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First POST: Astonishing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 31 2014

Debating how (or if) Twitter should police abusive behavior; Facebook launches Internet.org; an update on the Detroit Water Project; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Turning On

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, June 4 2014

How Google is making encryption more mainstream; new data on online harassment; how bloggers are changing Vietnamese society; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

7 Things You Didn't Know About Vietnam's Net

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 4 2014

Screenshot of Vietmeme's Twitter profile

Vietnam has an active Internet culture of civic engagement, but it can be hard to see because it is relatively ephemeral and dispersed over multiple networks. A one stop shop for a snapshot of Vietnam's online community is Vietmeme, a kind of front page for the Vietnamese Internet.

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WeGov

International Human Rights Day in Vietnam Marked By Launch of Blogger Network

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, December 10 2013

Vietnam Flag (Wikipedia)

Today a coalition of Vietnamese bloggers launched the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers (NVB), a new advocacy and watchdog group that will hold the Vietnamese government accountable for their United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) obligations and commitments. The launch was set for December 10 to coincide with International Human Rights Day.

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WeGov

Messages From Behind Bars and Beyond the Grave

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, November 4 2013

Screenshot of Rodrigo Rosenberg accusing Guatemalan President Colom of murder from beyond the grave

Before flying back to his home country, Vietnam, last week, Nguyen Lan Thang took a few minutes to record a video, just in case he was arrested or detained at the airport. As a pro-democracy blogger in a country that punishes online speech that criticizes the Communist government, Thang had good reason to be worried. Sure enough, upon arriving at the airport after a three month long stint abroad, during which Thang met with human rights groups and international organizations, Thang was picked up by Vietnam's security forces.

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WeGov

In Vietnam, Activist Group Takes a “SexyBack” Approach to Fighting Censorship

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, October 1 2013

Screenshot from the Facebook Back video parody below

You know all that witty (and not-so-witty) banter about the government shutdown taking place on your Facebook newsfeed right now? In Vietnam that would be illegal.

Since the draconian Decree 72 went into effect on September 1, citizens are banned from discussing news and current events—or really anything that does not pertain to themselves personally—on blogs or social media sites. Activists and bloggers, however, cannot capitulate to the government's restrictions, not when bloggers and citizens journalists have become the “de facto media.” That's why the pro-democracy group Viet Tan offers virtual training in cybersecurity for bloggers and activists.

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First POST: Informed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, August 7 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Cory Booker's web of tech industry backers; more questions about the NSA; and maybe Jeff Bezos just wanted to buy power in DC the old-fashioned way, by owning media; and much much more. Read More

WeGov

Restrictions on Social Media Target Vietnamese Citizen Journalists

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, August 5 2013

Nguyen Tan Dung, PM of Vietnam (Wikipedia>)

An amendment to Vietnam's already draconian Internet laws bans Internet users from sharing “compiled information” on their websites, blogs or social media pages. The decree will make the government's ongoing persecution of activist bloggers and citizen journalists completely legal. Signed into law by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on July 15, the new regulations will go into effect September 1.

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WeGov

Vietnamese Farmers Gather UN Data on Deforestation with Smartphones

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, July 11 2013

Deforestation (Flickr/A.Davey)

A case study in Vietnam found community based monitoring (CBM) an accurate and inexpensive way to gather data on deforestation. The trial was a part of the United Nations Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program (REDD). Community members in the Tra Bui commune of the Quang Nam province, armed with Android devices, were able to return data with an accuracy comparable to experts. They were more effective at monitoring small scale degradation from gathering wood for fuel or selective logging than satellite imagery.

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WeGov

In Tiny Archipelago, Tensions Over the Future of Telecom

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, February 12 2013

The Spratly Islands (Wikimedia Commons).

Tiny, disputed Pacific archipelagos have been in the news recently, with Japan bolstering online security against Chinese hacks related to the Japanese claim on the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.  Now another island chain is caught in a tug-of-war between several East Asian countries – and this time, the weapons of choice are mobile networks

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