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Obama Confronts German NSA Skepticism in TV Interview But Doubts Remain

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, January 21 2014

Obama tells Claus Kleber, no point in having intelligence if you're restricted to reading media reports (credit: Screenshot/ZDF)

President Obama directly confronted some of the significant skepticism toward U.S. surveillance among the German public in an exclusive interview with German public broadcaster ZDF following his speech Friday. Beyond emphasizing the importance of restoring a trust in German-U.S. relations and dispelling worries about surveillance of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the interview's back-and-forth also prompted Obama to spell out the necessary balance he sees between U.S. responsibilities as a country with the most advanced capabilities and inevitable innovation in the area of digital surveillance. German reaction to the interview and the speech was muted, with many German news commentators expressing concern that Obama's vision is in effect a new world order upending established concepts of privacy, rule of law and limited surveillance. Read More

Kerry, Clinton talk Cybersecurity and State Department Cyber-Diplomacy at Hearings

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, January 25 2013

At his confirmation hearing Thursday, Secretary of State-designate John Kerry addressed how he views Internet-based threats, echoing comments made by current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the day before at a House hearing on the Benghazi incident. Read More

State Dept. Calls for Apps for E. Africa, By E. Africans

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, July 1 2010

The U.S. State Department and local entrepreneurs announced the launch of an Apps 4 Africa contest in Nairobi earlier today. Read More

The Obama-Clinton One-Two Tech-Powered Public Diplomacy Punch

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, July 16 2009

If you spent much time reading the commentary around Hillary Clinton's Council on Foreign Relations speech yesterday, you just couldn't get away from the idea that this marked Clinton's attempt to plant her own flag as ... Read More

Texting Diplomacy: Spreading Obama's Cairo Speech, Chunk by Chunk

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, June 4 2009

The forward-thinking State Department provided back-up for President Obama's address from Egypt earlier today by reaching out to foreign audiences where they live: on their cell phones. The State Department set up a ... Read More

On the Absence of Women from the U.S. Tech Delegation to Iraq

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, May 26 2009

As our Ari Melber noted below, we and other commentators have taken note that Secretary Hillary Clinton's State Department embraced the Internet with gusto -- taking to the web not only as a work tool, but as a potential ... Read More

Clinton Calls on Barnard Grads to Engage in "Digital Diplomacy"

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, May 19 2009

The zeal of a convert is perhaps not an inapt phrase to described the passion with which Hillary Clinton has taken to social media since being appointed Secretary of State. Her presidential campaign wasn't known for ... Read More

Tweet of Approval: Bush-Era Public Diplomat Likes Obama Nominee

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, April 28 2009

How people learned about the internal wranglings over diplomatic nominations in the dark and dank pre-Twitter era, well, beats me. You picked up a phone and questioned sources or something? Dunno. 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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