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First POST: Gobbler and Cobbler

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, November 21 2012

Enjoy your stuffing, dear reader — First POST will not be coming out Thursday or Friday and will resume on Monday.

Morning must-reads

  • The Huffington Post reported on the plans to use the Obama campaign organization to push for President Obama's legislative priorities, with the support of an effort backed by various progressive groups who are focusing on "The Action to end the Bush tax cuts for the richest two percent" at

  • There was some confusion yesterday about a news report on Cnet which suggested that Senate legislation backed by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) had been rewritten under pressure from law enforcement to allow authorities to access emails without a warrant. Kashmir Hill wrote that the report was flawed and that "the version of the bill that Declan McCullagh excerpts in his report appears to be one of many that have been drafted and passed around, but is not a version that would be considered seriously at a hearing to review the bill next week." A Judiciary Committee aide denied that Leahy had supported such language, as did Leahy's Twitter account. Demand Progess has launched a campaign encouraging supporters to urge the Senate not to give authorities easier access to email.

  • Ahead of the International Telecommunication Union conference in December that is expected to address regulatory issues related to the Internet, Google has launched a campaign encouraging users to express their opposition to such decisions being made by governments in a closed-door session. Earlier, Larry Downes had written in Cnet commentary that leaked documents suggest Russia is calling on the U.N. to take on authority over key aspects of Internet governance including addressing and naming. Tim Bray, a Google employee, wrote on his Google Plus account that "smart people here at Google are actually looking worried, and asking us to pass the word along."

  • Anshel Pfeffer of Haaretz critiques the IDF's social media campaign, noting that "Nineteen-year-old soldiers compete with each other to come up with wickedly cynical tweets on the IDF’s official Twitter account," but also suggesting that the PR effort can't really overcome images of violence or broadly change public opinion. "It’s no longer an orderly sovereign state fighting a terror militia in a tiny coastal strip but two Twitter accounts wrestling with each other."

From techPresident

Around the web

  • The White House announced in an e-mail and blog post yesterday that the American public would have the chance to weigh in on the which turkey President Barack Obama will pardon this year. On its Facebook page, users could vote with a Facebook like for either Gobbler or Cobbler. By late last night, Cobbler seemed to be leading with over 2,200 likes compared with just over 2,000 for Gobbler.

    TechPresident wonders: Will the loser face his sentence by secret drone strike?

  • Hamas briefly interrupted satellite broadcasts of to Israeli TV channels with a message that "“that showed an exploding tank and warned about the terror group’s capabilities," according to an Israeli newspaper, while Electronic Intifada reported that a Palestinian satellite channel was hijacked by Israel to show an animated message that compared Hamas leaders to mice and rats living in the sewer. In addition, the social media accounts of an Israeli politician were targeted by hackers.

  • The New York Times suggested that Anonymous attacks on Israeli websites were a minor inconvenience compared with attacks coming out of Gaza and Iran in the past year.

  • The Daily Beast reported on how an online activist who started the Facebook page that helped spark the revolution in Egypt is now documenting the violence in Gaza.

  • David Cole at the Daily Beast explores a Christian group's claim that the Hamas Twitter account might be illegal.

  • The founder of Unskewed Polls has set up a website
    , aiming to prove that Democrats stole the 2012 election, citing voter fraud.

  • At Red State, Neil Stevens argues that the Republican Study Committee should not have withdrawn its study on copyright policy.

  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation writes that "Congress shouldn't debate copyright in a reality-free zone."

  • A We the People petition asks the White House to "work to modify copyright laws to end the predatory practice of copyright trolling."

  • The House is expected to vote on a bill to expand the number of green cards next Friday.

  • Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass) has urged House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to move forward on a bill to protect the electrical grid from cyberattacks.

  • The San Diego County Sheriff is refusing to release documents related to drones requested as part of a "drone census" effort backed by MuckRock and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

  • Atlantic Cities highlighted a video visualization showing New York City's greenhouse-gas emissions in 2010.

  • Code4Kenya has launched a website at
    to highlight the locations of voter registration centers ahead of the 2013 elections.

  • British palace officials had to act quickly to remove photos of Prince William from the Internet after it became clear that they showed Ministry of Defense passwords in the background, the AFP reported.

  • Nieman Lab reported on how the Globe and Mail used citizen-journalist expatriates to cover the 2012 election.

  • The Guardian Datastore and Google have launched a competition to visualize world aid data.

  • Reuters recently reported on how slow Internet infrastructure is a symptom of Kuwait's economic difficulties.

  • IBM is piloting a system in Lyon, France, that allows a city's transportation management center to reduce congestion using real-time traffic data and analysis of incidents using “predictive traffic management technology," Mashable reported.

  • A French news magazine is reporting that French officials are accusing the U.S. of using American-Israeli spy software to breach the French presidential office earlier this year.

  • The European Network and Information Security Agency has published a report that is skeptical of the European Commission's "right to be forgotten" proposals."

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.