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First POST: Protestations

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 27 2013

Around the web

  • Wendy Davis begins the media tour: Speaking of the abortion-banning bill the Texas state senator managed to delay but that will return in another special legislative session July 1, she told CBS News, "There was an incredible focus put on what was happening here in Texas. Women and men across Texas are in an uproar about it and I don't expect that their concerns on this issue are going to go away with the passage of this law."

  • "In Texas Filibuster, YouTube Stands Up While "24/7" News Falls" — TIME TV critic James Poniewozik writes how yet again, online media thrived as news broke in the late hours of the night while "24/7" cable news was on autopilot.

  • On Orwell's Birthday: BoingBoing notes that on June 25, revelers celebrating the birthday of visionary political writer George Orwell placed party hats on CCTV cameras.

  • Facebook and Twitter both now claim to be refusing requests for information on protesters from Turkish authorities.

  • MapBox, which hosts custom-made dynamic maps and whose mapping technology powers location-based web apps like FourSquare, has released a transparency report outlining how many requests to provide or delete user information it has received from governments. MapBox's short answer: Zero.

  • Weekend read:Amy Chozick's warts-and-all profile of Jimmy Wales, the Wikipedia founder, which she describes as one of the only, or perhaps the only, dot-com pioneer not to become a billionaire.

    Wikipedians and Wales supporters will probably find much to critique in the piece. But she's running headlong at a good question: Editors might work for free, but server time doesn't pay for itself and core Wikipedia staff have to eat. So how does one — especially a libertarian — subsidize a public good in the Internet age?

  • Twitter is tooting its own horn as a digital public square during events like Wendy Davis' filibuster and the Supreme Court decision on the Defense of Marriage Act.

  • Upcoming event: A TechCamp on journalism in conflict zones, July 25-26 at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, sponsored by the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, the State Department's Office of eDiplomacy, the United States Institute of Peace, and the CUNY J-school.

  • The Internet Hall of Fame announced that it has inducted J.C.R. Licklider, John Perry Barlow, and Marc Andreessen, among many others.

  • As Burma patches up relationships with the West and begins to develop a new role in global business, officials and citizens are also in careful negotiations over the role of the Internet in the country's changing society.

  • Norwegian and Qatari telecommunications firms have won 15-year concessions to develop mobile networks in Burma, the Times reports.

  • A new Facebook app is designed to foster the youth vote in Australia.

  • Back in the U.S., Cambridge, Mass. has lost a battle to block Uber from operating within its borders.

  • The Federal Trade Commission has told search engines to more clearly label advertising in results.

With Miranda Neubauer

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.