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Google and Twitter "Transparency Reports" a Window On Surveillance, and Maybe a Call for Reform

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, January 30 2013

The ever-expanding focus of "transparency reports" released by Google and Twitter are among the best tools available to advocates for reforming electronic privacy laws, Electronic Frontier Foundation activist Trevor Timm said Tuesday. Read More

Slate Partners With Anonymous Tweeter @GunDeaths To Map Ongoing Reports of Gun Incidents

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, December 21 2012

There's a ton of statistics out there on gun-related violence in the United States, but as two of Slate's editors pointed out this morning, there's not much out there that tracks statistics in real time. So the duo, Chris Kirk, Slate's interactives editor, and Dan Krois, a senior editor there, decided to try and change that by partnering with the anonymous Tweeter at @gundeaths to map every reported death that @gundeaths finds through news alerts and tips. @gundeaths began the Twitter reporting this July. Read More

Online, Shaping a Narrow Debate After Newtown Shooting

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, December 18 2012

When President Barack Obama spoke Sunday at Newtown High School in Newtown, Conn, he promised to take action to fix what's broken in an American society that could not protect 20 young children and seven adults from death at the hands of a single disturbed person, and could not protect that killer from himself.

"We can't tolerate this anymore," he said. "These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law -- no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society."

But he was really just setting the table for a narrower conversation about gun control.

Most people, or anyway, most people on Twitter, seem to have got that point.

Read More

WeGov

In Egypt, the Government Issues Official Announcements on Facebook

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, December 17 2012

Cairo protester's sign says "no to the constitution" (credit: Hossam El Hamalawy)

Last week the Egyptian government announced draconian tax increases and subsidy reductions that caused a huge wave of protest. Within hours, the president revoked the announcement — in the middle of the night, on Facebook. Read More

WeGov

Despite Some Glitches, Ghana's New Biometric Voting System Widely Viewed as a Success

BY Gabriela Barnuevo | Thursday, December 13 2012

Biometric voting machine at a Ghanaian polling station (credit: Gabriela Barnuevo)

Technology dominated Ghana's recent presidential elections, with candidates using popular social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to spread their messages. But it was the introduction of a biometric voter identification system that captured the most attention. Read More

WeGov

Chinese Social Media App Poses a Threat to Activists and Authorities Alike

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, December 13 2012

The most popular new social media app in China is raising suspicions over its geolocational abilities. WeChat, a phone app that combines the functions of Skype, Twitter, and Facebook with the power to locate nearby users, has ousted traditional texting as a contact method for many young people in China. But as the Guardian reported last week, a technology that tracks its users’ movements can be dangerous: Read More

Pope Benedict iOS

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, December 12 2012

Pope Benedict XVI's Twitter avatar.

Two weeks after the Vatican announced that the Pope would be joining Twitter, Benedict XVI sent his first message to 1.3 million followers in eight different languages Twitter accounts earlier today. Read More

WeGov

D.C.-based NGO Asks the Crowd to Map an Israel-Palestine Border

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, December 10 2012

Screenshot from Is Peace Possible.

A Washington, D.C.-based NGO has launched a interactive map called Is Peace Possible that seeks suggestions for a border between Israel and the West Bank via crowdsourcing. Read More

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

WeGov

Phone Apps for Toilets: Hackathon Mobilizes Techies for Hygiene Solutions

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, December 6 2012

Last weekend the International Sanitation Hackathon took place simultaneously in 40 cities across the globe, from Vancouver to Jakarta and Helsinki to Porto Alegre. The World Bank-organized event brought together development workers and techies to brainstorm solutions to a problem that confounds the developing world — poor sanitation and waste disposal, which causes disease and raises mortality rates. Read More

News Briefs

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Beyond @Congressedits, Capitol Hill Looks for Entry to Wikipedia

As he recently told techPresident, the creator of Congressedits did not aim to make Members of Congress look bad, but said he hoped that they would recognize the importance of Wikipedia as a public space and engage more with its community. "If staffers and politicians identified as Wikipedians, that would be super. You could imagine politicians' home pages with a list of their recent edits, that they would be proud of the things that they are doing." On Capitol Hill, there is in fact interest in making that vision a reality, starting off with an initial conversation that could create a framework for more Wikipedians in Congress. GO

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In the Philippines, Citizens Go Undercover With Bantay to Monitor Public Offices

The Philippines, a country of almost 100 million, is considered among the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia, despite a boost in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in the past few years (from 134th in 2010 to 94th in 2013 out of 175.) Corruption involves all levels of government, but benefits also from a mindset of tolerance, says Happy Feraren, the co-founder of Bantay.ph, an anti-corruption educational initiative that teaches citizens how to monitor the quality of government services, sometimes by going undercover. GO

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