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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.

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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

WeGov

In Canada, Online Campaign to Protest Gov't's Digital 'Snooping Bill' Turns Nasty

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Wednesday, December 5 2012

MP Charmaine Borg outside of Canada's parliament (credit: Max Walker)

In Canada the issue of online privacy has become contentious, with experts, law enforcement officials, and legislators sharply divided. Bill C-30, formally called the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, was tabled in the House of Commons in February. The bill proposes expanding police powers so that telecoms and Internet Service Providers would be required to turn over subscriber data without a warrant. The opposition responded with a furious online campaign that took a bizarre turn into the realm of personal attacks. Read More

The President Doesn't Always Tweet, but When He Does ...

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, December 3 2012

Photo: Pete Souza / White House

President Barack Obama spent a little over 40 minutes on Twitter this afternoon answering questions about extending middle class tax cuts. He took eight questions from Twitter users, including a self-described liberal atheist with purple hair in her profile picture and a former soldier. Here are the people who the White House reached on Twitter today. Read More