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WeGov

Secret Raytheon Software is a Search Engine For Spying on Social Media Activity

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, February 14 2013

Screengrab from a video obtained by the Guardian, of a Raytheon employee demonstrating the uses of RIOT.

Earlier this week The Guardian broke the news that US-based defense contractor and security firm Raytheon has developed software over the past two years that can comprehensively track activity across social media platforms.  Across the web, people have weighed in on how this “Google for spies” will affect the future of surveillance – and the US government’s infiltration of the lives of foreign citizens. 

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WeGov

In the Digital Age, An Unmapped Place Becomes a Forgotten Place

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, February 13 2013

Today’s digital maps can showcase a world of hyperlocal data and history; as of this past month, even North Korea has been meticulously cataloged by Google Maps volunteers.  Yet while some locations maintain a robust digital presence – with Wikipedia, Google, and other geolocational initiatives reinforcing their virtual existence – blank spots on the world map can fall behind exponentially, running the risk for digital obscurity. 

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WeGov

YouTube Launches Dedicated Channel for Kenya Elections Coverage

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, February 5 2013

The new Kenya Elections YouTube Channel.

Kenya’s most wired election season ever is in high gear, with one month to go until polls open.  Now Google, a leader in the burgeoning Kenyan tech sector, has expanded its Kenya Elections Hub site with a dedicated YouTube channel for election coverage. 

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WeGov

After Transforming Warfare, Drones Set to Enter the Domestic Scene

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, February 4 2013

A commercially available Quadrocopter drone (Wikimedia Commons)

A lot of modern conveniences have shadowy military roots — think the Internet and the microwave oven – but could drones soon be making an appearance at backyard BBQs and small-town police stations near you? Lev Grossman writes in Time this week that a domestic drone future is on the horizon for the US — and that it may arrive before the government or civilians can work out the ethical and constitutional implications of their use. Read More

WeGov

Can Data About Mobile User Behavior Build a Credit Score?

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 30 2013

Cignifi generates credit scores from data collected on mobile users.

In some emerging economies, consumers seeking to take out a loan or sign up for a credit card can face a significant hassle: not having the credit history to prove monetary responsibility. Now several organizations are aiming to help potential borrowers by looking a non-traditional line of credit into consideration: mobile phone use. Read More

WeGov

France Orders Twitter to Identify Users Posting Hate Speech

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 25 2013

Twitter has been ordered to provide identifying information for French users participating in racist and anti-Semitic discourse on the social network. The ruling was handed down Thursday by a Paris court in response to a lawsuit brought on by several rights groups. The American company,which maintains a policy of not screening content posted by its users, has yet to articulate its response. Read More

WeGov

Does Davos Tech Idealism Actually Do Anything?

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 24 2013

Flickr/World Economic Forum.

The World Economic Forum is ongoing in Davos, Switzerland this week, with 2,600 representatives from organizations around the world coming together under the banner of “resilient dynamism,” the optimistic — if abstruse — theme for the 2013 conference. Read More

WeGov

Eric Schmidt and His Daughter Both Share Thoughts on North Korea Trip

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 23 2013

It might not get weirder than this: Sophie Schmidt posts about the North Korea trip.

Google’s Eric Schmidt and his daughter have both shared thoughts online about their visit to North Korea earlier this month, in a delegation led by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. Read More

WeGov

Breaking Silence, Eric Schmidt Says North Korea Needs Internet Freedom

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 11 2013

Eric Schmidt has broken his radio silence on the subject of his North Korea trip. After returning to Beijing yesterday, Schmidt spoke frankly to members of the press, saying that it’s time for the DPRK to implement Internet freedoms. Read More

WeGov

Schmidt and Richardson Have Arrived in North Korea and Are Touring Computer Facilities

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 9 2013

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt Tours a Computer Lab at Kim Il Sung University (screengrab from AP video)

Google’s Eric Schmidt arrived in North Korea earlier this week on a humanitarian visit led by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. On Tuesday, the group — which also includes Google Ideas director Jared Cohen, formerly of the State Department — was taken on a whirlwind tour of computer facilities in the capital of Pyongyang. Read More