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First POST: Tipping Points

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, April 16 2014

Mike Bloomberg puts some more muscle into his gun control campaigning; Mark Zuckerberg now likes multiple identities; Airbnb wishes it could collect taxes in New York State; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: In Transit

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, April 11 2014

Today's Polk Awards ceremony in NYC marks Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras's first visit back to the US since Snowden; Healthcare.gov's chief resigns; the DATA Act heads towards Obama's desk; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Secret Sharers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 27 2014

Jimmy Carter on Edward Snowden; Airbnb partners with Portland as a "shared city"; open data engagement strategies from around the world; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Nigeria Gets Its First Open Data Portal

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, September 12 2013

Since 2010, Edo State in Nigeria has set a day aside dedicated to technology and the state. The 2013 Edo State TechDay kicked off today, September 12, with the theme “Fostering Governance with Technology.” At the event (which has grown into a two day affair) Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole revealed Nigeria's first Open Data Portal.

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WeGov

New Russian Law Makes Publication of Information on Gay Rights Illegal

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, June 12 2013

Would this constitute "gay propaganda"? (Wikipedia)

On June 11 the Russian parliament passed a bill against “homosexual propaganda” that effectively outlaws gay rights rallies and bans informational or pro-gay rights material from publication in the media or on the Internet. Violators of the law will risk heavy fines and censorship and, in the case of a media outlet, risk being shut down. It had near unanimous support, passing in a 436-to-0 vote, with only one abstention.

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WeGov

Macedonia Draft Law to Regulate and Restrict the "Last Arena for Freedom of Speech"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, June 12 2013

Skopje, Republic of Macedonia, (Wikipedia)

The draft of a media regulation law in Macedonia has journalists and press freedom watchdogs up in arms. The proposed Law on Media and Audiovisual Media Services was written by the government behind closed doors and without input from the media or NGOs. It has been interpreted as a decisive move on the part of the government to limit speech online in a country where press freedoms are already limited. Until now, Internet-based news sites were not regulated like print media.

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WeGov

New Anti-Corruption Initiative a First in Czech Republic

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 31 2013

Pavel Franc and others wearing symbolic hard hats (Flickr with permission)

For the first time in the Czech Republic, a group of NGOs have banded together to support nine important anti-corruption measures. They are asking Czech citizens – again, for the first time – to write to their representative Members of Parliament (MPs) and ask them to pledge support for specific anti-corruption legislation. The campaign Rekonstrukce Státu, or the Reconstruction of State, holds MPs responsible for their pledges by posting their positions on the campaign website. One of the demands has already been made into law.

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WeGov

Chinese Netizens Use Digital Initiative to Gain Media Attention for Unsolved Poisoning Case

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 15 2013

Screen shot of the signatures on the Chinese netizens' petition to the Obama administration

Last month a medical science student at a Shanghai university died from poisoning, allegedly murdered by his roommate. The specifics of the crime echoed a case from the mid-1990s, in which a 19-year-old student was poisoned with thallium. That case has once again been thrown into the media spotlight, but after 18 years the media has changed and the spotlight means a trending hashtag on Sina Weibo or an online petition to the U.S. President.

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WeGov

Tools to Keep Independent Media Online in Hostile Environments

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, May 14 2013

Websites and media outlets in developing countries or countries with corrupt or repressive regimes struggle daily to fend off hacker attacks, some from their own government — like the Malaysian news portal Sarawak Report, which techPresident reported was taken down in April by sustained denial-of-service attacks. The negative attention controversial reporting draws can scare local advertisers away as well, making it difficult for a media company to support itself. Media Frontiers offers two services to websites dealing with either of those problems.

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WeGov

Peruvians Petition their President to Stick Up for their Digital Rights

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, May 13 2013

Lima, Peru (Federico via Wikipedia)

Peru’s civil society advocacy groups have started an online petition outlining their ‘non-negotiable’ demands for digital rights and freedom of speech. The campaign was prompted by the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Lima, Peru, will soon host the 17th round of secretive TPP trade talks, which will take place from May 15 – 24.

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News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

Civic Hackers Call on de Blasio to Fill Technology Vacancies

New York City technology advocates on Wednesday called on the de Blasio administration to fill vacancies in top technology policy positions, expressing some frustration at the lack of a leadership team to implement a cohesive technology strategy for the city. GO

China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.

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wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

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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