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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

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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