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What To Do With Those Fake Photos From Venezuela

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, February 24 2014

A photo from a 2011 Al Jazeera story about student protests in Chile was repurposed in Venezuela earlier this month.

WeGov

Need to Tell Ma and Pa You've Been Arrested? In Egypt, There's An App For That

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, January 3 2014

When Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Ebd El Fattah was beaten and arrested in his own home at the end of November, his wife and fellow blogger Manal El Fattah were there to document and report the arrest on Twitter. But what of activists or journalists arrested alone, without friends or witnesses? They can now use the Android application Byt2ebed 3alia to alert family, friends and legal counsel that they are being arrested.

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WeGov

Japanese PM Thinks His People Just Don't Understand The State Secrecy Bill

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, December 9 2013

Shinzo Abe shakes hands with President Bush (Wikipedia)

In spite of objections from human rights activists and members of the media around the world, Japan's upper chamber made the controversial State Secrecy Protection Bill law in a “raucous, late-night session” last Friday, December 6, Reuters reports. The House of Representatives passed the bill on November 26. Under the new law, state employees could be jailed for up to 10 years if they leak secrets, and journalists could be jailed for up to five if they use “grossly inappropriate” tactics to uncover state secrets. The passage of the bill has sparked uncharacteristically large protests in a country where protesters have often been considered a part of the political fringe.

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WeGov

Egyptian Authorities Extend Detainment of Prominent Activist and Blogger

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, December 2 2013

Alaa Abd El Fattah speaking at the 2011 Personal Democracy Forum

On the night of November 28, well-known Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah was arrested by Egyptian security forces for his involvement in a demonstration against a new law meant to repress political protests. Fattah and fellow activist Ahmad Maher were arrested for allegedly organizing the demonstration without the requisite three day advance notice to the Interior Ministry, a stipulation of the new law they were protesting. On December 1, a prosecutor ordered the release of Ahmed Maher, but renewed Alaa Abd El Fattah's detention for 15 days.

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A Dispatch from #OccupyWallStreet, the Wired — and Wireless — Protest

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, October 6 2011

It was windy and loud on Broadway last night and Carey Tan hadn't finished making her sign. "I guess I've been a little bit politically active," said Tan, 26. "But never anything like this." Tan crouched over two pieces ... Read More

A Look at #OccupyWallStreet's Internet-Powered Protest Engine

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, October 4 2011

Occupy Wall Street protesters march on the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 1. Photo: blulaces / Flickr Vanessa Zettler moved to New York from Brazil about a year ago, and says she was among the first to find out that Occupy Wall ... Read More

#OccupyWallStreet Communications Technology: 'If You Cannot Hear, Point Upwards'

BY Nick Judd | Monday, October 3 2011

The protesters on Wall Street came up with some new technology for communicating to a big crowd without a microphone: Their own set of hand signals. Here's a basic guide, as laid out in Occupy Wall Street's cleanly ... Read More

In the Networked World, Police Violence Is a Gift for #OccupyWallStreet Protesters

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, September 29 2011

When Occupy Wall Street — a protest organized largely online to take over some space open to the public in the financial capital of the world here in New York and in so doing voice displeasure with the way big ... Read More

#OccupyWallStreet Protesters Turn Online to Organize

BY Nick Judd | Monday, September 19 2011

Protesters on Wall Street on Sept. 17. Photo: Paul Weiskel / Flickr Hundreds of people converged on Wall Street this weekend to protest corporate influence over politics, an event that began Saturday after a call to ... Read More

In Syria, the Dead Conceal the Living

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, August 4 2011

From The Guardian's ongoing live blog of events in the Middle East: Protesters say they have been taking the sim cards of those shot dead so that they can talk to each other and media without being tracked, Nour Ali (a ... Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

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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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

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