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First POST: Bad Bet

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, November 27 2012

Top TechPresident picks

Around the web

  • The Supreme Court rejected a request to review a recent ruling that the First Amendment protects a right to record the actions of police officers as they perform their public duties, Ars Technica reported.

  • The ACLU offers its analysis of demands to block Hamas from Twitter, highlighting a statute criminalizing “material support” for terrorism.

  • David Kappos, the head of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, plans to step down in January. Kappos had recently offered a defense of software patents.

  • Intrade was blocked for Americans yesterday after the Commodities Futures Trading Commission filed a lawsuit against it.

  • Grover Norquist and Laura Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s Washington Legislative Office, cowrote an op-ed calling for changes to the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act to take into account new developments like cloud storage.

  • Facebook recently revealed some data from its Facebook voting application. According to a note, over 9 million users said they were voting on Facebook, or 8.6 percent of the U.S. Facebook population. Facebook looked at patterns by political affiliation and fan pages. "It turns out people who liked [Paul] Ryan or Michelle Obama were more likely to use the voting button than people who only liked one of the presidential candidates ... We also looked at non-human entities. As we expected, 'Binders Full Of Women' and 'Big Bird' topped the list. Big Bird's Facebook page got a surge of Facebook likes after Romney's reference to the Sesame Street character when he was describing cuts he'd make to PBS during the first presidential debate."

  • The White House recently added a SoundCloud presence.

  • A Pew study found that even though Obama received less support from young voters, the youth votes he did get likely mattered more.

  • Peter Singer from the Brookings Institution suggests that fears about cyberterror are misguided. "About 31,300. That is roughly the number of magazine and journal articles written so far that discuss the phenomenon of cyber terrorism. Zero. That is the number of people that who been hurt or killed by cyber terrorism at the time this went to press."

  • ICYMI: MySociety's Tom Steinberg wrote about why he works on non-partisan technology.

  • Chris Kemp, founder of OpenStack, wrote for GigaOm about how "government can turbocharge private sector innovation."

  • PEN International issued a declaration on "Digital Freedom."

  • The New York Times reported on the growing start-up community in Midwestern towns.

  • In an op-ed on how to "rebuild America," Rahm Emanuel cites Chicago's investment in increasing access to gigabit-speed broadband.

  • David Segal, Patrick Ruffini and David Moon are raising money on Indiegogo for a book titled "Hacking Politics: How we beat SOPA and saved the Internet."

  • Political and weather sites saw large traffic in October, according to Comscore.

  • The Boston Globe profiled Bluefin Labs and its efforts to analyze social media content related to politicis and commerce.

  • New York City has amassed a large collection of cell phone logs from subpoenas of records from stolen phones, the New York Times reports.

  • The L.A. Times profiled the Cyber Corps program at the University of Tulsa.


  • The Washington Post reported on the challenges that arise when countries allied with the U.S. turn to America for cyberwarfare or cybersecurity expertise.

  • The Guardian takes a look at Julian Assange's new book.

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement and European law enforcement agencies announced that they had seized 132 domain names allegedly involved in selling counterfeit merchandise in "Project Cyber Monday 3" and "Project Transatlantic" operations.

  • Civil rights activists, free speech advocates, lawyers and politicians are increasingly calling into question elements of India's internet laws, such as those that make it a crime to digitally send “any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character," the New York Times reported.

  • The New York Times reports that some of the new versions of India's Aakash tablet were made in China.

  • The Canadian government is increasingly requesting that content be removed from the web.

  • Anonymous hackers have cost Paypal £3.5m, according to British court testimony.

  • Glenn Greenwald contrasted how Wikileaks has been crippled through financial pressure and cyberattacks possibly U.S. authorities, and the U.S. pursuit of people associated with Anonymous.

  • Google Germany has released a video, "Defend Your Net," advocating against a German government proposal that would require the search engine to pay a license fee for indexing news content. The video shows various searches over the years on Google for news content, how to donate money after the tsunami in Thailand, a search related to a German soccer star, a child typing in a misspelled search query about Knut, the polar bear in Berlin, and various attempts to search for Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull. The video links to a campaign page that encourages users to contact their Bundestag representatives.

  • The AP reported on what the death of an Iranian blogger reveals about the country's online surveillance.

  • With frequent protests underway, the Spanish government is proposing a law that would prohibit citizens from taking photos and video of riot police.

  • The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Israeli Ministry for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs held a four-day training event for young Russian Jews on how to use social media to promote the country's image.

  • Various smartphone applications are now available to warn Israelis about incoming missile alerts or show them close shelter locations.

  • The Open Government Partnerhip profiled an e-census effort in Bulgaria.

  • A court in Germany has ruled against users of an anonymous and encrypted file-sharing network.

  • The Free Software Foundation Europe welcomes a German government whitepaper endorsing the idea of a "Secure Boot" function.

  • The emergence of new evidence has prompted new efforts to throw out the U.S. case against Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom

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  • The largest online video archive library devoted to the historic, cultural and tourism heritage of the Mediterranean has recently launched, Infodocket reported.

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.