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First POST: Freedoms

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, April 23 2012

President Barack Obama, here on the Rosa Parks bus April 18. Pete Souza / White House photo

Obama to speak on Internet freedom

  • President Barack Obama is expected to announce an executive order this morning that will allow U.S. officials to impose sanctions on foreign nationals who use new technologies, from cellphone tracking to Internet monitoring, to carry out human rights abuses, the Washington Post reported. He will make the announcement at a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

    The White House is encouraging people to watch the speech online and discuss with the hashtag #NeverAgain. Following the speech, Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, will be answering questions on Twitter.

Voting with their tweet

  • As the New York Times and AFP reported, French Internet users adopted code dating back to World War II to discuss exit poll results online in defiance of a law prohibiting discussion of the voter tallies until the last votes had been cast. Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy was either "Tokaji wine" — from Hungary, like his father — or "Rolex." Socialist candidate François Hollande was "Gouda cheese" or "Flanby" — a soft caramel dessert, perhaps a reference to Hollande's hefty midsection.

  • Richard Grenell, a former Bush administration official who joined the Romney campaign as a national security and foreign policy spokesperson, deleted more than 800 tweets that Democratic-leaning sites and journalists had criticized for their tone towards journalists and for being sexist towards female politicians and members of the media, Michael Calderone reported.

Around the web

  • The Republican National Committee was running an online ad with the message, "Come November, Let's Make Barack Obama a Stay-at-Home Dad."

  • Presente, a Latino advocacy group, is promoting a photo on Facebook of President Obama sitting in the bus from the Rosa Parks protest with the message, "Mr President: Is there room for immigrants on the Freedom bus?"

  • ICYMI, Yahoo News looked at how the Republican primary played out in Wikipedia edits.

  • A New York Times editorial calls on the Senate to adopt an electronic filing requirement for candidates. Currently, candidates for House must file online, but aspirants to the Senate can file harder-to-parse paper reports. In 2010, the Federal Election Commission began digitizing the disclosure filings of Senate candidates by transcribing them by hand.

  • ICYMI: Friday, Ezra Klein suggested that most people aren't paying attention to the political scandals that ebb and flow among political insiders on Twitter, and that they have no effect on polling. Meanwhile, the term "obama dog" was trending on Google at the end of last week.

  • A NSA whistleblower believes that the agency has assembled 20 trillion "transactions" - phone calls, emails and other forms of data, including copies of almost all of the emails sent and received from most people living in the United States, Democracy Now reported.

  • The Small Business Administration and the Department of Education are holding a Twitter Q & A Wednesday for recent graduates on resources that could help them start a small business.

  • More and more lobbying firms are incorporating We the People petitions into their work or attempting to drive traffic to them.

  • Facebook has released revised changes to its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities based on feedback it received from users, and responds to some of the commentary on the earlier proposal.

  • The Washington Post's ombudsman criticized how the news organization is guiding its young bloggers, after one of them resigned following two mistakes in her aggregation work.

  • Last week, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce asked on Facebook for feedback from people affected by reported difficulties with the Education Department's new debt-management system.

  • Writer James Ball described what information he received when he requested copies of his personal data from Google and Facebook under EU data protection rules.

  • The Guardian included Rickard Falkvinge, founder of the Pirate Party, John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the EFF and Anons among its Open 20: fighters for Internet freedom. The Guardian also looked at Barlow's efforts to create a foundation aimed at funding any organizations affected by corporate blockades with first amendment goals, such as Wikileaks.

  • There were only scattered reports of Cover the Night events, mostly organized by students, in response to Invisible Children's Kony 2012 campaign.

  • The A.P. reports that fewer people are registering for Susan G. Komen for the Cure fundraising races.

  • The World Bank has launched a blog on open data issues and explained updates and future plans for its open data policies.

  • UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on the audience at a forum of the Center for Global Development to "tweet" the White House to lobby for President Barack Obama's presence at the environmental Rio+20 summit in June.

Around the world

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

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

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.