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First POST: The Internet Is...

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, February 26 2014

The Internet Is…

  • Comcast's toughest and most knowledgeable critic, Susan Crawford, explains why Netflix's agreement to pay the giant cable conglomerate a premium for better handling of its streaming video service is an "arbitrary" tax that sets a terrible precedent for other high-capacity innovative uses of the Internet in the U.S.

  • Nilay Patel has written a passionate screed for The Verge whose title says it all: "The Internet is Fucked (but we can fix it)."

  • Time magazine is running a fun excerpt from Julia Angwin's new book, Dragnet Nation, describing her quest to break free from Google's tracking on her online search habits.

  • VC Marc Andreessen explains why he is so bullish about the future of the news business.

  • Ralph Nader wants a billionaire to run for President in 2016 to break up the two-party system, and his list of candidates is pretty interesting--and includes several tech successes, such as Andreessen, Steve Case, Bill Gates, and Sheryl Sandberg.

  • Inside Philanthropy's David Callahan has compiled a list of the "15 most powerful women in U.S. philanthropy," and it too includes several with strong tech connections, including Melinda Gates, Susan Dell, Pam Omidyar. Laurene Powell Jobs, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Priscilla Chan,

  • Using big data to map Ukraine's protest violence.

  • Target, the retailer hit with a huge customer data breach last fall, saw its earnings drop 46%. Perhaps the market for consumer privacy security is bigger than expected?

  • New: Our Sarah Lai Stirland reports on how one political start-up, the Tom Wolf campaign for PA governor, is devising new tactics for engaging potential supporters online.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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