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First POST: Petitions

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, November 15 2012

"We the People" getting secessionist

Republicans react to the 2012 loss

  • For Personal Democracy Plus Subscribers, Sarah Lai Stirland reported that Republican digital experts hear echoes of 2008 in the aftermath of last week's loss: Cries to modernize the party's technology and its platform that went unheeded four years ago. She writes:

    A look at the RNC's tech bench shows that the tech staffers don't come from a tech background. RNC Digital Strategy Director Tyler Brown comes from a communications background. Andrew Abdel-Malik, who rolled out the RNC's vaunted Social Victory Center, is a political operative. Both have fundamentally different professional backgrounds than from their predecessors, Cyrus Krohn, Bob Ellsworth and Todd Herman, who all had previously worked at technology companies and have experience working with large databases. ... "We need to stop giving the contracts to the establishment consultants because frankly, they've been doing this for so long they don't have any good ideas anymore," [Republican digital pro Michael Turk] said. "They're been running the same campaign, the same strategy, the same ideas for the past 20 years."

Is Twitter the new propaganda machine?

  • Both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were using Twitter yesterday in the midst of Palestinian rocket attacks and retaliatory Israeli air strikes. Israeli authorities were using their social media channel to try to convey the threat many Israelis feel from Gaza rockets. For example, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign of Affairs circulated a photo on Facebook with the message "To what is Israel responding to in Gaza? 130+ Rockets in 72 Hrs," which has so far been shared over 10,700 times. On Twitter, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a link to a video of a 17-year old describing living under the threat of rocket attacks. The Foreign Ministry also posted photos illustrating the rocket attacks and their effects on civilians. There were also rumors circulating among Twitter accounts associated with Anonymous, without any substantiation, that a TV report had suggested that the IDF would shut down the Internet in Gaza, prompting many Anonymous-associated accounts to begin posting about distributing guides about how to connect to the Internet in the case of a shutdown in Gaza, with one noting, "Ensuring internet access to get information out of Gaza is the #1 priority."

Around the web

  • As more details about the e-mail communications involving Petreaus biographer Paula Broadwell become known, law enforcement officials said that they found a significant amount of classified files on her personal computer, the Washington Post reported.

  • Chris Soghoian for the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Cnet examined the implications of the Petraeus scandal on e-mail privacy, including the legal implications.

  • Pro Publica compared Petraeus to the case of Robert Bork, whose video rental history was revealed by a newspaper in 1987, and what those comparisons could mean for changes in law or procedure.

  • Ars Technica took another deep look at the Obama campaign's technology infrastructure.

  • The Washington Post noted that Targeted Victory, the firm of Mitt Romney's digital director, Zac Moffatt, received $64 million from the Romney campaign for digital advertising.

  • Republican House Majority whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has joined Instagram.

  • Nick Bilton rehashed the challenges limiting the possibility of voting by smartphone.

  • President Obama signed a secret directive that allows the military to act more aggressively to counter cyberattacks against computer networks of both government and private entities.

  • The Senate voted against the Cybersecurity Act a second time, meaning any Senate action on the bill won't happen until next year, the Hill reported.

  • Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) plans to stay on as chairman of the House subcommittee on technology issues.

  • Credo Action is backing a petition with the message "Don't let Wall Street sideline Elizabeth Warren," calling for her to get a place on the Senate Banking Committee.

  • Grover Norquist opposes a music royalty bill supported by Pandora.

  • Facebook has launched a job search tool in partnership with the Department of Labor and several job search websites.

  • Many scam websites have been set up using the keywords "Sandy" or "relief," CNN reported.

  • There's a "hey girl, it's Cory Booker" tumblr.

  • U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer emphasized that the U.S. will have to address other countries' concerns during the upcoming negotiations over an international telecommunications treaty, and warned against refusing to participate in discussions or demonizing the U.N.

  • Michigan Supreme Court candidate Bridget McCormack, who received campaign help in the form of a viral video with over one million views featuring West Wing cast members, including her sister, actress Mary McCormack, won her race.


News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

Civic Hackers Call on de Blasio to Fill Technology Vacancies

New York City technology advocates on Wednesday called on the de Blasio administration to fill vacancies in top technology policy positions, expressing some frustration at the lack of a leadership team to implement a cohesive technology strategy for the city. GO

China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.


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.