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In Vietnam, Activist Group Takes a “SexyBack” Approach to Fighting Censorship

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, October 1 2013

Screenshot from the Facebook Back video parody below

You know all that witty (and not-so-witty) banter about the government shutdown taking place on your Facebook newsfeed right now? In Vietnam that would be illegal.

Since the draconian Decree 72 went into effect on September 1, citizens are banned from discussing news and current events—or really anything that does not pertain to themselves personally—on blogs or social media sites. Activists and bloggers, however, cannot capitulate to the government's restrictions, not when bloggers and citizens journalists have become the “de facto media.” That's why the pro-democracy group Viet Tan offers virtual training in cybersecurity for bloggers and activists.

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WeGov

Three Years Later, IPaidABribe.com Pays Off

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, September 23 2013

Anti-corruption, bit by bit Pranav Singh/Flickr

After reporting a bribe on IPaidABribe.com, one Bangalore student has had the satisfaction of seeing action taken against a corrupt public official.

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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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WeGov

Can Facebook India Convince 17 Million New Voters To Register?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, September 9 2013

Screenshot of the Facebook India announcement

Last week the Times of India announced they are collaborating with Facebook in their campaign to enroll voters, especially young voters. Facebook India users will now have the option of adding 'Registered to Vote' to their Facebook profile, under the section for Life Events – Travel & Experiences.

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WeGov

Digital Technology and the Two Cambodias: Have and Have Not

BY Anne Nelson | Wednesday, August 21 2013

The price of dissent (credit: Anne Nelson)

While visitors to Phnom Penh might be impressed by the glass-and-steel towers and the rapid Internet access, the truth is that most Cambodians have no access to electricity, let alone WiFi. What does this mean for the development of this emerging Southeast Asian economy? Read More

WeGov

Citizen Journalism and mGovernance in Rural India

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, August 19 2013

Imagine nearly 20 million people without access to news and current events. In the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, language barriers, illiteracy, lack of Internet access and strict radio regulations exclude millions living in rural communities from the mainstream media. A voice messaging service called CGNet Swara overcomes those obstacles and empowers anyone in rural India with a cell phone to become a citizen journalist.

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WeGov

India Launches Open Data Portal

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, August 13 2013

On Thursday August 8 the Indian government launched an open data portal with more than 3,500 data sets from 49 different government offices. The website, Data Portal India (data.gov.in), has been compared to similar websites launched by the US in 2009 and the UK in 2010. Read More

WeGov

Restrictions on Social Media Target Vietnamese Citizen Journalists

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, August 5 2013

Nguyen Tan Dung, PM of Vietnam (Wikipedia>)

An amendment to Vietnam's already draconian Internet laws bans Internet users from sharing “compiled information” on their websites, blogs or social media pages. The decree will make the government's ongoing persecution of activist bloggers and citizen journalists completely legal. Signed into law by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on July 15, the new regulations will go into effect September 1.

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WeGov

Crowdsourced Internet Freedom Bill a First for Filipino Lawmakers

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 31 2013

Philippine Congress (Wikipedia)

Only a week into a new congressional term, lawmakers in the Philippines have introduced bills that would repeal overreaching anti-cybercrime laws and put in place protections for Internet users. The bill known as The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom was actually the product of a spontaneous crowdsourced initiative led by six connected and tech-savvy self-identified “tweeps.”

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Indian National Congress Skirts Political Twitter War By Launching Own Social Media Site

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 29 2013

Screenshot of Khidkee

India's grand old party, the Indian National Congress, is losing the political war taking place on the most popular social media platforms. With general elections for the lower house of India's parliament coming up in 2014, Congress leaders are revamping their social media strategy. Part of their out-of-left-field solution was to launch their own social media platform. A Facebook and Twitter hybrid, Khidkee went live July 23.

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