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First POST: Hashtags

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, November 29 2012

Morning must-reads

  • The White House was encouraging citizens to use the hashtag #My2k to "speak out to keep taxes from
    going up on the middle class." The Heritage Foundation quickly responded by purchasing a promoted tweet against that hashtag. Ad Age reported, "the #my2k hashtag had about 41,000 mentions as of this afternoon, according to Twitter. Whether they're helping the president's cause is up for debate, since a quick perusal of tweets with the hashtag show a significant portion attacking him." Mother Jones highlighted the 10 best and worst tweets from the campaign.

  • Nate Silver writes that Republicans, face-to-face with the facts of a ho-hum technology infrastructure on their side compared with what turned out to be a world-class operation supporting the Democrats, are statistically unlikely to be able to staff up with enough top-level technologists to compete. Based on campaign finance contributions from top technology companies and Barack Obama's margin of victory in Silicon Valley, Silver writes, it appears that elite engineers with a conservative bent may just be too hard to find.

    Let's take a trip down memory lane: The Republican Party has had its chance with A-list engineering talent. The national committee once had Cyrus Krohn, lured from Microsoft, at its digital helm. Krohn left the RNC and went back to Microsoft. Then they had Todd Herman, another Seattle-area tech sector alumni, as new media director. Herman left the RNC and most recently co-founded a company with Krohn and some other RNC alums, CrowdVerb, that was acquired by WPP — the same corporate parent of Democratic technology epicenter Blue State Digital. So it isn't as if the party hasn't had the opportunity to make the most of people who are familiar with what technology infrastructure should look like.

    The question now is, who will the Republicans tap next, and will they afford their next digital director any greater leeway to get things done?

  • Summarizing the results of a survey of Obama for America campaign volunteers, Jeremy Bird wrote in an e-mail that "Almost half of all survey respondents forwarded campaign emails, and more than one-third communicated with friends on Facebook -- both great ways to pass along information about the President's positions and plans, as well as opportunities to get involved."

    Dashboard watch! Bird also noted that "a majority" of survey respondents volunteered into a field office, though "many ... got involved instead through the campaign's online tools such as Dashboard and the call tool."

  • Kyle Rush, who worked as deputy director of frontend web development at Obama for America, profiled the campaign's $250 million fundraising platform.

  • WeGov headliner: Pakistan is considering a bill to require government approval for all digital mapping projects.

Around the web:

Digital policy advocacy comes to Germany

  • Several German lawmakers have reacted negatively to what they see as propaganda from Google in opposition to a law that would require search engines to pay a license fee for snippets of news appearing in search results. The New York Times has more:

    The unusually public salvos from Google caught many German lawmakers by surprise. Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the issue at a working dinner Tuesday with a group of lawmakers from her party, the Christian Democratic Union, including Peter Beyer, a member of the Bundestag from Ratingen, a town near Düsseldorf. “She asked us how many e-mails we’d received and we told her,” he said Wednesday during an interview, adding that he had received fewer than 10 from Google supporters. “Most of us had only received a few, three or four. She and the rest of the C.D.U. are still behind this law." ... Germany’s main technology industry association, the Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media, known as BitKom, has come out sharply against the proposal, saying it will curb investment in the German digital economy ... A letter to Bundestag members signed jointly by 16 copyright law professors, the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law, and Grur, an association representing 5,300 German copyright lawyers, warned that the law could cost Germany jobs ... By midday Wednesday, one day into the campaign, Google said that 25,000 people had signed its petition and that it expected a half-million people to have viewed its Web site ... [Christoph Keese, the senior vice president of Axel Springer, publisher of Bild and Die Welt], predicted that Google’s public relations offensive might cause a backlash among German lawmakers, who are unaccustomed to targeted, issue-oriented Internet lobbying.


  • Pew released a new study on Arab-American media, including its digital presence and the role of social media in reporting on the Arab Spring.

  • Salon reported on the controversy over high school student ID cards in Texas that contain RFID chips.

  • A Cairo court sentenced seven expatriate Coptic Egyptians to death in absentia for their alleged role in the production of the controversial anti-Islamic video "Innocence of Muslims."

  • The 20 winners of the first African News Innovation Challenge were announced with winning projects focused on citizen journalism, investigative reporting and source protection.

  • The name of the Israeli party led by Kadima Tzipi Livni is simply The Tzipi Livni Party after the use of the term The Movement in news articles "resulted in unbecoming, scatological jokes on Facebook and Twitter about bowel movements," the Jerusalem Post reported.

  • The death of an Iranian blogger in prison has prompted a blame game within Iran, according to the L.A. Times.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

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

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.