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Will Online Political Targeting Generate a Voter Backlash?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 7 2012

A recent study finds an overwhelming majority of Americans do not want targeted political advertising, but industry insiders dismiss the results. They say that unlike broadcast or direct mail, their ads are delivered anonymously. They're missing another difference: With Internet advertising, the viewer can talk back. And they may be ignoring this at their peril. Read More

[OP-ED] Big Data: What Happens When Elections Become Social Engineering Competitions

BY David Parry | Tuesday, June 26 2012

Courtesy Estate of John Fekner 2008

UT-Dallas assistant professor David Parry argues that big data and message targeting endangers democracy. Read More

First POST: All Shook Up

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, March 22 2012

Photo: Flickr/DonkeyHotey

Today's news: A round-up of reactions to Romney Adviser Eric Fehrnstrom's comment about campaigns being like Etch-A-Sketch; Nielsen shares its findings about the demographics of the presidential candidates' online audience; a look at Harry Potter activism; more on Kony 2012; and New York City wants to run its own TLD. Read More

San Francisco, Organizational Hub for a New Class of National Politicos

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, March 8 2012

From left to right: Chris Kelly, Christine Pelosi and Fred Davis at Rally's Super Tuesday party. Photo: Rally.

What was unusual about an evening Super Tuesday gathering in San Francisco was that many of the people there aren't working in a startup aimed at making some commercial aspect of life easier, faster and more fun. Instead, they are part of a generation of people with both political and tech savvy, using the web to fundamentally alter politics in general and specific campaigns in particular. For these people, the promise of a networked world and a new, networked politics — where people connecting outside the by-all-accounts-flawed and scandal-fraught party apparatus are starting to make an impact — is coming into focus. And rather than using their knowledge of the technology world to start the next Facebook, they're building a cadre of Silicon Valley companies that work in public affairs — not just non-profits, government, and civic life, but politics and campaigns. Read More

Did Newt Gingrich Lose Florida for Want of a Better API?

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, February 2 2012

Slate's Sasha Issenberg has a great story outlining one narrative about Newt Gingrich's loss in Florida: He inspired a group of tech-savvy volunteers, but gave them no way to plug in to the campaign. 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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