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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.

WeGov

After 3-Day Internet Shutdown, Syria's Regime is Now Targeting Activists with Powerful New Malware

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, December 6 2012

When the Syrian Internet system was cut off last week, observers feared the regime had cut the civilian population off for good so that the army could do its worst without having to worry about activists filming massacres and uploading the footage to YouTube. In fact the Internet was restored after three days. But now the regime is using powerful new malware to target activists. Read More

Wael Ghonim: Why 'Engagism' is More Valuable Than Activism

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, February 20 2012

Wael Ghonim at Harvard Kennedy School, February 3, 2012. Photo by Martha Stewart.

Micah Sifry writes: "Ghonim's new book, "Revolution 2.0--The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power: A Memoir," is a revelation ... It is both a careful and thoughtful retelling of the roots of Egypt's uprising and the nuts-and-bolts of Ghonim's online organizing as well as an inspiring illustration of a trend that will be familiar to many techPresident readers. That is, how a new generation that is growing up networked keeps spawning "free radicals"--people who teach themselves how to use technology to build community, share powerful messages and then ultimately weave movements for social change." Read More

Book Review: Consent of the Networked

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, February 3 2012

Book cover for Rebecca MacKinnon's "Consent of the Networked"

Last night, a crowd of more than one hundred gathered on the sixth floor of MIT's Media Lab to help Rebecca MacKinnon launch her new book, The Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom. The audience included net luminaries like Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, and Andrew Newman, the director of the Tor Project, and the discussion was at the same level. Herewith, my thoughts on her book salted by some observations from the event. Read More

For Activists, the Syrian Internet Hasn't Gone Dark — It's Just a Dark Place

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, July 13 2011

Fear of Syrian government retaliation against people who use social media to find and coordinate protests is now keeping Syrians off those platforms, Reuters reports: I am too scared to speak about my political activity ... Read More

Meanwhile, Back in Tunisia, They're Drafting a Constitution on PiratePad

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, March 9 2011

Well, not exactly. But we keep seeing hints and signs that the revolutionary spirit of Tunisia is heavily influenced by open source culture, or what BoingBoing might call "happy mutant" thinking. To wit, on March 4th, ... Read More

How Social Media Accelerated Tunisia's Revolution: An Inside View

BY Colin Delany | Thursday, February 10 2011

Originally published on Epolitics.com Did Twitter and Facebook "cause" the Tunisian Revolution and the protests in Egypt? Not according to Malcolm Gladwell, as he and others have questioned the role of social media in ... Read More

Wael Ghonim, Egypt, and Viral Revolution

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, February 9 2011

Image by celinecelines Read More

Egypt, Tunisia: Generation TXT Comes of Age?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 1 2011

While I completely agree with Matthew Ingram, whose post "It's Not Twitter or Facebook, It's the Power of the Network" should be must-reading as an antidote to all the overheated media commentary about which tech tool is ... Read More

Tech and the Pooling of Tunisians' Disgust

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, January 18 2011

Image credit: magharebia Read More

Who Organized Tunisia's Revolution?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Saturday, January 15 2011

I'm trying to finish my Qwikileaks book, but events in Tunisia and the commentary around them spurs this quick comment: Read More

A "Twitter Revolution"? A Second Look at the Uprising in Moldova

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, April 10 2009

Back in my high school days, I hosted a sophisticated little soiree amongst some close friends that happened to turn into a raging kegger requiring of police intervention. How'd it happen? One friend called another, who ... Read More

Egyptian Activists Challenge Facebook-Enabled Diplomacy 2.0

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, December 4 2008

The anonymous Egyptian youth activist with the Shabab 6 April movement at today's Alliance of Youth Movements Summit at Columbia University law school had a bone to pick with Facebook, but reserved his ire for the ... Read More

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Civic Hackers Call on de Blasio to Fill Technology Vacancies

New York City technology advocates on Wednesday called on the de Blasio administration to fill vacancies in top technology policy positions, expressing some frustration at the lack of a leadership team to implement a cohesive technology strategy for the city. GO

China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.

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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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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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