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WeGov

As Prop, Cudgel or Sensor, Digital Maps Have a Future in Global Activism

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, January 16 2013

Screenshot from sahelresponse.org

Over the past five years, mapping has become an indispensable part of our daily lives, whether it is used for commercial purposes or crisis management. While some development workers and community organizers feel it is overhyped as a tool for certain types of crisis management, crisis workers and aid agencies find it indispensable. Read More

WeGov

In Egypt, Digital Maps Start a Conversation About Harassment that Continues In the Street

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, November 30 2012

Screenshot from Harassmap.org

Several months before the Egyptian revolution, a group of Cairo-based volunteers launched Harassmap, an Ushahidi-based interactive map that provides a visualization of reported sexual harassment incidents. Two years later, the organization has grown and secured its funding. But what role has mapping played in their community outreach work? Read More

WeGov

Crisis Tracker: An Open Source Map that Curates Crowdsourced Information

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, November 1 2012

An open source map mines data from Twitter, curates it and presents it with an Ushahidi-like interface. Read More

WeGov

Ushahidi and the Long Tail of Mapping for Social Change

BY David Eaves | Monday, July 9 2012

What makes a mapping project successful? Image: Trafficking map Epawa SMS

A new website called DeadUshahidi launched recently with the express purpose of tracking Ushahidi mapping projects that experienced little use. While the Ushahidi team responded in good form, but it was hard not to see the website as a shot across its bow.

David Eaves explores why there are so many Ushahidi-powered mapping projects that appear to have fallen by the wayside — and why that might actually be a good thing for people who want to use geospatial data for social change.

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The Europe Roundup: Cybercrime in the UK, Ushahidi in Serbia, Big Data in Norway

BY Antonella Napolitano | Friday, February 10 2012

Photo: Ian Muttoo / Flickr

New anti-cybercrime units in the UK, Ushahidi deployed to track incidents related to severe weather in Greece and Serbia, and a fascinating animation from Norway based on migration data, all in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around Europe. Read More

Does a Google-World Bank Deal On Crowdsourcing Ask Too Much of the Crowd?

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, February 2 2012

Should the commons improve Google's data on the developing world? Photo: ToastyKen

A World Bank representative will meet with global transparency advocates and digital mapmakers to discuss a controversial geodata deal with Google it announced in mid-January, according to an official at the bank.

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How to Tell if Someone On Twitter Is Really a Dog

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, November 30 2011

Patrick Meier of Ushahidi — now Patrick Meier, Ph.D, of course — has released a 20-plus-page study on strategies for verifying information online. From the abstract: Crowdsourced information can provide rapid ... Read More

The 'Mic Check' And the Occupiers' Protest Framework

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, November 17 2011

Watch the live video feeds coming from Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in lower Manhattan today and you'll hear, over and over again, a refrain that has come to define the movement: "Mic check!" What began as a way for ... Read More

Occupy Wall Street's Situational Awareness

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, November 17 2011

Occupy Wall Street's tech team has produced this, a scalable Ushahidi map that now hosts reports on the ground from the protesters' ongoing actions in and around Wall Street. It aggregates emailed reports, web-submitted ... Read More

The Europe Roundup: Ushahidi-Based Websites Spread to Fight Corruption

BY Antonella Napolitano | Thursday, September 15 2011

Bulgaria | shahidi-Based Websites Spread to Fight Corruption Several Eastern Europe countries are struggling for democracy and transparency; Bulgaria is one of the most involved in the process. Transparency ... Read More

News Briefs

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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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tuesday >

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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monday >

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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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

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