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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.


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.


wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.


The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.


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.