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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 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.


Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.