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From Killer App to Killed App? UK Debate Interest Swamps Facebook "Dial Test"

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, April 16 2010

Britain was primed and ready for last night's historic, first-ever televised prime ministerial debates. The debates, however, didn't seem to be quite so ready for Britain. Read More

British Politics Tip Toe into the TV Era

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, April 15 2010

It's worth keeping in mind the idea that "technology is changing politics" is all relative. Read More

British 'Net Bill Embiggens Geeks

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, April 12 2010

The passage of the widely-disliked Digital Economy Bill in the UK is, say commentators, having at least one positive, unintended effect: it's sparking a crystallization of what might be called an invigorated geek ... Read More

UK's New "Digital Economy" One Step Closer to Law

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, April 8 2010

While noting that the pared-down version of the Digital Economy Bill that passed through the House of Commons under wash up last night might be a damp squib, the Guardian (UK) is still generally up in arms abou Read More

Webbed-Up UK Elections Find Brits Taking the Mickey, Sampling Alinsky

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, April 5 2010

The Times of London's Jonathan Oliver has a extensive piece detailing the Obamafication of the upcoming Parliamentary election in the UK, or at least the attempt by both Labour and the Tories to put a little more zazzle ... Read More

Cameron: Conservatives Will Pull Back the Curtain on Government Contracting

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, February 11 2010

Credit: TED/Richard Lewis In the UK, politicians on the left and right have been scrambling to claim the mantle of transparent government as the battle heats up over who will next lead that country. Read More

"Airbrushed for Change"

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, January 14 2010

Personal Democracy Forum friend in Italy Antonella Napolitano passes along this story from the UK, where the Labour Party there is picking up and running with a spoof that was originally created by political bloggers. ... Read More

UK's Gordon Brown offers sweeping vision of "smarter government"

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, December 7 2009

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is attracting attention with an address delivered in London on "smarter government" that lays out a sweeping vision for a 21st century UK that is savvier about technology, to ... Read More

News Briefs

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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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monday >

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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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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wednesday >

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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