presentation of data to a more centralized distribution. That distinction is important, he said, because the sheer volume of datasets across various agencies can be daunting. "Not only can't you see the needle in the haystack - you don't see the haystack," he said.

  • After SOPA, content industry executives say they need to "engage" more with the public to convey their point of view. But their idea of engagement still seems pretty one-sided.

    The RIAA's [Cary] Sherman hopes further copyright discussions will be more "rational" than the debate over SOPA and PIPA. "The digital tsunami we encountered with SOPA and PIPA-we're not going to get the same kind of engagement when we talk about statutory damages or open works," he said. "We'll have the opportunity for a more rational discussion. At the same time, I think we actually need to engage. We have criticized the other side for just saying no. We have an enormous piracy problem, and any solution we propose, they just say no. We [also] need to engage and not just say no."..."Education is key," [MPAA’s Fritz] Attaway said. ..."The intellectual base of the Copyleft is pretty flimsy, and we need to do a better job of pointing that out to the public. We need to do it from a grassroots base of the millions of people whose livelihoods depend on copyright protection. [Paying $20 for a movie] doesn't mean you have the right to make all the copies you want and share them with all of your friends."

    Meanwhile, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s campaign to crowdfund a billboard in SOPA proponent Lamar Smith’s district reading “Don’t Mess With the Internet,” has just reached its $15,000 funding goal. PDM editorial director Micah Sifry will be talking to Demand Progress's David Segal and Don't Censor the Internet's Patrick Ruffini today at 1pm ET about where the left-right coalition against SOPA/PIPA may go next. Sign up to join the call here.

  • The Columbia Journalism Review has launched the weekly Kickstarter Chronicles to highlight journalistic endeavors using Kickstarter for funding. This week's edition includes the hyperlocal news website BushwickBK in Brooklyn, a video project entitled The Election Games: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and science and technology publishing platform Matter. More and more students are also using Kickstarter for projects.

  • Notable

  • The Associated Press took Sunshine Week literally in an article noting that Justice Department is urging the Senate to approve a proposal in cybersecurity legislation that would keep certain sensitive information off-limits under the Freedom of Information Act. Earlier in the article it noted the following:

    In the middle of Sunshine Week, when news organizations and advocacy groups promote government transparency, the Obama administration urged Congress on Tuesday to keep secret a whole new category of information even under the Freedom of Information Act. A few miles away, the White House organized a conference call with two senior administration officials to preview an announcement by President Barack Obama about an important China trade issue but told reporters that no one could be quoted by name. The officials were U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and the deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, Michael Froman.

  • The FTC has asked Apple to provide information as part of its investigation into whether Google is a monopoly.

  • Nieman Journalism Lab highlighted the public beta launch of Virginia Decoded, a user-friendly presentation the state's legal code.

  • The deputy communications director for Rep. Keith Ellison (D - Minn.), Jeremy Slevin, spoke with All Facebook about how the congressman uses Facebook Timeline. “The number one goal,” he says, “was to be an early adopter.”

  • Facebook has hired the firm Steptoe & Johnson for lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C. Three other firms that had represented Facebook but also lobby on behalf of Hollywood, Glover Park Group, TeleMedia Policy Corp. and Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock, recently dropped their relationship with the social network.

  • Under the new health insurance markets or exchanges proposed by the Obama administration, "consumers must be able to apply online for coverage in their state exchanges. To reduce paperwork, exchanges will rely on existing computer databases to verify basic personal information and eligibility. However, some key details, such as whether the consumer is a legal resident of the U.S., may have to be verified by the government."

  • The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center has launched a new website called NEMESIS to help managers of marine areas and the public track invasive coastal species.

  • Youtube has announced that all the members of its nonprofit program can livestream from their channels.

  • The Game Change movie focused on Sarah Palin attracted a record audience to HBO. On the day of the film she had tweeted "To get the true story, please watch the premiere of "The Undefeated" tonight on the REELZ channel at 8pm ET."

  • Lawyers for the Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel an advocacy group for the victims of pedophile priests to disclose more than two decades of e-mail that could include correspondence and with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists. The group is not a plaintiff or a defendant in the cases, but a judge in Kansas City ruled that the group must comply because it "almost certainly" had information relevant to the case.

  • The mother of a murder victim and a Kentucky legislator are advocating for a law that would enable victims of domestic get a GPS bracelet that alerts them when their past attacker is within a certain distance from them.

  • International Headlines

  • As Techdirt and other blogs pointed out, the role of social networks was a topic of discussion by the European Commission in the context of the debate over ACTA. Karel De Gucht, European Trade Commissioner, noted that "in the end the [SOPA] vote had not been held, following a hostile campaign by social networks and the loss of White House support." He also said that that "the intense media campaign [against ACTA] which was unleashed in Europe, [was] instigated largely by the social networks." However, other commissioners, such as Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, "concluded by highlighting the rising influence of social networks on the Internet and the need for the Commission to take account of this in its communication policy." European Union Facebook pages such as Digital Agenda for Europe have been posting, and asking for feedback on, issues related to ACTA, such as the Megaupload shutdown, while the European Parliament recently posted a graphic noting the ACTA discussion procedure.

  • In the U.K., Ben and Jerry's is renaming an ice cream flavor Apple-y Ever After and encouraging Britons to use the hashtag #applyeverafter in support of gay marriage legislation.

  • A Belgian collecting society for music royalties, SABAM, wants to start charging fees to libraries because they engage volunteers who read from copyrighted books to children.

  • Mark Thompson, BBC director general, announced a proposal that would make all of their archived shows accessible and permanently downloadable to viewers for a modest fee. Later this year, the BBC Trust will hear the plans.

  • In other news, Thompson accuses Iran of disrupting BBC Persian service through cyberattack and implied a link to an attempt to send automatic phone calls to disrupt the service’s phone lines.

  • The BBC looked into whether Apple is really worth more than Poland.

  • The A.P. looked into how accused Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom got residency in New Zealand and noted that his wealth seemed to play a bigger role than prior criminal convictions in Germany. As lawyers work out whether former Megaupload users can access their files, Dotcom claims that several users of the site were affiliated with the U.S. Senate and the Justice Department.

  • A speech by Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as part of her election campaign, was leaked on Facebook and YouTube prior to its scheduled TV broadcast.

  • Tablet computers have been added to Britain's inflation index, while the cost of developing color film has been removed.

  • A company in Britain has unveiled the "world's most energy-efficient microprocessor" which could make the Internet of things, in which household devices could communicate with each other, a reality.

  • The New York Times looked at Syria's losing battle against controlling news coming out of the country.

  • With Raphael Majma and Micah L. Sifry