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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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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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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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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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