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Is It Time for Transparency in Spain?

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, April 2 2012

Image: h de c / Flickr

The right-leaning government of Spain is working on the creation of a new transparency and information access law, for the first time in the history of the country. In the expectation that Spain will adopt the new law soon, two open government NGOs recently launched a new site, Tuderechoasaber.es (Your Right to Know). The site helps citizens find the right body to address a freedom of information request. Read More

European Parliament does not refer ACTA to Court of Justice, Final Vote Set in June

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, March 28 2012

Yesterday, the European Parliament's International Trade Committee (INTA) voted against the referral of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the highest court in matters of European Union law. The European Commission, the EU's executive body, already indicated it would refer the agreement to the Court a month ago, in order to assess whether ACTA is incompatible with the European Union’s fundamental rights. The commission's referral won't delay the parliament, the EU's legislative body, from voting to ratify the treaty. Read More

Can an Obama-like Campaign Work in France?

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, March 21 2012

François Hollande during a public speech. Photo: Parti Socialiste /Flickr

According to a recent survey, 39% of French people say the Internet will play an important role in the electoral campaign. The main opponent to President Sarkozy, the Socialist candidate François Hollande, seems to consider the web as an important battlefield. His digital strategy seems inspired by the 2008 Obama campaign. Will it be enough to generate the same kind of mass participation in online politics in France? Read More

First POST: Sarcasm

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, March 19 2012

In which we catch up how the presidential campaigns are faring, how Governor Sam Brownback has become a source of health-care advice, how you get a message to the attention of the NYPD, the American life of Jason Russell, the phony parts of Mike Daisey, and a moment of zen with Mark Zuckerberg and Shimon Peres. Read More

The European Citizens' Initiative: a New Way to Shape up Debates?

BY Antonella Napolitano | Thursday, March 15 2012

The deliver of the Avaaz.org petition against ACTA. Photo European Parliament /Flickr

Starting next April 1st, European citizens will have another tool to be part of a public debate in a more substantial way, thanks to the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), a form of petition that will allow them to propose legislation to the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union. Will it be a new way to shape up political debates in the European Union? Read More

As Public ACTA Debate Begins, Controversy Remains

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, March 5 2012

A March 1 workshop on ACTA held by Parliament's trade committee. Photo: European Parliament

The European conversation over a controversial trade agreement has become laden with "organized misinformation," EU Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht said Saturday. De Gucht's comments come after his attendance at a March 1 workshop hosted by the parliament's trade committee, the primary venue for discussion of ACTA in the EU's popularly elected body. It was an opportunity for opponents of the treaty to weigh in on its provisions. Read More

Amid Protests and a Court Case, ACTA Set to Come Before EU Parliament

BY Antonella Napolitano | Friday, February 24 2012

Anti-ACTA sign in Helsinki, Finland. Photo: Frikjan / Flickr

Next week the European Parliament will start discussing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA, a controversial treaty that would set new international standards for dealing with copyright infringements. Next June, the European Parliament will have to vote to ratify or reject the treaty, but what seemed to be little more than a technicality now represents a crucial moment in a public debate on Internet freedom and digital rights. Read More

RNC Hits Obama Over Gas Prices In Targeted YouTube Ads in Miami

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, February 23 2012

The RNC is targeting Miami news and politics YouTube viewers with an ad slamming Obama over gas prices

The Republican National Committee on Thursday launched a geographically-targeted YouTube advertising campaign aimed at voters in Miami as President Obama makes a speech there Thursday about gas prices and energy policy. ... Read More

In France, Tension as Facebook and Twitter Enter Presidential Politics

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, February 21 2012

One of the suspended Sarkozy parody accounts after the reinstatement

The French presidential campaign started last Wednesday night when President Nicolas Sarkozy officially announced his candidacy on the national TV network TF1. But it took less than a week for the campaign to become a heated battle online. Read More

Tech In Obama’s 2013 Budget Proposal: Still High Hopes For Gov 2.0

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, February 14 2012

The Obama Administration hopes that its Gov. 2.0 efforts will inspire other efforts around the world

The White House on Monday announced a 2013 budget proposal of $16.7 million for its e-government operations, and an additional $5 million for a government-wide fund that will enable agencies to reap the knowledge gained from lab-testing emerging technologies without having to conduct duplicative tests themselves. The $16.7 million is far lower than the $34 million per year that the administration had allocated for e-government initiatives in 2009 and 2010, but it’s more than the $12.4 million that congressional appropriators approved late last year for fiscal 2012. The administration and open government advocates had to vigorously fight off appropriators’ efforts to slash the funds for e-government initiatives during last year's budget battles. Read More

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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.

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tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us 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 Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com 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.

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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.

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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.

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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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