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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

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NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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NDI Launches Open Source DemTools for International Development

Yesterday the National Democratic Institute launched a suite of web-based applications created for their partner organizations, mostly pro-democracy groups and political parties around the world. These “DemTools,” which are ready-to-use but can also be customized, will give organizations in developing countries some of the capabilities that political activists and parties in the United States have had for years. Moreover, since the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is making the promise to host partner organization's applications in the cloud essentially forever, they hope these applications will help usher in a period of more sustainable tech.

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