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What We Really (Should) Talk About When We Talk About Big Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, March 7 2014

Corporations don't need census data to guess your race & use it against you (Wikipedia)

Discrimination. Redlining. Racial profiling. These practices predate the Internet, and yet there is every indication that technology can enable infringements on civil rights to an even greater extent than before. Last week, in an effort to put civil rights at the forefront of the ongoing debate about digital privacy and security, a coalition of civil and human rights organizations jointly released “Civil Rights Principles for the Era of Big Data,” five tenets to guide policy-making.

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WeGov

Worried About The NSA? Be Glad You Don't Live In India

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, September 11 2013

Last week The Economic Times reported that India's massive surveillance apparatus known as the Centralised Monitoring System (CMS) will be “operational soon”—this in spite of the fact that some believed it to be at work as early as May of this year. When CMS finally made headlines, activists worried that India's existing privacy laws wouldn't be enough to protect consumers from snooping government officials abusing their powers. Low and behold—on September 9 The Hindu reported that India's 160 million Internet users are already being thoroughly surveilled, and that the government's activities violate laws meant to ensure “privacy of communications.”

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Can an NSA-Proof Chat Be as Easy As Using Facebook?

BY Sam Roudman | Friday, August 2 2013

Photo: zzpza / Flickr

As it turns out, the government really can watch quite a lot of what you do online — maybe even to a greater degree than lawmakers meant to allow. That's sparking a sudden surge of interest in tools to help people preserve their privacy. There's just one problem: More often than not, those tools are awfully hard to use. Read More

What Electronic Surveillance Would Mean in James Comey's FBI

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, July 9 2013

At his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing today, nominee for director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey said that the collection of metadata is an important tool for counterterrorism efforts, but suggested that a different standard applied to the content of communications. The secret court that authorizes counterterorrism surveillance, he said, is "anything but a rubber stamp." Read More

[Editorial] Reading Hillary Clinton on Internet Freedom and Edward Snowden

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, July 2 2013

German Pirate Party demonstration in Berlin during President Obama's recent visit (Photo by Mike Herbst, Flickr)

In the wake of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations, techPresident's editorial director Micah Sifry wonders, what, if anything, is left of Hillary Clinton's "Internet Freedom" agenda. The answer is not much. Read More

WeGov

Internet Users Learn to Protect their Online Privacy at Crypto Parties

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, October 9 2012

CryptoParty symbol taken from Wikipage.

Even ostensibly transparent, liberal democracies are increasingly considering legislation that would limit online freedom and privacy. To combat these measures, CryptoParties bring together ordinary Internet users at events held at cities around the world where they learn how to protect their right to online privacy. Read More

Commentary: Is the Open Web Doomed? Open Your Eyes and Relax

BY Esther Dyson | Monday, February 6 2012

Photo by Joshua Sherman, PdF 2011

In a guest commentary by Esther Dyson, the longtime friend of Personal Democracy, technology writer and investor writes: "With Facebook going public and Google threatened by apps and closed services such as FB, is the open web doomed? You might think so after reading the dueling blog posts of John Battelle, Robert Scoble and Dave Winer in the past few days. But things are a bit more complicated." Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed 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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