Digital Media Mash Up: December 2011, Week 5

In this Issue

Upcoming Events - In Washington, D.C. and Beyond

In the News:


Upcoming Events - In Washington, D.C. and Beyond

Washington, DC

Revolution 2.0: The Power Of The People
January 18, 2012, 6:30pm
George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs, in association with Politics and Prose, will host Wael Ghonim, author of the upcoming memoir "Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People is Greater Than the People in Power," for a discussion and book signing.
Featuring: Wael Ghonim
Location: The George Washington University, Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St., NW, Washington D.C.

In the News

Global Censorship Update

View the Global Censorship Update in a Google Map.

AZERBAIJAN: Youth Activist Jailed after Facebook Protest Call Freed
Amnesty International today welcomed the release of 20-year-old youth activist Jabbar Savalan, but reiterated its call for the Azerbaijani authorities to release 16 more prisoners of conscience jailed in April following a series of peaceful protests. (Amnesty International, 12/27)

CHINA: Shanghai Demands that Tweeting Critics Submit Their Real Names
Imagine you're an authoritarian government, and many of your citizens have begun to self-organize anonymously on a service that facilitates quick communication among one another. Now, imagine that they begin to criticize your government for corruption and food safety issues. What would you do? Well, the Chinese government has such a problem, and they're responding by demanding that users of the service register their real names. (Social Times, 12/27)

EGYPT: Egyptian Veteran Blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah Released
Egyptian veteran blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah has finally been released pending investigation from the Cairo Criminal Court yesterday after being detained for 56 days. (Global Voices Advocacy, 12/27)

EGYPT: A Day with Released Egyptian Blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah
VIDEO: Veteran Egyptian blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah has finally been released pending investigation from the Cairo Criminal Court Sunday after being detained for 56 days. (Uncut, 12/27)

EGYPT: After Being Held for Nearly Two Months, Blogger Released Pending Trial
Reporters Without Borders hails yesterday's decision by a state security court to release the blogger Alaa Abdelfattah from Cairo's Bab el Khalk prison, where he spent nearly two months in pre-trial detention. The court has nonetheless banned him from leaving the country pending trial. (Reporters Without Borders, 12/26),41602...

INDIA: Court Asks Social Media Websites to Scrap Derogatory Content by Feb 6
A Delhi court Saturday ordered websites like Facebook, Google and Yahoo to remove all "derogatory" content from their sites by Feb 6. (Media Newsline, 12/24)

INDIA: Sibal Not a Lone Crusader for Internet Censorship: Meet the Others
The Internet knows no boundaries, follows no rules. The web is about presenting all sides of a story. It is this uniqueness of the medium which, many say, fuelled the uprising in Egypt, contributed to the Arab Spring and the London riots. Back home, social media played a major role in making Anna Hazare the phenomenon he has become. (First Post, 12/26)

INDIA: Indian ISP Blocks A Bunch Of Websites To Try To Prevent File Sharing Of A Single Movie
TorrentFreak has the story of an Indian court seemingly having no problems issuing widespread ISP blockades in response to a request from movie studio Reliance Entertainment. The reasoning is that Reliance is hoping to prevent the file sharing of its latest movie. But rather than narrowly targeting the file sharing of that movie (or of other Reliance properties), the court ordered complete blocking of a variety of websites including Megaupload and BTJunkie. (Techdirt, 12/28)

IRAN: Website Of Iran's Former President Filtered For Several Hours
The website of Iran's former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was filtered on December 29 for several hours, according to Iranian news websites, including "Tabnak." (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 12/29)

IRAN: UPDATE: Rafsanjani Brother Confirms Website Blocked After Official Order
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's office manager and younger brother, Mohammad Hashemi, confirmed today in an interview with Iran's ILNA news agency that the website of the former president and head of the Expediency Council has been blocked after officials intervened over the site's content. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 12/30)

KUWAIT: Kuwait Wants to Put an End to Anonymous Accounts on Twitter
We've spoken a lot about the pros and cons of online anonymity, a discussion which was recently spurred by Google+'s short-lived real name policy which forced users to sign up for the site using only their real names. (The Next Web, 12/27)

NETHERLANDS: Dutch Parliament: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal
In an attempt to reduce widespread piracy in the Netherlands, the government there recently introduced a plan that would make downloading movies and music unlawful. However, this proposal was binned yesterday by a motion from the Dutch parliament due to concerns it would restrict the free flow of information, invade the privacy of citizens and invite copyright trolls. Instead, they encourage the entertainment industry to focus their attention on providing authorized alternatives. (Torrent Freak, 12/24)

SYRIA: Arab League Observers Must Visit Jailed Bloggers and Journalists, Demand Their Release
As the Arab League observer mission continues in Syria, Reporters Without Borders is relieved to learn that Jehad Jamal, a blogger also known as "Milan" who was last arrested on 14 October, was finally released yesterday evening. (Reporters Without Borders, 12/30),4160...

SYRIA: Leading Syrian Citizen Journalist Killed
Basil al-Sayed, a leading citizen journalist in Syria, died in the hospital Thursday of wounds sustained in the restive city of Homs, which has become a hub of the country's popular uprising. (Daily Star, 12/30)

TURKEY: No Tweets from the Courtroom!
"Today the judge is more strict" says the tweet, "One undercover police for each row! All monitoring the ones who are tweeting!" In Istanbul-Turkey, today is the 2nd day of the hearings of 10 arrested journalists. Turkey is the leader country even before China and Iran with the figures of 107 arrested journalists. (Global Voices Advocacy, 12/27)

UNITED KINGDOM: Dundee Facebook Riot Threat Teen Jordan McGinley Loses Bail Bid
A teenager who was locked up for three years for using a social networking site to try to incite a riot in Dundee has lost a bid to win his freedom. (BBC, 12/29)

UNITED STATES: SOPA Is the End of Us, Say Bloggers
The conservative and liberal blogospheres are unifying behind opposition to Congress's Stop Online Piracy Act, with right-leaning bloggers arguing their very existence could be wiped out if the anti-piracy bill passes. (Politico, 12/28)
Read more:

Digital Media News Affecting Journalists and Activists

Exposing Data: Art Slash Activism - A Post-Event Report
VIDEO: Tactical Tech and the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) organised a public discussion on the intersection of Art and Activism at the CIS office in Bangalore on 28 November 2011. Videos of the event are now online. Ward Smith (Lecturer, University of California, LA), Stephanie Hankey and Marek Tuszinsky (Co-founders, Tactical Technology Collective), Ayisha Abraham (Film maker, Srishti School of Art Design) and Zainab Bawa (Research Fellow, Centre for Internet and Society) spoke in this event. (Center for Internet and Society, 12/27)

How Online Audio Tools Can Help Journalists
First blogs, then Flickr, then YouTube, then Facebook, then Twitter, then Tumblr... If you were told there's one more thing that you have to be using to survive in journalism, you'd be forgiven for lashing out. But that's exactly what I'm going to do. (Poynter, 12/29)

The 101 Most Useful Websites
As we approach the dawn of a new year, here are my picks for the 101 most useful websites of the year 2011. (Digital Inspiration, 12/29)

6 Game-Changing Digital Journalism Events of 2011
The year 2011 brought extraordinary progress for online journalism. From breaking news curation to new revenue models, many an organization put its best digital foot forward. Social media became more tightly integrated into reporting and overall strategy, while mobile app creation and content optimization were no longer a nice-to-have, but a must. (Mashable, 12/28)

Recommended Resources: Mobile Learning, Digital Activism, Multitasking
Professor of urban planning, Amy Hillier, recently spoke at TEDxPhilly to talk about how data visualization technology can map a city's emotions and memories. Geographic Information System (G.I.S.) technology has become more commonplace and allows statistics to be easily mapped, but in this article, "Mobile Technology: Mapping a City's Emotions, Memories," Hillier argues that we can go one step further. By using data visualization to map the city that isn't visible to the eye (i.e. sewage system, water pipes, and other underlying infrastructure), it can be used as an experiential tool. She gives an example of two children living in different neighborhoods whose experiences can be quantified by mapping where they eat, where they go for entertainment, and average household income. The hope is that using the technologies in this way can change our environment for the better. (DML Central, 12/29)

Update on Digital Media Companies and Outlets

Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus Shun HTML, Causing the Infographic Plague
By choosing images over links, and by restricting markup, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are hostile to HTML. This is leading to the plague of infographics crowding out text, and of video used to convey minimal information. (Epeus, 12/26)

Digitas' Bitterman On Owned, Earned And Hype -- And Why Google+ Has Been A Negative
Facebook continued to dominate the social media landscape in 2012, but Google+ and Twitter introduced advertising and LinkedIn led the way to Wall Street with a successful IPO. To discuss these developments and look ahead to 2012, Online Media Daily asked Jordan Bitterman, senior vice president and social marketing practice lead at Digitas, for his views on the dynamic space. (MediaPost, 12/24)

FACEBOOK: When Ranking Facebook Adoption As Percentage Of Population, Cyprus Is #1
Which countries really, really love Facebook? If you guessed the U.S., you would be somewhat right - this country ranks #7 on Pingdom's new list of countries comparing the number of Facebook users as percentages of the population. (Tech Crunch, 12/28)

GODADDY: GoDaddy Accused of Blocking Domain Transfers
Users of domain registrar Namecheap who've been trying to transfer domains in from GoDaddy in the wake of its SOPA revolt in the past couple days have been running into a bit of a speed bump: Namecheap alleges in customer service emails that GoDaddy is blocking its WHOIS requests, which means it needs to "manually insert WHOIS details into the form." In a follow-up blog post today, Namecheap also says that GoDaddy "appears to be returning incomplete WHOIS information" in violation of ICANN rules, taking the opportunity to sling a little mud in GoDaddy's direction. (Washington Post, 12/27)

GODADDY: GoDaddy Faces Boycott over SOPA Anti-Piracy Law Support
A boycott of US hosting firm GoDaddy looks set to go ahead even though the firm has said it no longer supports the policy that sparked it. (BBC, 12/29)

GOOGLE+: Google+ Gains Traction, Researcher Says
Google's mission to compete with Facebook in social networking may be gaining speed.
On Tuesday Paul Allen, a researcher, published an analysis saying that Google+, the company's social networking service, has reached 62 million registered users. More important, one-quarter of all users signed up in December alone, he said, putting it on a path to sustained global growth. (New York Times, 12/29)

LINKEDIN: Another Set of Parties Duel Over Social Media Contacts -- Eagle v. Sawabeh
Edcomm alleges that it created and maintained LinkedIn accounts for its employees, and as a matter of policy, employees were expected to turn over their LinkedIn accounts when they left Edcomm. Eagle disagrees, but also has to contend with a very unhelpful fact: Eagle committed the ultimate no-no and provided her LinkedIn password to someone at Edcomm. (Technology and Marketing Law Blog, 12/28)

TWITTER: A Dispute Over Who Owns a Twitter Account Goes to Court
How much is a tweet worth? And how much does a Twitter follower cost? (New York Times, 12/25)

TWITTER: Man Sued for Keeping Company Twitter Followers
A man is being sued for keeping Twitter followers that he attracted while working for a US mobile news website. (BBC, 12/27)

Digital Media in the Middle East

This Spring Breeze Did Not Arise in the West
So here I am, an Arab journalist in Silicon Valley, where four out of every four people I meet believe Facebook invented the Arab Spring. Three more weeks here and I may start to hallucinate that Mark Zuckerberg was a Cairo-slums native named Hassouna El-Fatatri, who rotted in a Mubarak prison for advocating personal privacy rights. (IPS, 12/23)

Social Media: A Double Edged Sword for the Empowerment of Women in the Middle East
The Dubai School of Government (DSG) has released its third social media report, this time with a focus on Arab women. The report takes a look at the role of social media in Arab women's empowerment and civic engagement, while also trying to better understand the gender gap that continues to exist between male and female use of social networking sites in the Middle East. (The Next Web, 12/26)

Asharq Al Awsat Top Arabs on Twitter List
London based Arabic daily Asharq Al Awsat published a list of prominent Arabs active on Twitter (December 2011). The paper is owned by Al Saudi businessman Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud. (Sultan Al Qassemi, 12/27)

Bahrain Picked as Home for Alarab
Bahrain has been chosen over Dubai as the home for Alarab, the Arabic TV-news station being launched by the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. (The National, 12/28)

BAHRAIN: Bahrain to Boost Media Standards through International Accords
Bahrain has agreed on deals with international audio-visual companies to boost local skills and enhance the media landscape. Shaikh Fawaz Bin Mohammad Al Khalifa, the president of the Information Affairs Authority (IAA), on Monday said that the contracts with major international media organizations have been completed and that they would "contribute to training and providing programming in an effort to improve the services provided through the Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation (BRTC)." The accords were with the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA), Broadcasting Board of Governors for Voice of America (BBG/VOA) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). (Gulf News, 12/26)

EGYPT: Eyewitness Accounts of Raid on Civil Society Group in Cairo Posted on Twitter
As my colleagues David D. Kirkpatrick and J. David Goodman report, "Egyptian security forces stormed the offices of 17 nonprofit groups around the country on Thursday, including at least three democracy-promotion groups financed by the United States, as part of what Egypt's military-led government has said is an investigation into 'foreign hands' in the recent outbreak of protests." (New York Times, 12/29)

IRAN: Iran's Battle for TV Influence Takes Shape on Press TV
The attack on the British embassy in Tehran and the expulsion of Iranian diplomats from London propelled UK-Iranian engagement into the deep freeze. But in the world of television, relations have been frosty for some time. (BBC, 12/29)

KUWAIT: Kuwait Al Jazeera Office to Reopen
Kuwaiti minister of information Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali has confirmed that t Al Jazeera is to reopened in Kuwait, following a state ban imposed following coverage of demonstrations in Kuwait over a year ago. (Digital Production Middle East, 12/28)

LEBANON: Hariri Among Region's Most Popular on Twitter: Report
Lebanon's Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri is one of the most prominent people on Twitter in the Middle East, according to the pan-Arab newspaper Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat. (Daily Star, 12/26)

PALESTINE: Review of Palestine Online
Palestine's relationship with the internet, as Miriyam Aouragh tells us in Palestine Online: Transnationalism, the Internet and the Construction of Identity (Tauris, 2011), had esoteric beginnings. (Palestine Online, 12/23)

SYRIA: Syria's Defecting Bloggers
The images out of Syria this month are gut-wrenching. Two suicide bombers killed dozens of people in Damascus on Friday, an alarming ratcheting-up of the violence in a conflict that some fear is starting to look more like a civil war by the day. Within hours of the attacks, Twitter, Facebook and the Arab blogosphere were boiling over with claims and counterclaims. Some accepted the Syrian government's statement that Friday's bombers were affiliated with Al Qaeda; others, who are sympathetic to the opposition, want to see President Bashar al-Assad fall. (New York Times, 12/28)

TUNISIA: First Community of Cyber-Hackers Founded in Tunisia
The first organization of hackers has been founded in Tunisia. Known as HackerSpace, a group of prominent Tunisian Net-activists have joined forces to advocate for free access to information, digital freedom and to collectively set up a number of projects related to open online information. (Tunisia Live, 12/27)

Digital Asia

Wikipedia Article Quality in East Asia
The map below visualises the article length of every English-language Wikipedia article in Japan, Taiwan, the Korean Peninsula, and eastern China. (Zero Geography, 12/26)

CHINA: China's Parallel Online Universe
To the casual eye, China's social media landscape might look diverse and lively. But the social media clones are careful to follow Communist Party censorship. (The Diplomat, 12/27)

CHINA: With Essays on Democracy, Chinese Blogger Stirs Debate Among Reformers
A popular writer, race-car driver and heartthrob stirred intense debate this week in China with three short political essays that drew fire from democracy advocates, including the dissident artist Ai Weiwei, while appearing to hearten the Chinese authorities. (New York Times, 12/27)

INDIA: 31 Percent of Rural Indians Have Not Heard About Internet
More than half of the Indian internet users access Internet through mobile phones. This dramatic growth in the digital world ever since the introduction of mobile internet is a clear indication of India's progress in technology, says 'We Are Social- Media Marketing and Communication agency' in its latest report. (Silicon India, 12/13)

INDIA: Ad Industry Growth to Slip to Single Digits
A slowing economy in 2012 could put a speed breaker on advertising growth rates. The Rs.30,600 crore advertising industry, including print, broadcasting, radio, digital and outdoor media, grew 12-15% in 2011, riding a robust first half. However, in the new year, the growth rate will slip into single digits-8-9%, according to a clutch of advertising chief executives from India's leading media agencies. (LiveMint, 12/27)

INDIA: India Struggles to Cope with Growing Internet Penetration
As Internet penetration deepens, largely religiously and socially conservative India is struggling to cope with concerns about controversial web content and its easy accessibility to a vast population, all with little oversight. Local courts have become the launching point for some of the anti-Web offensives. (Committee to Protect Journalists, 12/29)

JAPAN: Inventive Use of WiFi to Attract Customers
The Japanese are very inventive and now they're dispensing WiFi via vending machines. And the price, well it's free. (VoIP Watch, 12/28)

KYRGYZSTAN: Ravshan Jeenbekov and the Facebook Generation
Of all the divides in Kyrgyzstan's fractious political society, one too often overlooked is the divide between generations. Unlike the famed North/South schism, which manifests itself in elections and street-protests, the generational split is subtle in its complexion; existing within political factions rather than between them, as members of a younger, tech-savvy elite openly challenge their blog-phobic bosses in the national parliament. (Global Voices, 12/29)

SOUTH KOREA: South Korea Twitter Ban During Elections Overturned
South Korean lawmakers have overturned a ban on Twitter during elections, opening up the network to politicians who want to get their campaign messages out to tweeting citizens. (MediaBistro, 12/29)

Russia Update

RUSSIA: Internet TV Channel Challenges Kremlin's Information Monopoly
It was a familiar scenario. A Kremlin-linked website posts embarrassing wiretaps of a prominent opposition figure's phone calls in an apparent effort to discredit him and to dispirit the regime's critics. But this time the story went way off script. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 12/22)

RUSSIA: Social Network In-Between Security Services and Free Market
As social networks in Russia like Vkontakte play an ever increasing role in communication between post-election protesters, so too grows the interest of the security services to limit them. This conflict leads to a hard choice: whether Vkontakte should respond to security service requests, or allow its users uncontrolled protest activity. (Global Voices, 12/28)

TechCrunch Moscow - All the On-Stage Video
On December 5th, 2011 TechCrunch Europe came to Moscow again. Co-organized by TechCrunch Europe, Digital October and Kite Ventures, the second TechCrunch Moscow showcased several early stage startups and hosted panels on emerging technology trends in Russia and abroad. (Tech Crunch, 12/26)


Why Berlin Is Poised to Be Europe's New Tech Hub
After the visual opulence of Paris, Berlin feels almost dowdy. Drab and dark, the city hardly comes across as one of the great capitals of the world. A city's importance on a global stage is measured typically by the size and scope of its airport: Shanghai, New York, London, Los Angeles, Frankfurt and Paris are good examples. (GigaOM, 12/27)

ITALY: Italian Courts Find 'Active Hosting Liability' for ISPs
Our good Friend from the City University, Dr. Enrico Bonadio, has kindly sent us details of the link to a brief case note which Enrico co-authored with his colleague Mauro Santo, and which has been published in the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice. (1709 Blog, 12/28)

MACEDONIA: Twitter Hashtag for Prime Minister - #Ж
The Macedonian Twitter community is using the hashtag #Ж (uppercase of the Cyrillic letter romanized as Zh) as the shortcut symbol referring to the Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski. (Global Voices, 12/29)

MOLDOVA: Social Media Lessons for the Most Active Youth NGOs from Moldova
The Republic of Moldova has named the most active youth NGOs in 2011. The third place was taken by MediaPoint which is the only organization in Moldova with the purpose of spreading and developing new media in the country. (Net Prophet, 12/28)

UNITED KINGDOM: 'Unwitting' Criminals of the Facebook and Twitter Generation
More than half of Facebook and Twitter users could be routinely risking prosecution according to research exposing mass ignorance of basic legal dangers among internet enthusiasts. (Telegraph, 12/28)

UNITED KINGDOM: 150 Officers Warned over Facebook Posts
One police officer was sacked and more than 150 faced disciplinary action over their behaviour on Facebook in a three-year period, figures have shown. (BBC, 12/30)

Around the Blogosphere

Infinite Stupidity
A tiny number of ideas can go a long way, as we've seen. And the Internet makes that more and more likely. What's happening is that we might, in fact, be at a time in our history where we're being domesticated by these great big societal things, such as Facebook and the Internet. We're being domesticated by them, because fewer and fewer and fewer of us have to be innovators to get by. And so, in the cold calculus of evolution by natural selection, at no greater time in history than ever before, copiers are probably doing better than innovators. Because innovation is extraordinarily hard. My worry is that we could be moving in that direction, towards becoming more and more sort of docile copiers. (Edge, 12/15)

Does the Journal Really Matter Anymore?
Following on my previous post, another thought that springs from personal experience and its convergence with someone's research. If you look at my Google Scholar profile, you will note that in 2011 my citation counts exploded (by social science standards, mind you - in the qualitative social sciences an article with 50 citations or more is pretty huge). Now, part of this is probably a product of my academic maturation - a number of articles now getting attention have been around for 3-4 years, which is about how long it takes for things to work their way into the literature. However, I've also seen a surge in a few older pieces that had previously plateaued in terms of citations. This can't be attributed to a new surge in interest in a particular topic, as these articles cross a range of development issues. However, they all seem to be surging since I got on Twitter and joined the blogosphere. (12/27)

Of Surrogate Futures and Scattered Temporalities
There can be no refuting Michael Edwards' claim that the world we live in is not only thick with problems, but that the problems that we are collectively trying to address are 'thick...complex, politicized and unpredictable...complicated and contested'. It is also difficult to disagree with the fact that the solutions we work with, are often too thin, fetishising enumeration of impact more than actual systemic change in areas of intervention. This is what he calls the 'magic bullet' approach to accounting for the work we do in a language and framework shaped by neo-liberal and corporate productivity in the age of late-capitalism. (Center for Internet and Society, 12/29)

On Nostalgia
Just last week I was discussing the terrifically interesting work of Michael Sacasas who pens The Frailest Thing, a poetic blog about technology and culture. [see: "Information Revolutions & Cultural / Economic Tradeoffs"] I highly recommend you follow his blog even if you struggle to keep up with his brilliance, as I often do. He posted another great essay today entitled, "Nostalgia: The Third Wave," in which he discusses the work of the late social critic Christopher Lasch and his work on memory and nostalgia. Go read the entire thing since I cannot possible do it justice here. Anyway, I posted a short comment over there that I thought I would just republish here in case others are interested. I find the issue of nostalgia to be quite interesting. (Technology Liberation Front, 12/29)


Man Uses Internet Memes for Marriage Proposal
VIDEO: Like a boss, a man recently interrupted his girlfriend's dinner to propose to her with Internet memes. Timothy Tiah Ewe Tiam sneaked up on his long-time love interest Audrey Ooi Feng Ling at Neroteca, a restaurant in Malaysia, and began showing her poster-sized printed memes such as Socially Awkward Penguin, Y U NO Guy, Victory Baby and Impossibru. (Mashable, 12/23)

Antisec Hits Private Intel Firm; Million of Docs Allegedly Lifted
The Antisec wing of Anonymous revealed on Saturday that had compromised the servers of the private intelligence firm Strategic Forecasting Inc. - allegedly seizing millions of internal documents and thousands of credit card numbers from the company, more commonly known as Stratfor. (Threat Level, 12/26)

New York Times Joins Call for Restricted New gTLD Rollout
The New York Times has joined the long list of institutions urging ICANN to reconsider a full-scale rollout of new Internet extensions, arguing in an editorial earlier today for a "pilot program" to be considered instead. (.nxt, 12/26)

Misspelled Websites Aim to Steal Information
A single typo during an online-shopping foray can turn the holiday into a techno-disaster. (USA Today, 12/26)

Twitter of Terror
Somalia's al-Shabaab unveils a new social media strategy for militants. (Slate, 12/23)

Dirty Networks and How They Fall Apart
A couple of weeks ago I drafted a dictator's dead pool for 2012. The list identified 13 authoritarian rulers over 70 years old, and with the death of Kim Jong Il there are 12 guys left on the list. The reason I made such a list was to help frame the most important way international relations may change in the near future -- the collapse of the "dirty network" between authoritarian governments. (Huffington Post, 12/27)

Lax Security Exposes Voice Mail to Hacking, Study Says
It may be tempting to view the illegal interception of telephone voice mails, a practice that has roiled Britain and the News Corp. media empire of Rupert Murdoch, as an arcane tool employed by scofflaw journalists with friends in Scotland Yard. But according to a study to be presented Tuesday, cellphone users in Europe and the rest of the world may be just as vulnerable as the actor Hugh Grant and other celebrities to having their personal voice mail hacked - or worse - because of outdated mobile network security. (New York Times, 12/26)

Radio Remains the BBG Champ
Radio suffers its share of jabs as dated technology. But radio's critics might reflect on data from the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The BBG recently said that its aggregate weekly audience via radio (including shortwave, FM and AM) is 106 million people, while its TV audience is 97 million and its Internet audience is 10 million. (Radio World, 12/19)

Vietnam Blocks Facebook Access but Welcomes Founder Zuckerberg on Vacation
Vietnam may block its citizens from using Facebook, but that didn't stop website founder Mark Zuckerberg from vacationing in the communist country. (Washington Post, 12/27)

Data Journalism: Facts Are Sacred
Simon Rogers' book Facts are Sacred: The Power of Data was published as a Kindle version on Dec. 22nd. The author is in charge of one of the more interesting initiatives of data journalism in the industry, The Guardian's Data Store. (Huffington Post, 12/27)

Internet Changes How We Remember
Four years ago Columbia University psychologist Betsy Sparrow turned to her husband after looking up some movie trivia online and asked, "What did we do before the Internet?" Thus, Sparrow set out to investigate how Google, and all the information it proffers, has changed how people think. Four psychology experiments later Sparrow has her answer, which was published in Science this past August. "[The Web] is an external memory storage space, and we make it responsible for remembering things," she says. (Scientific American, 12/24)

UNL's Drone Journalism Lab: Second Flight
VIDEO: The Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications launched it's first drone on Dec. 24, 2011. The drone is a Parrot AR.Drone. Here, a GoPro HD camera has been added.

Gladwell vs. Shirky: A Year Later, Scoring the Debate Over Social-Media Revolutions
Now that 2011 is coming to a close, it's worth looking back at an intellectual argument that played out just as the year was beginning - back before we saw the spread of the Arab Spring, the UK riots, the Occupy movement, and so much else. (Threat Level, 12/27)

Occupy Geeks Are Building a Facebook for the 99%
"I don't want to say we're making our own Facebook. But, we're making our own Facebook," said Ed Knutson, a web and mobile app developer who joined a team of activist-geeks redesigning social networking for the era of global protest. (Threat Level, 12/28)

Will 2012 Be the Year of Hypermedia?
Andy Carvin became synonymous with a new form of media curation in 2011, retweeting first-hand accounts of the revolutions in Egypt and its surrounding countries to his tens of thousands of followers. A small group of media visionaries is now working to ensure that the next Andy Carvin won't be restricted to 140 characters. (GigaOM, 12/28)

Technology as Symbol: Is Resistance to Surveillance Technology Being Misdirected?
Activists and investigative journalists are highlighting the linkage between modern surveillance technologies and repressive governments. There are now two excellent investigative reporting series, one by the Wall Street Journal (Censorship, Inc.) and another by Bloomberg (Wired for Repression.) Thanks to the overthrow of dictatorships in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, grisly but fascinating tales about the use of digital information and communication technologies as elements of systems of repression and disinformation have been unearthed. (Internet Governance Project, 12/20)

Here Is the News - Newspaper Organisations Defy the Digital Revolution
At the beginning of this month, Clay Shirky offered some thoughts on how we journalists might like to think about our digital future. His essay (it seems trite to describe it as a mere posting), Institutions, confidence, and the news crisis, is short but, as ever, thoughtful. (The Guardian, 12/29)

Today's Email Is 'Not Acceptable', Says Mimecast CTO
From its beginnings in 2003, Neil Murray has been responsible for building Mimecast - now the leading provider of cloud-based email management for Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 - from the ground up. (BBC, 12/29)

TV-Newspaper Marriage Is a Tough Match
In 2000, Tribune Co. announced merger plans with Times Mirror. At the time, the company touted the inherent synergies -- pairing big-city newspapers in the New York area, Los Angeles and Chicago with powerful TV stations -- while public-interest groups fretted about losing independent voices and sources of news. (Variety, 12/28)

AFRICA: 12 predictions for Africa Tech Scene in 2012
It has been a banner year for the Africa technology scene as the world begins to turn to the continent - the Economist Africa rising cover story article was for many, a big validation in the future opportunities as well as challenges for Africa. The best follow up post worth reading is by Professor Juma of the Harvard Kennedy School in the UK Guardian blog, both recognize the importance of the technology scene in supporting Africa's prosperity. (Afrinnovator, 12/28)

CAMEROON: Footballer Samuel Etoo Launches Own Mobile Network in Cameroon
He is currently the highest paid footballer in the world and he is African. Cameroon's Samuel Etoo is reported to have launched a mobile network called Set'Mobile in his home country. "Set" stands for Samuel Etoo and the mobile network becomes the third in the country with a mobile penetration still under 20% (estimated at around 14.8%). (TechMtaa, 12/26)


Twitter Beats Facebook (And Everyone Else) As The Most Popular Social Network Of 2011
Twitter received more media coverage than any other social network in 2011, earning around half of all press reportage, beating Facebook into second place, says a new study. (MediaBistro, 12/27)

Broadcasting Board of Governors Fiscal Year 2011 Performance and Accountability Report

Arab Social Media Report
The societal and political transformations sweeping the Arab region have empowered large segments of the region's population. Many stereotypes have been shattered, with Arab youth, "netizens" and women becoming the main drivers for regional change. Arab women in particular have become more engaged in political and civic actions, playing a critical leading role in the rapid and historic changes that have swept the region. Meanwhile, the debate about the role of social media in these transformations has reached policy making circles at the regional and global levels. (Dubai School of Government, December 2011)

It's a Social World: Social Networking Leads as Top Online Activity Globally, Accounting for 1 in Every 5 Online Minutes
comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released the report It's a Social World: Top 10 Need-to-Knows About Social Networking and Where It's Headed. The report analyzes the current state of social networking activity around the globe, providing key insights into how social networking has influenced the digital landscape and implications for marketers operating in this social world. (comScore, 12/21)

CHINA: Presentation on Mapping Chinese Censorship
I recently presented my work on censorship mapping to my colleagues at the OII, including a couple of maps with early analysis of DNS manipulation in Chinese cities.
The analysis is very preliminary, and there are a huge number of caveats even for the early results, but here's the presentation. (Pseudonymity, 12/29)

The New Landscape for Civics and Politics (Especially in Mobile)
SLIDESHOW: Voting Information Technology Summit-GeekNetNYC (Pew Internet, 12/1)

Culturnomics 2.0: Forecasting Large-Scale Human Behavior Using Global News Media Tone in Time and Space
News is increasingly being produced and consumed online, supplanting print and broadcast to represent nearly half of the news monitored across the world today by Western intelligence agencies. Recent literature has suggested that computational analysis of large text archives can yield novel insights to the functioning of society, including predicting future economic events. Applying tone and geographic analysis to a 30-year worldwide news archive, global news tone is found to have forecasted the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, including the removal of Egyptian President Mubarak, predicted the stability of Saudi Arabia (at least through May 2011), estimated Osama Bin Laden's likely hiding place as a 200-kilometer radius in Northern Pakistan that includes Abbotabad, and offered a new look at the world's cultural affiliations. Along the way, common assertions about the news, such as "news is becoming more negative" and "American news portrays a U.S.-centric view of the world" are found to have merit. (First Monday, 9/5)