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Seven Lessons from SOPA/PIPA/Megaupload and Four Proposals on Where We Go From Here

BY Yochai Benkler | Wednesday, January 25 2012

Yochai Benkler photo by Joichi Ito, CC-BY 2.0

A guest post from Yochai Benkler, who writes: "On Wednesday, January 18, 2012, a new model of politics succeeded in bringing to a halt legislation that had been pushed by some of the most powerful industry lobbies in Washington, which began its life with broad bi-partisan support in both chambers of Congress. The political calculus seems to have changed drastically this week, and we need to understand how to exploit and harness the changing winds to expand and lock in this initial victory." Read More

After SOPA/PIPA Victory, Tech is Thinking About Tackling Political Reform

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 24 2012

Illustration: Shutterstock

In the wake of last week's online uprising against the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, there's a fascinating dynamic starting to unfold as technology leaders and grassroots activists wrestle with the question: now what? Read More

The Day the Internet Started Fighting Congress

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, January 18 2012

Ron Conway at an anti-SOPA rally in San Francisco on Wednesday. Photo: Sarah Lai Stirland / techPresident

Throngs of technologists took to the streets in New York and San Francisco Wednesday to protest controversial anti-piracy legislation now before Congress, two of five events planned across the country, as many people who depend on Internet freedom for their livelihood shuttered their websites for the day and marched in an unprecedented level of political cohesiveness from online industry. Read More

Are PIPA and SOPA Dead? White House Issues Strong Declaration Against Its Key Provisions

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Saturday, January 14 2012

Is there light at the end of the tunnel for Internet activists? Illustration: Kainet / Flickr

The Obama administration on Saturday took the unprecedented step of engaging the internet community online about the problems that a pair of controversial online intellectual property protection bills would cause online businesses and start-ups. Read More

Protesting SOPA: There's An App (Actually Several) For That

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, January 13 2012

Tony Webster and Andy Baird have put up virtual protest signs in front of websites belonging to entities that support SOPA

A new Chrome plug-in flags web sites belonging to companies and entities that support the Stop Online Piracy Act, controversial anti-piracy legislation. Once at one of these web sites, Chrome browser users with this plug-in see a red bar at the top of the web page that reads: “Internet Blacklist Legislation Supporter! This company may be a supporter of the dangerous SOPA or PIPA legislation.” Clicking on the bar takes them to a Reddit page with an FAQ about the legislation. Welcome to the emerging world of programmer activism, in which protests against ideas they find objectionable manifest in code and not just letters to lawmakers. Read More

PIPA Sponsor Will Cut Domain Name Blocking Provision From Measure

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, January 12 2012

Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, (D-Vermont) said on Thursday that he will cut a controversial domain name blocking provision from an online intellectual property protection bill he is sponsoring in response to ... Read More

Cheezburger Sites To Be Blacked Out January 18 To Protest SOPA and PIPA

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, January 12 2012

Photo: icanhazcheezburger.com

Ben Huh, the CEO of the home of the Lolcats and more, plans to black out his network of sites January 18th, along with Reddit, to protest Congress' current effort to enact controversial online intellectual property legislation. Read More

Geeks Gear Up To Fight Online IP Bills, PIPA, SOPA

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, January 11 2012

Picture: Isaac Mao

Activists advocating an open Internet and worried that the Senate could fast-track a controversial online intellectual property protection bill are coalescing on the web and getting together to set up meetings with their ... Read More

SOPA: In Congress, Who's For And Who's Against, And Why? Mashing Up Public Data, SOPAOpera.org Offers Suggestions

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, January 10 2012

SOPAOpera.org, a project of ProPublica Developer/Journalist Dan Nguyen.

ProPublica's Dan Nguyen has put together a beautiful and amazingly useful new site that serves as a quick and easy reference point regarding who is for and against a pair of controversial online intellectual property protection bills currently speeding through Congress. Read More

Reddit Jumps On The Anti-SOPA Bandwagon

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, December 14 2011

Reddit is the latest social site to interrupt users' experience of its platform to urge action against the Stop Online Piracy Act. The social link sharing site is hosting a link to a Mobile Commons online petitioning tool which can help users call their member of Congress. Reddit is urging users to make that call and tell their lawmakers to block the House Judiciary Committee's approval of SOPA, which is scheduled to come before the committee on Thursday. Read More

News Briefs

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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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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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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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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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