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Meet the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, August 23 2012

The White House this morning announced the 18 techies and experts who will spend six months working on one of five projects using technology to try and improve government as part of the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows program. Read More


How Mobile Phone Technology is Changing Lives in Developing States

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, August 22 2012

The Toronto Star has published a nice overview of how mobile phones are facilitating information access and improving peoples' lives in undeveloped regions with poor infrastructure. Read More


How Simple Technology Facilitates Effective Communication and Relief in Disaster Zones

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, August 22 2012

Mobile phones and Internet access are now common in developing nations, but aid agencies have been slow to use that technology in order to implement effective two-way communication in disaster zones. A BBC media action policy briefing presents several case studies that illustrate how community organizations are effectively using simple available technology to create communication hubs and facilitate disaster relief. Read More


Young Iranians Use Mobile and Social Media to Mobilize Grassroots Relief for Earthquake Victims

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, August 21 2012

In response to the government's poor response in delivering aid to earthquake survivors in northeast Iran, young middle class people from Tehran are mobilizing grassroots relief efforts to collect and deliver supplies via social media platforms, circumventing the government's block on Facebook via VPNs. Read More


Mapping Syria's Civil War

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, August 21 2012

Screenshot of the map created by the Institute for the Study of War

The BBC reports that the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has compiled a map that shows what parts of Syria are in the hands of the Free Syrian Army and what parts are still under the regime's control. Read More


India Bans Bulk Text Messages in Vain Attempt to Quell Rumors of Internecine Conflict

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, August 20 2012

In an attempt to stop a panicked mass migration due to rumors spread via text messages and social media, the Indian government blocked websites and ordered mobile service providers to cap subscribers' emails at five per day. But Internet savvy phone users easily circumvented the cap on text messages and Indians jeered on Twitter, using the hashtag #5SMS to criticize the government's ham fisted attempts at censorship Read More

Blogger Accuses Filipino Senator of Plagiarizing His Anti-Contraception Arguments

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, August 17 2012

The Associated Press reports that an American blogger has accused a Filipino senator of plagiarizing from her blog in his arguments against the distribution of free contraceptives at health clinics. Senator Vicente Sotto III first denied plagiarizing from Sarah Pope's blog, then said: "Why would I quote from a blogger? She is just a blogger." Read More


Is Sina Weibo a Means of Free Speech or a Means of Social Control?

BY David Eaves | Friday, August 17 2012

Photo: Francisco Diaz / Flickr

Over noodles in Beijing, David Eaves and Michael Anti discussed how Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging platform in China, actually creates a new means of social control for the central Chinese government. While it allows dissent, Anti argues, Weibo serves as a central platform for citizen speech — operated by a company over which the Chinese central government can exert significant influence. Read More

Study Examines Influence of Social Media on Interaction Between People and their Governments

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, August 17 2012

Social media is at least 10 years old. Few remember MySpace or Friendster, but one would be hard pressed to find a literate person who had never heard of Facebook or Twitter. With the steady growth of social media use, a new Australian study that examines its influence on communication between people and their governments seems particularly timely. Read More

Kahrabtak: Mapping Egypt's Summer Electricity Blackouts

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, August 13 2012

Screenshot taken from homepage.

In response to a country-wide energy crisis, Egypt's newly elected government has instituted rolling power cuts, leaving people without air conditioning for hours during the heat of the summer, when daytime temperatures soar to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Farehnheit). While many Egyptians are venting their frustration on social media platforms, one group of Egyptians is mapping the blackouts on a site called Kahrabtak. Read More