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First POST: May Day

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, May 1 2012

May Day protests Tuesday in Egypt. Photo: Gigi Ibrahim

May Day

Putting a paws to negative campaigning

  • The Washington Post looks at the increasingly prominent role that the Obama family dog, Bo, is playing in the Obama campaign, particularly online.

  • Restore our Future, the Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney that heavily targeted Newt Gingrich, has deleted most of its negative ads from YouTube.

  • An EPA official has resigned over a YouTube video in which he suggested that polluters should be "crucified." Republican Senator James Inhofe's staff had discovered the YouTube video of his comments, and posted a clip on the senator's Web site, the Washington Post reported.

  • Microsoft released a statement saying it still supports CISPA.

Around the web

  • The New York Times reports that the Google engineer engaged in collecting data from WiFi has been identified. "On his LinkedIn page, Mr. Milner lists his occupation as 'hacker,' and under the category called 'Specialties,' his entry reads, 'I know more than I want to about Wi-Fi," the Times reports.

  • Alexis Madrigal explores the copyright issues behind the cute animal pictures used on BuzzFeed.

  • Former MoveOn and Media Matters official Ilyse Hogue, and David Donnelly, executive director of the Public Campaign Action Fund, say they are forming a hybrid PAC and Super PAC, to call attention to the need for campaign finance reform.

  • A Democratic Congressional candidate in New York's Hudson Valley released an online map to show that almost 78 percent of his donations come from within his newly drawn district.

  • Comscore evaluated the partisan affiliation of visitors to several political news sites, and found that Politico had the most balanced audience.

  • Internet users in 36 countries, including China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan were able to view sensitive information about U.S. weapons technology for 15 days because a Georgia Institute of Technology course for federal employees and contractors on infrared technology was uploaded to servers instead of to a DVD, Bloomberg reported.

  • George Zimmerman's legal defense has established an official social media presence for its client, and the suspect in the Trayvon Martin case has a new fundraising website.

  • The burning of a Koran by controversial preacher Terry Jones, livestreamed online, was not widely announced and did not seem to attract a lot of attention, but was criticized in Iran.

  • The Columbia Journalism School will be funding new short-term research projects that focus on developing best practices in digital journalism with the aim of benefiting quickly evolving newsrooms.

  • New York City has released its guidelines for use of social media in schools.

    Teachers will be told in no uncertain terms that their interactions with students online will be monitored. Employees "have no expectation of privacy" when using social media, the guidelines say. Principals or other supervisors are expected to keep a list of all school-related social media accounts, monitor them regularly and report any "questionable" behavior....The Department of Education also is considering asking parents to sign consent forms before children participate in social-media activities and before their children's work or pictures appear online, and informing parents about how social media is being used in schools.

  • A convent in Maine is using the Internet and social media to attract more recruits.

  • Reports about a rally at Citi Field of Haredi Orthodox Jews against the influence of technology and the Internet have sparked calls for a counter-demonstration, at least on Facebook. Among the reasons to protest the protest, so to speak: Women are not allowed to attend.

  • An Australian Bishop called on Catholics to take advantage of Facebook and Twitter to spread the message of the church.

  • A judge ruled that Facebook likes aren't protected by the First Amendment in a case related to an election campaign for sheriff.

  • Two Tor developers are working on a software tool that collects data on interference with a network connection, data that can then be used to illustrate how the web is being blocked in different places. Forbes' Andy Greenberg notes that Palestinian news agency Ma'an used the service to expose blocking by the Palestinian Authority, leading to the Communication Minister's resignation.

  • Over 3,000 shops on Etsy are planning to close down in a day of silent protest on May 10, saying the site is failing keep non-handmade products out.

  • Blogger and entrepreneur Anil Dash criticizes the state and focus of technology news coverage.

  • In the New York Times, Randal Stross wrote in favor of increased electronic prescriptions.

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education published its special report on the Digital Campus looking at open education, open courseware and online education around the world, among other subjects.

  • Over the weekend, the German Pirate Party voted for its new leadership at a party convention. Both the A.P. and Reuters also reported on its growing popularity in the country, as it looks forward to upcoming state elections and possible upcoming representation in the Bundestag. The party is also slowly becoming more popular in Serbia, Romania, Croatia and Greece.

  • The British campaign group FairPensions has launched a web tool that allows individuals to complain to companies where they feel executive pay is to high.

  • Nicolas Sarkozy says he will file a complaint over a left-wing online news site's claim that Moammar Gadhafi offered to finance his previous campaign.

  • CNN reported on how a rap by Jay-Z and Kanye with a racial slur in its title is still helping Francois Hollande.

  • Google is being sued in France over auto-complete suggestions by an anti-discrimination group related to the appearance of the term "Jewish" in connection with prominent people.

  • A court ruled that British Internet service providers must block access to the Pirate Bay.

  • British Foreign Secretary William Hague is promising 1.5 million pounds in support of freedom of expression online.

  • The BBC examines what a cyberwar would look like.

  • A Facebook application is aiding voter registration for a EU referendum in Ireland.

  • Nordic countries are becoming more and more popular locations for data centers.

  • China is not only deleting references online to blind activist Chen Guangcheng, who managed a high-profile escape from house arrest, but also to the "Shawshank Redemption", to which his escape is being compared, the term "blind person" and to "UA898" a flight from Beijing to Washington D.C, an assumed reference to his possible U.S. asylum.

  • Several news organizations, including the BBC, the A.P., CNN, the New York Times and Reuters looked at the efforts of U.S. forces to hunt down Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony. Uganda has accused Sudan of backing Kony.

  • The New York Times India Ink blog examined the difficulties that an Indian tablet project for students ran into.

  • The New York Times profiled an activist who helped found an early online newsletter that sought to get around North Korea's information blackout.

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.