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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.

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.