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First POST: NewCo News

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 18 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: More details on Pierre Omidyar and Glenn Greenwald's still unnamed NewCo investigative journalism site; one bankrupt Rhode Island town is trying crowdfunding for its parks; and the best reading from last week's 'book surge' break that you might have missed. Read More

WeGov

Now On YouTube: Indigenous Groups Burst Into Brazil’s Congress to Protest Land Rights Bill

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, May 2 2013

Screengrab from political journalist's video of protest on YouTube

After waiting an entire day for an audience with Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies to discuss a controversial bill, hundreds of aboriginal Brazilians bypassed security guards and burst into the session. The disruption was caught live on the Chamber of Deputies TV channel, and later posted on YouTube. A political journalist posted a second, shakier video that shows confusion and chaos during the protest.

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WeGov

The US Military is Trying to Track Political Upheaval Via Social Media Content

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, March 14 2013

Cat Improving Military Strategy (from Memecenter.com).

Someone at South by Southwest may have already beaten them to programming drones to do the Harlem Shake, but the US military is still getting into memes.  An intelligence tool currently in development at the Office of Naval Research will track the spread of viral content online by actually treating it like a virus, using epidemiological models to predict how and where different ideas will emerge.

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WeGov

Indonesians Combat Rape Culture Via Social Media

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 23 2013

Indonesians have taken to social media to fight misogyny in the largely Muslim nation. Like in India, where several shocking incidents over the past year have led to outrage, public discourse over rape and other forms of sexual assault is the issue in question. Read More

WeGov

Beyond Crisis Mapping: Social Network Analysis of Twitter Buzz During Australian Floods

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 22 2013

The flooded streets of Brisbane during an 1893 flood (Australian National Maritime Museum/Flickr).

When a record-breaking flooding event struck the eastern states of Australia in December and January of 2010-2011, Twitter users took to their online network to share information and communicate with fellow victims of the natural disasters. A year later, social network analysis (SNA) reports of Twitter chatter during the floods offer a picture of social media behavior in disaster response. Read More

WeGov

Vietnam's Government-Hired Propaganda Bloggers

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 16 2013

The Vietnamese government acknowledged last week that up to 1,000 bloggers and online tastemakers in the country are hired propaganda agents, enlisted to steer Internet discourse towards support of Communist policies. These mercenary netizens have been a vocal presence in the Vietnamese blogosphere and on social media over the past few years, espousing pro-governmental opinions and attacking dissidents. Read More

WeGov

Citizen Journalists Tweet Mexico's Drug War, Replacing Traditional Media

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 10 2013

Over the past several years, a growing number of Twitter users in cities throughout Mexico have taken to their feeds with real-time coverage of violent crime. Part public service, part journalism, sometimes completely anonymous, these feeds have become, in many cases, an alternative to traditional news media when it comes to coverage of the country’s escalating drug war. Read More

WeGov

Twitter Could Stop the Next Great Fire of London

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, December 21 2012

Screengrab of the London Fire Brigade's official Twitter page

London emergency responders are piloting the world’s first Twitter-based fire reporting program, the city’s Fire Brigade announced earlier this week. While officials cautioned this is not a replacement for dialing 999 – that’s British English for 911 – Rita Dexter, the Deputy Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, explained that implementing social media-based emergency calls is simply looking forward. Read More

WeGov

The Ayatollah Is On Facebook, Even If Iran Isn’t Supposed to Be

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, December 20 2012

Screengrab of The Ayatollah Khamenei's new Facebook page

A Facebook page for Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini,appeared online last week. The apparently state-sanctioned page has garnered over 18,000 likes, though the popular social network has effectively been banned in the country since dissidents gathered online to power protests after the 2009 reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Read More

WeGov

Egyptian Belly Dancer's Salacious Video Mocking Muslim Brotherhood Goes Viral

BY Mahmoud Salem | Monday, November 19 2012

Sama El Masry (publicity shot)

Last week Sama El Masry, a famous Egyptian belly dancer, uploaded a home-made video to YouTube; it shows her in a skin tight outfit, swinging her hips seductively to a song rife with anti-Muslim Brotherhood political innuendo. The sexy little number set the Egyptian social media and political worlds ablaze — but not only because it mocked the prudish Islamists with the double whammy of gyrating hips and lyrics that were a blatant political satire that pulled no punches. In a bizarre twist that could only happen in post-revolutionary Egypt, the dancer was also famous for claiming to be the ex-wife of a Salafi member of parliament. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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tuesday >

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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