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#PDF13

Personal Democracy Forum 2013, held June 6 and 7 at New York University, is organized around a central theme: "Think Bigger." We've chosen it in part to honor our late friend Aaron Swartz. In a conversation with PDM co-founder Micah Sifry, he asked, "Why not harness the power of the Internet to work on the larger-scale problems?"

Why not, indeed. So the 2013 Forum convenes practitioners, academics and close observers of the way people are applying technology to difficult issues from election reform to public health.

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BackChannel

TechPresident's BackChannel series is an ongoing conversation between practitioners and close observers at the intersection of technology and politics. Contributors are academics, political operatives, entrepreneurs, activists, and other people with ideas to bring back from their work wherever theory meets practice.

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Timeline

Technology is changing politics, government and civic life. We built this timeline to show the accelerating pace of change in the United States, in the international arena, and online. The initial research was done by Kristina Redgrave, Diane Chang, Becky Kazansky, Andrew Seo and Micah Sifry, and edited by Micah Sifry. It is a work-in-progress. To view the actual timeline, visit this page: www.techpresident.com/timeline. This topic page aggregates our ongoing updates to the timeline.

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WeGov

Portuguese Activist Blog Shut Down by Google for Defamatory Content

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, November 28 2012

Over the past few days, the Portuguese blog Precários Inflexíveis (Inflexible Precarious Workers) has reportedly been silenced and then blocked by Google. The blog was devoted to exposing the working conditions of freelance workers without permanent contracts: Google allegedly shut the blog down because of a complaint made by BF Grupo after the “precários” accused the company of illegal work and tax evasion”. Read More

WeGov

In Macedonia, a Draft Law on Defamation May Lead to Online Censorship

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, October 17 2012

The Macedonian Parliament is discussing a draft law on defamation related to online communication which may lead to strong censorship of online communication, the European Digital Rights reports.
The bill considers online service providers liable for penalties, along with the author, for any damage resulting from offensive or defamatory information the provider has allowed access to, but it fails to provide a clear definition of what a provider is, thus allowing the possibility of an arbitrary judgement. Read More

British PM Cameron Joins Twitter

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, October 8 2012

British Prime Minister David Cameron joined Twitter on Saturday afternoon. His account, @David_Cameron, gathered 50,000 followers in the first few hours, the Guardian reports. As of Monday evening, he has more than 96,000. His first steps, though, show some flaws in the communications strategy. Read More

The Pirate Party Has A Brazilian Chapter

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, July 30 2012

Last Friday, Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Pirate Party, announced the birth of the Brazilian chapter of the movement. The “Partido Pirata do Brasil” may have soon the chance of raising its voice, as Brazil is also in the process of discussing an advanced law on net neutrality and Internet access, Falkvinge added. Read More

Iceland MP Jónsdóttir Is Creating a Pirate Party Chapter in Her Own Country

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, July 18 2012

Iceland's MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir is planning to form a chapter of the Pirate Party in her own country, the Reykjavík Grapevine reports. Jónsdóttir, a poet and an activist, has been the most visible Iceland's MP in these last years, mainly involved in all the initiatives to foster citizens' participation in the democracy process. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed 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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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

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wednesday >

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media and India's General Election

The biggest democratic election in the world to date is taking place in India from April 7 to May 14, and, for the first time in India, the results might hinge on who runs a better social media campaign. The Mumbai research firm Iris Knowledge Foundation has said that Facebook will “wield a tremendous influence” but Indian politicians are not limiting their attentions to India's most popular social media platform. In addition to virtual campaigning are initiatives to inform, educate and encourage Indians to participate in their democracy.

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EU Court Rejects Data Retention Law, But Data Retention Won't End Overnight

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg struck down a data retention law Tuesday that required telecoms to keep customers' communications data for up to two years, declaring it violated privacy rights. However, experts warn that the ruling will have no automatic effect on relevant laws in member states, which could lead to “messy consequences.”

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