Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Launch Codes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 4 2014

The latest on the Crimea crisis; Sen. Al Franken casts doubt on the Comcast-Time Warner merger; Vice, Brookings and GovLab all have new launches; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: The Internet Is...

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, February 26 2014

Just how bad is the Internet's future?; Why Marc Andreessen is bullish about the future of news; how one upstart gubernatorial candidate is innovating online; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Telegram: Viable WhatsApp Alternative from Russia, But Still Questionably Secure

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, February 26 2014

Telegram (U.S. National Archives/Wikipedia)

After Facebook bought the messaging application WhatsApp on February 19 for a whopping $19 billion dollars, the messaging app Telegram, a product of the “Russian Zuckerberg” Pavel Durov, surged in popularity.

Read More

WeGov

Making "NSA-Proof" Social Networking Mainstream

BY Carola Frediani | Tuesday, February 18 2014

Even Internet Grandma Can Use It? (credit: KnowYourMeme)

Webmail services like Yahoo and Google and social networks like Facebook and Twitter are convenient and efficient platforms, as well as easy to use, but they collect massive amounts of user data that can facilitate intelligence spying and other types of snooping. Meanwhile, securer methods of communication are often cumbersome and overly technical for the average user who would like to send an email without having to download and set up various software. Yet after Edward Snowden’s leaks, an increasing demand for securer alternatives has led to the development of anti-surveillance products with an eye towards being user friendly. Read More

First POST: Fingerprints and Fire Insurance

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 18 2014

How the NSA and GCHQ targeted WikiLeaks, Anonymous and Pirate Bay; why collecting Americans' phone metadata is just like fingerprinting and buying fire insurance; how the paper lobby is hoping to keep the government from going online; and much, much more. Read More

The Server Fights Back: Calyx Foundation Bakes in Security With Experiment

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, February 13 2014

Nick Merrill of the Calyx Institute

Secure communication online is possible; it’s still just really hard. Take for instance secure chat tools. Jabber (aka XMPP) is a chat protocol that has been a part of facebook chat and gchat over the years, but although it features a number of extensions that allow for encryption, there’s no guarantee they’ll get used, or that users will even know they exist. A server experiment by Nick Merrill at the Calyx Institute hints that the secret to greater adoption might be a matter of employing a behavioral insight enunciated by noted technology scholars DEVO in 1980: freedom of choice is what you got, freedom from choice is what you want. Read More

WeGov

Turkey: "We Need Internet Censorship, Because Violence Against Women"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, February 13 2014

A controversial anti-Internet freedom ad from Turkey

The draconian Internet legislation that was working its way through the Turkish government in January passed February 5. To coincide with the new legislation, the Turkish government launched a disturbing advertising campaign that seems to equate a free and open internet with violence. The accompanying picture is of a woman with a bruised eye.

Read More

The Day After The Day We Fought Back: Another Anti-Surveillance Campaign Already in the Works

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, February 12 2014

Reset button (Greg McMullin/Flickr)

Yesterday was the day the Internet fought back against mass surveillance. According to The Day We Fight Back website, roughly 86,815 calls were made to legislators and 179,682 emails were sent. The question is—what to do now? Luckily, the nonprofit organization Fight for the Future already has something in mind. They are in the process of recruiting participants and building support for the campaign Reset the Net, which will likely take place this spring.

Read More

The Day We - But Not Wikipedia - Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 11 2014

Screen shot of the defunct Wikipedia planning page for The Day We Fight Back

Drop by the Wikipedia main page today and you will find a featured article on the constellation Perseus. Conspicuously absent is The Day We Fight Back banner so many other websites like reddit, Boing Boing, and Upworthy are flying. Nor did they set Edward Snowden as the featured article, as someone suggested in a thread on what, if any, action should be taken today. Although it was discussed in multiple Wikipedia forums, no consensus was ever reached, and so Wikipedia is sitting this one out.

Read More

First POST: Fight Club

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 11 2014

More than 6,000 websites and organizations are "fighting back" against NSA mass surveillance today; Not included among them, Wikipedia, which was critical to the anti-SOPA/PIPA coalition; a new mobile app Secret seems in tune with the new privacy zeitgeist, or is it?, and much, much more. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

More