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Weekly Readings: The "Snooper's Charter"

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, July 7 2014

  • In the UK, a debate rages over the country's national security strategy: whether an emergency law -- requiring phone companies to register records of phone calls, texts and Internet usage -- would be effective in countering the radicalization of British Muslims. Members of the labour and liberal democratic party warn they would block the creation of what they call a "snooper's charter."
  • Algae bio reactors and bacteria-ink pens? This isn't the stuff of sci-fi but of Paris's own branch of DIY biology.
  • Three years after the revolution, Tunisians are questioning the efficacy of their new government and debating on social media whether they should boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections in the fall as a show of protest against an unsatisfactory government.
  • Data geeks, check out OECD's new data portal, which organizes data in visually appealing charts and graphics.
  • A month ago, Beijing issued a white paper to Hong Kong, asserting its control over the region. It was a slap on the wrist but some experts chalked it up to rhetoric. While Hong Kong has always been allowed a large degree of free speech, Beijing has now unprecedently suspended a number of Weibo accounts after a July 1 protest in the region.
  • IBM is partnering with the Chinese government to help curb pollution by using new tech and better data-tracking systems.
  • Much like China's microbloggers, Egyptian Internet users circumvent censorship by manipulating language with sarcasm, intentional misspellings and what they call "Francoarabic."
  • The Thai post-coup government is cracking down heavily on free speech, arresting people wearing the wrong t-shirts or reading George Orwell's 1984 in public. According to Global Voices, the government recently took it a step further, creating a deceptive Facebook log-in page that would allow them to collect data on whoever was trying to access the banned site.
  • The Greeks seek to reinforce their country's title as the birthplace to democracy with Vouliwatch, an online platform to hold their elected officials accountable. Its initial launch saw 50 out of 300 members of parliament participate.
  • Russia wants Twitter, Facebook and Google to move to Russia. Last Friday, Russia's parliament passed a bill that would require all Internet companies, foreign and local, to store user data in Russia. So far Google, Twitter and Facebook have refused to comply, even if they have 2016 to do so, but Russia says it will then block the sites.
  • Singapore issues a new data privacy protection law.

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