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First POST: Proceedings

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, March 26 2012

Photo:Mark Fischer / Flickr
  • No phone calls, Twitter messages or other electronic communication will be permitted from Supreme Court hearings on the Affordable Care Act, which begin today. The court will be releasing audio recordings of the proceedings the same day they happen. Meanwhile, the Obama campaign made an aggressive effort Friday take ownership of the term "Obamacare." It sent out two e-mails to supporters asking them to express their support for "Obamacare" on social networks, in e-mails with the subject line "Hell yeah, I like Obamacare," and, the next day, "So, a lot of you like Obamacare." @BarackObama tweeted "If you're proud of Obamacare and tired of the other side using it as a dirty word, complete this sentence: #ILikeObamacare because ..." and retweeted many supporters who took up that request. An Obamacare Facebook page has over 24,500 likes. On CBS Sunday morning, Obama adviser David Plouffe said that Republicans are going to regret branding the law "Obamacare." The campaign also posted a video with the title "Republicans are desperate to kill health care reform - stop them. "

  • Ad Age has profiled Daniel Maree, the 24-year old digital strategist at Interpublic Group of Cos.' McCann, who was a key figure behind the social media campaign One Million Hoodies — an online push calling for justice in response to the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin that preceded street protests in New York City last week. Yesterday, another social networking effort was encouraging churchgoers to wear hoodies.

  • The Federal Trade Commission has launched a new Twitter feed and blog devoted to technology issues.

  • Salon profiles Matt Ortega, the creator of and other Romney-critical memes.

    Ortega works for the Democratic consulting group New Partners, which is stacked with former DNC staffers, and Ortega himself worked for the national committee during the 2008 campaign. But the 27-year-old insists the microsites are not part of his professional work, but a hobby that he does entirely on his own...While some people go to bars or watch TV after leaving the office, "I come home from work … and I build websites," the self-taught "digital nerd" said....It can take as little as 45 minutes from gaffe to Twitter gold, or a lot longer depending on the complexity. "I don't know of anybody on either side [Democratic or Republican] that does anything consistently like this," he boasted, though he did mention a few people who have made one-offs.

  • Notable

  • The Obama campaign is using an image of the President fist-bumping a White House janitor, that had been going viral on Facebook, in an online ad with the message "Get Barack's Back. Join The Campaign."

  • The Rick Santorum campaign has revealed the first of what it says will be multiple videos showcasing its vision of "Obamaville." In the video, that opens with pictures of an abandoned city and playground, "it is hardly morning in America. It is more like apocalypse in America," as the New York Times put it. "It's just a little teaser to get people to start watching our episodes and do it in a way that piques their interest," [Santorum strategist John] Brabender said. "It's all about driving traffic to the Web site." The video has also raised some eyebrows because it has some alternating shots of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and President Obama.

  • Two Democratic lawmakers have begun an inquiry into the data collection practices of social apps on Apple devices, sending letter to companies include Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Foursquare.

  • Various politicians were "Klout-bombed" last week when, for example, users chose "homophobia" as a topic of influence for several Republican candidates, "Diaper," "Racism", "Sweater" and "Google" for Rick Santorum specifically, as well as "cheating" and "fascism" for Barack Obama.

  • The outgoing CEO of C-SPAN talked to Nieman Lab about how the network was an early adopter of technology and the creation of its online video archive.

  • The company that is taking care of the data from Megaupload has filed a court motion to find out what it can do with the data. It has suggested getting help paying for the maintenance of the data or at least briefly restoring access to users. The MPAA is requesting that the data be maintained for lawsuits. Some former users of the site have been targeted by fraudulent letters from a German law firm claiming they are liable for fines.

  • At the National Press Foundation, Google executive Eric Schmidt talked about how the Internet is facing obstacles in the area of cybercrime, privacy and censorship.

  • The Justice Department is suing AT&T, alleging that it let an Internet-based phone system it offers to the hearing-impaired be overrun by criminals and then improperly billed the government to reimburse the calls in violation of the False Claims Act. "As the F.C.C. is aware, it is always possible for an individual to misuse I.P. Relay services, just as someone can misuse the postal system or an e-mail account, but F.C.C. rules require that we complete all calls by customers who identify themselves as disabled," a spokesperson for AT&T said.

  • In the wake of the jury verdict in case of a Rutgers student accused of invading the privacy of his roommate with a webcam, some universities are questioning how to handle issues of online privacy that affect students At Boston College, a football player has been charged with secretly making an audio recording of two students having sex.

  • New York City's official mayoral photographer praised the greater visibility of his photos online, saying, "To have these avenues for exposure that never existed before, such as and Flickr, is heaven."

  • International Headlines

  • British publishers object to a draft proposal under which the final version of papers produced with funding from any of the science research councils must be made freely available online within six months.

  • A Chinese telecommunications equipment company has sold a surveillance system capable of monitoring landline, mobile and internet communications to Iran's largest telecom firm.

  • Public school students in one Brazilian city are wearing uniforms with locator chips that can inform parents when they are skipping class.

  • The organizers of an online mock poll ahead of the Hong Kong elections said they were the victim of a cyberattack.

  • The African Union said it will send 5,000 soldiers as part of a renewed effort to track down the rebel leader Joseph Kony. This comes in the wake of a popular but controversial social media effort to build support for continued American intervention in the hunt for Kony.

  • Anonymous crashed two websites about the visit of Pope Benedict XVI's to Mexico this weekend. A video posted on social networking sites said that the pope's visit would cost Mexicans money that could be better spent on the poor, and is meant to support the governing party in the July 1 presidential election.

  • In Mexico, a Twitter feed is naming the dead who are victims of violence.

  • The European Union has expanded sanctions on Syria, particularly on the wife and family of President Bashar al-Assad, in part due to indications in leaked e-mails to the Guardian that suggest she had been spending money on items from Europe.

    The travel ban followed reports in the Guardian newspaper in Britain about leaked e-mails that depicted Mrs. Assad, 36, as a spendthrift shopper who referred to her husband as "my duck." Although the authenticity of the e-mails was never confirmed, they generated enormous interest among Syrians hostile to the Assads. Some Syrian activists reached by Skype on Friday said protesters were carrying duck pictures and calling for "the trial of the duck."

  • Syrian activists have also defended a Western journalist who in some of the e-mails appeared to be cooperating with the regime.

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.”