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First POST: Slippery Slopes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 1 2014

Why the CIA is fighting so hard to keep that Senate report on torture secret; OkCupid tells visitors using Firefox to use a different browser; why decentralized mesh networks should matter to dissident political movements; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Secret Sharers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 27 2014

Jimmy Carter on Edward Snowden; Airbnb partners with Portland as a "shared city"; open data engagement strategies from around the world; and much, much more. 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

First POST: Welcome to the NBA

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, January 16 2014

Reading the tea-leaves before President Obama's NSA reform speech Friday; Fred Wilson explains why the end of net neutrality spells bad news for tech start-ups; SayIt, a new tool for annotating public transcripts, launches; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Battle Lines

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 15 2014

Previewing President Obama's Friday speech on NSA reform; dealing with the defeat of the FCC's "open internet" rule"; tracking the winners of the Knight News Challenge health round and the New Media Ventures innovation fund; and much, much more. Read More

Interview: Why Fight For the Future Is Supporting Bitcoin

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, December 3 2013

Bitcoin banknote

Last week, Fight for the Future, the Internet freedom group that played a big role in kicking off the movement that stopped the SOPA and PIPA bills, announced that it was taking on a new cause: Bitcoin. Together with Bitcoin evangelist Jon Holmquist, they put together ">BitcoinBlackFriday.com" as a hub for more than 250 online vendors who are accepting the digital currency, some of them offering special deals through the site. The vendors include OK Cupid, Reddit, CheapAir.com, and the Internet Archive. What follows is a short interview with the group's co-founders as to why they're backing the controversial digital currency. Read More

Law on the Internet is "Whack-a-Mole" for The Good Wife

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, November 25 2013

Reddit clone "Scabbit" on CBS' The Good Wife (screencap)

The Good Wife took on the futility of trying to enforce law on the Internet Sunday night with a storyline that echoed the problems that arose from the crowdsourcing of the Boston Marathon bombing investigation on Reddit, in the aptly named episode "Whack-a-Mole," giving some high profile TV attention to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Not surprisingly, the episode has already spawned a thread on Reddit itself. Read More

First POST: Smorgasbord

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, September 23 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: New details on how the NSA's public review panel is being managed by the people its supposed to oversee; Ecuador wants to reimagine itself as a peer-to-peer network; Kate Losse accuses Dave Eggers of appropriating her Facebook memoir; a nifty new Twitter search tool from the Knight Lab at Northwestern; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Informed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, August 7 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Cory Booker's web of tech industry backers; more questions about the NSA; and maybe Jeff Bezos just wanted to buy power in DC the old-fashioned way, by owning media; and much much more. Read More

This New Hack Keeps You Up to Date on House Floor Votes as if You Were There

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, July 25 2013

House votes are hard enough for members of Congress to follow, let alone the general public — but a new app proposes to make it easier for people to stay abreast of action on Capitol Hill no matter where they are. Called "Capitol Bells," the new tool attracted attention on Reddit through an AMA session with its creator, 29-year-old mechanical engineer and former Hill staffer Ted Henderson. Read More

News Briefs

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Civic Hackers Call on de Blasio to Fill Technology Vacancies

New York City technology advocates on Wednesday called on the de Blasio administration to fill vacancies in top technology policy positions, expressing some frustration at the lack of a leadership team to implement a cohesive technology strategy for the city. GO

China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.

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wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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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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