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Hacktivism

Anonymous. WikiLeaks. LulzSec. Today's tech-powered politics includes renegade factions, outsider forces and merry pranksters who sometimes break the law and often break social norms in their desire to make change. Not to be confused with civic hackers, today's hacktivists are using new media as well as ingenious social strategies to disrupt and destabilize the existing order. Not everyone agrees with their tactics, and vibrant debates have broken out over whether this is genuine online civil disobedience, or disobedience of a kind that has chosen to stop being civil.

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Revolution 2.0

Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who set up a Facebook page that was a prominent force in helping galvanize the January 25, 2011 revolution in Egypt, has said, "If you want to liberate a society, just give them the Internet." While things aren't so simple, and authoritarian governments are also using technology to control their populations and suppress movements for change, there's no question that organizers and activists are using the net to rattle and in some cases help overthrow powerful regimes. Here's a select set of some of techPresident's best coverage and commentary.

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Obama 2012

In 2008, the Barack Obama campaign built an online juggernaut. With 13 million emails, nearly 4 million donors, 2 million members of the My.BarackObama.com social network, and tens of thousands of engaged activists, Obama's team broke new ground in using the internet to build a new kind of powerful political machine. In 2012, they worked hard to reengage their base and re-invent how campaigns use technology to move voters and win elections. And the results: a critical increase in targeted turnout, built on top of an even bigger list and volunteer base.

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Malcolm Gladwell

We can't resist. Everybody's favorite social theorist and business writer, Malcolm Gladwell made waves in 2010-11 when he waded into the international debate on the role of social media in the Arab Spring and declared that "The Revolution Will Not Be Twittered." Below, our favorite responses to Gladwell.

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Facebook Nation

If Facebook were a country it would be the third biggest in the world. For many of its one billion users, Facebook is indeed their home base online. Everyone, from politicians to revolutionary movements, is using the site to advance their causes. And this raises all kinds of important questions, from how to make the most of Facebook, to how to make sure Facebook treats its users fairly.

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Online Organizing

Here comes everybody? Well, almost. As more people get their hands on the tools of communication and collaboration, it's become ridiculously easy to form a group and agitate around any case. But for all the multiplying ways that we're discovering to network and connect, online organizing still takes knowledge and practice. Giant e-groups like MoveOn.org, with its millions of email members, are constantly honing their approach.

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Occupy Wall Street

The same youth-driven, hyper-networked wave of grassroots protests against economic inequality and political oligarchy that have been rocking countries as disparate as Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Greece and Spain have hit America. The occupation of the Wisconsin state legislature last winter was a harbinger, but now all kinds of previously disconnected individuals, loosely centered on a core of beautiful-style troublemakers and inspired by events and methods honed overseas, are linking up and showing up to occupy symbolically important centers in their cities and campuses.

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WeGov

All over the world, groups and individuals are using technology in a variety of innovative ways to increase government transparency, fight corruption, open data, hack on civic problems, strengthen economic development, address environmental problems, improve public health and education, and advance the conditions of women and children.

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Fonts of Wisdom

From Gotham to Helvetica, Fedra to Serifs, the typography of politics has played a subtle but critical role in shaping how we relate to campaigns online. Good design matters, and over the years we've spotted all kinds of wisdom in the way things are presented and branded.

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Egypt

Egypt has been called the center of Arab civilization, and today it is the red hot center of the Arab Spring. What happens there is influencing the entire region, and creating ripples even in places like Madison, Wisconsin. Below, links to features covering some of the seminal leaders and moments in Egypt's struggle to create a more democratic future.

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News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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tuesday >

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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monday >

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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