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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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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

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

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wednesday >

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media and India's General Election

The biggest democratic election in the world to date is taking place in India from April 7 to May 14, and, for the first time in India, the results might hinge on who runs a better social media campaign. The Mumbai research firm Iris Knowledge Foundation has said that Facebook will “wield a tremendous influence” but Indian politicians are not limiting their attentions to India's most popular social media platform. In addition to virtual campaigning are initiatives to inform, educate and encourage Indians to participate in their democracy.

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EU Court Rejects Data Retention Law, But Data Retention Won't End Overnight

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg struck down a data retention law Tuesday that required telecoms to keep customers' communications data for up to two years, declaring it violated privacy rights. However, experts warn that the ruling will have no automatic effect on relevant laws in member states, which could lead to “messy consequences.”

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