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What Martial Law in Thailand Means For Freedom of Speech

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 21 2014

Some of the "cute soldiers" on Twitter (Screenshot)

Thailand's military chief declared martial law across the country at 3 a.m. Tuesday, just two weeks after the Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was ousted from her post. Citizens seem to be taking the news in stride, taking pictures of and with the soldiers; there is even a Twitter hashtag that encourages people to post pictures of cute soldiers. However, soldiers have taken over TV and radio stations, and have asked social media sites for assistance censoring inflammatory posts.

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WeGov

Spanish Politicians Call For More Censored Net After Political Assassination

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, May 19 2014

Isabel Carrasco did not die because of social media. The Spanish politician was murdered by a 55 year old woman who blamed Carrasco for her daughter's dismissal from the León provincial council in 2011, a snub that was dragged out for years in court over a payment dispute that was eventually decided in the council's favor just days before the murder took place. It is clearly a straightforward, if deranged and poorly planned, revenge killing. Why it has led Spanish politicians to call for the policing of social media is more of a mystery.

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First POST: On the Home Front

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, May 16 2014

The home page is dead, long live the link!; the net neutrality fight's next chapter; why 2016 presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Paul Ryan may have some domain name problems; and much, much more Read More

WeGov

British Police Officers Ask Blogger to Delete Politically Critical Tweet

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, May 13 2014

This weekend two Cambridgeshire police officers called upon the blogger Michael Abberton at his home residence. After asking to come in for a chat they asked Abberton to delete a certain tweet, even though they clearly said no laws had been broken. According to Abberton, who wrote about the exchange on his blog Axe of Reason, the complaint had come from the political party mentioned in the offending (although not in any way illegal) tweet. The exchange has raised questions about censorship, police intimidation, and the influence of this political party.

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First POST: Battle for the Open Net

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 8 2014

Start-ups and big tech alike are speaking out against the FCC's draft net neutrality proposal; activists start an "Occupy FCC" protest outside its DC HQ and promise to spread it; a House bill to end some dragnet surveillance advances; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Middlemen

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, May 6 2014

New ideas (and issues) for preserving net neutrality; how Governor Andrew Cuomo uses technology to hide his government's workings from the public; the USA Freedom Act moves toward a committee markup; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Adjustments

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 1 2014

The RNC may be having trouble with its tech renaissance; how Facebook is "throttling" the organic reach of nonprofits and political causes; the demise of Twitter as a platform for useful conversation; and much, much more. Read More

Survey Suggests Young People Unengaged With Politics and Voting, Engaged with Social Media

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, April 29 2014

New data from Harvard University's Institute of Politics finds new evidence that young people are disenchanted with government and are not enthusiastic about voting in the Midterm elections, though are enthusiastic about spending time on social media, echoing in some respects the findings of a recent Pew survey. Read More

First POST: Data Acts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 29 2014

Debating the value of municipal broadband in the net neutrality fight; celebrating the passage of the DATA act; pondering the role of data analytics in US elections in 2014 and the UK elections in 2015; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

This Chrome Extension Rates Tweets Based On Their Credibility

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, April 28 2014

An alethiometer (bandita/Flickr)

On April Fool's Day you can't believe anything you read on the Internet. And on the other 364 days of the year you still have to use reason and common sense to avoid falling for or even spreading online rumors. Misinformation can be particularly damaging during natural disasters or other social crises if it impedes or misleads emergency response. Journalists also have to be wary of retweeting or reposting unverified information. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a way of gauging how credible a tweet may be? Well, the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) and the Precog Research Group at the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi (IIITD) are collaborating on a tool that aims to do just that.

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News Briefs

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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