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Serbian Government Agency Publishes Personal Data of Over 5 Million Citizens

Screenshot of part of the documents containing personal information of citizens that were available on the official site of the Privatization Agency of the Republic of Serbia. Image by SHARE Foundation, used with permission.

Screenshot of part of the documents containing personal information of citizens that were available on the official site of the Privatization Agency of the Republic of Serbia. Image by SHARE Foundation, used with permission.

A link from the official website of the Privatization Agency of the Republic of Serbia began circulating on social networks in early December 2014. The link led to 19 gigabytes of text files on the agency's site that revealed the personal information of over 5 million Serbian citizens who had registered for free stock of state-owned companies in 2008. The files included the full names of citizens who had registered, as well as their Unique Master Citizen Numbers (JMBG), a number given to each citizen from which a birth date, place of birth and other information can easily be deduced.

The link was caught on Twitter during the week of December 8, 2014, by the legal team of SHARE Defense, the think tank unit of local non-government organization SHARE Foundation that conducts research and offers legal aid in the realm of human and civic rights. The foundation's team analysed the documents and reported the issue to the office of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection of the Republic of Serbia. The links were removed from the agency's website in the afternoon hours of Friday, December 12, but it is impossible to know who downloaded the information in the meantime.

Citizens have started reacting on social networks, many calling this an “unforgivable” offense by a government agency. Twitter user Vladan Joler tweeted a common sentiment:

The biggest security breach in the realm of information systems protection and citizens’ privacy to date in RS [Republic of Serbia] @ShareConference http://t.co/WO96P4IBTU

— Vladan Joler (@TheCreaturesLab) December 15, 2014

It remains unclear why the documents were published on the site, if by mistake or otherwise. The office of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection took on the case immediately and it is expected that it will follow through with an investigation.

In the meantime, SHARE Foundation's legal think tank team has warned any and all who have downloaded the data that any use of part or all of the information in these files would represent a a criminal offense and has recommended that anyone who has retained a copy of any or all of the documents delete them permanently.

What is Sinology?

Sinology is still unknown to many people, as Isma Ruiz writes after attending the I International Congress of Sinology in Spanish, last June at the University of Tamkang – Tamsui, Taiwan.

Although the focus was translation and interpretation of classic Chinese books, the necessity of learning a new language when studying a culture or being able to use the language in politics were also addressed. Two lecturers caught the interest of Ruiz, Alicia Relinque and Eduardo Daniel Oviedo. About their talks, Ruiz notes:

Relinque, nos explicó muy brevemente su experiencia personal como traductora y cómo a lo largo del tiempo ha ido cambiando su metodología en función de la obra a traducir e incluso a veces por los requisitos impuestos desde la editorial. Seguidamente expuso varios ejemplos de traducciones de otros autores

[...]

(Oviedo) trataba del papel que juega actualmente el chino como elemento integrador de la sociedad china, así como la lucha que tiene con otros idiomas para ser la lengua hegemónica a medida que crece el poder político y económico de la República Popular China, mientras expande su influencia a otras regiones del mundo de cara a la formación de una lengua global.

Relinque briefly explained us her personal experience as translator and how as time went by she has been changing her methodology according to the text to be translated and sometimes even according to the requirements by the publisher. She then talked about several translations by other authors

[...]

(Oviedo) addressed the role currently played by Chinese language as unifying element in Chinese society, as well as the struggle it has with other languages to be the hegemonic language as Popular Republic of China's political and economic power grows, as it expands its influence to other regions of the world in regards to the formation of a global language.

Now it's time to wait for the second edition on 2016 and the possibility for the Autonomous University of Barcelona to organize it. That hasn't been decided yet.

You can follow Isma Ruiz on Twitter and Facebook.

This post was part of the twenty-eighth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 10, 2014.

Lima Offers a Space for Reflection on Climate Change With the People's Summit

As an alternative event during the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP20), with the aim of discussing solutions to reverse climate change, Lima, Peru will host another space for reflection about this issue: the Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change. Unlike COP20, this summit is made up of thousands of young people and individuals belonging to social organizations, trade unions, indigenous communities and rural groups.

Fotografía de la Cumbre de los Pueblos frente al Cambio Climático, extraída del sitio Claves 21, utilizada con autorización

Image of Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change, taken from site Claves 21, used with permission.

The People's Summit on Climate Change defines this phenomenon as a direct consequence of the capitalist system, especially the role of providers of commodities the system has given Latin American countries.

Damián Profeta, an Argentinean journalist who is attending both events, sums up the approach of the People's Summit:

Para los participantes de la Cumbre de los Pueblos, el calentamiento global es intrínseco al sistema capitalista y la respuesta a ese problema debe ser cambiar los modos de producción y consumo. En variados discursos, los oradores apelaron a la “Madre Tierra”y repudiaron el extractivismo en los países latinoamericanos.

For People's Summit attendees, global warming is inherent to the capitalist system and the response to this problem should be changing the ways of producing and consuming. In several speeches, the lecturers appealed the “Mother Earth” and condemned the extractivie methods of the countries.

The schedule of the summit includes lectures, conferences and activities, and there is also a community radio and a local manufacturer fair.

Where? Parque de la Exposición, Lima.
When? December 8-14, 2014.

For all those who won't be able to attend, you can follow the event on Facebook.

Architects in Finland Battle Over the Helsinki Guggenheim and the “Next Helsinki”

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Miguel A. Blanco on Flickr.

The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Photo by Miguel A. Blanco on Flickr.

In early December 2014, the shortlist for a competition of the desing of the new Guggenheim museum in Helsinki was announced. The bulk of the building of the new Finnish venue of the famed museum of modern and contemporary art will be financed by the government of Finland and the project is already causing controversy and disagreements in public opinion.

The main sponsor of this promising project will be Finnish taxpayers, with the government willing to spend as much as 130 million Euro on the museum, which will carry the world-renowned Guggenheim name. In fact, the Finnish government will spend 30 million euros of this budget specifically on paying for the use of the Guggenheim brand. These expenses are already the cause of open outrage among local residents. For many locals, it seems particularly unfair to invest taxpayers’ money in a non-Finnish museum and brand. Many see it as sponsoring “someone else's trademark”.

Local and national media have been critical of the entire contest for the design of the museum and have called the entire project “a vanity project”.

The number of participants in the contest for the design of the new Helsinki Guggenheim was incredibly high, with more then 1700 proposals received from professional architects from more then 77 countries.

Authorities in the city have taken this and other elements as good signs and have explained that they expect the new museum to become the main tourist attraction in Helsinki, boosting tourism and the city's economy in general. Some representatives of the municipality have referenced the so-called “Bilbao effect”, describing the effect that the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain had on bringing in almost 4 million tourists to Bilbao in the first 3 years and boosting the local economy. Locals in Helsinki, however, fail to see the parallel between the two cities, as the Bilbao Guggenheim was part of a larger economic and cultural revitalization in the Spanish city.

In Finland, in response to the government's decision to collaborate with Guggenheim, an alternative competition was created for another project dubbed “The Next Helsinki”, where Finnish architects will be offering their own urban design solution for the city. On the project's official website the organizers of this effort call participants to:

“Help us seize this opportunity to highlight the city's singularity, and its residents’ appetite for social, environmental and cultural justice.”

Submissions for the “New Helsinki” contest will be open until March 2, 2015.

The A to Z of Kenyan Twitter

Mark Kaigwa, who declared “Twitter is going to change Kenya” in February 2010, describes the A to Z of Kenyan Twitter:

Kenyans on Twitter are the ones to be rallying behind a hashtag, making light work of creating a global trending topic. Be it to bringing CNN to apologise for a story, correcting misperceptions of the country with #SomeoneTellCNN or to celebrate the humour behind the national education and final examination system with examples such as #KCPE2010, #KCPE2012 and others.

In another fleeting moment they will wage virtual war on another African nation (be the reason sparked by football (Nigeria), politics (South Africa) or foreign policy (Botswana). Again the war cry of #SomeoneTell beckoning them. And #KOT won’t stop with just trading barbs and insults, they’ll take any misperception and stereotype they can find and using what seems to be a growing lexicon of African-made memes as when attacking Nigeria.

Online Entrepreneurship: Interview With Ana Bizarro from ‘Acción Alegría’

Andrea Collazo, who we already know from her blog Profesora de Informática (Computing teacher), shares an interview with entrepreneur and creator of accionconalegría.com, Ana Bizarro.

Bizarro's website aims to provide support to “entrepreneur parents, with children and no time, this is, people who are responsible for their lives”. There is no age, gender, condition, let alone religion that may prevent someone to become an entrepreneur, claims the interviewee and discusses the advantages of online entrepreneurship:

La primera, como he adelantado en la primera pregunta, el coste: hace 15 años invertí 20.000€ e hipotequé mi vivienda ¡hoy no lo haría ni loca!

La segunda, el estilo de vida: con una simple conexión a internet y un ordenador puedo trabajar desde cualquier lugar ¡La bomba! Una herramienta vital para la conciliación laboral.

La tercera: el efecto palanca. Me explico, con un simple artículo puedes conseguir 1000 visitas en una semana, o incluso en un día. Eso era algo impensable en la era analógica. ¡¡Ni los mejores comerciales!!

The first one, as I've already mentioned on the first question, the cost: 15 years ago, I invested 20.000€ and got a mortgage on my house. Today, this wouldn't even cross my mind!

The second one, lifstyle: with a simple connection to the Internet and a computer, I can work from anywhere. Great! A vital tool for conciliation.

The third one: the lever effect. This is, with a simple piece, you can get 1000 views in a week, or even in a day. This was inconceivable in the analogic era. Not even the best commercials!!

You can follow interviewer Andrea Collazo on @ascollazo, and interviewee Ana Bizarro on @bizarroana73

This post was part of the twenty-ninth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 17, 2014.

New Distribution of Colonies and Native Nations in Mexico City

On his personal blog Hbt, Olivera Herbert writes about a new district distribution (starting on October 2014) and the popular referendum about participatory budgeting 2015 (November 2014), that allowed us to assess and ellaborate a new Catalog of Colonies and Native Nations 2013 in Mexico City.

Herbert has prepared a chart of the 1,753 communities and 40 native nations and invites us to download it here, a *.kml file you can use on a free and open code SIG, such as QGIS. The author explains what a colony means geographically and the so called native nations:

De acuerdo a la Ley de Participación Ciudadana del D.F. la colonia es la división territorial del Distrito Federal y los pueblos originarios son asentamientos que mantienen la figura de autoridad tradicional de acuerdo a sus normas, procedimientos y prácticas tradicionales.

According to the Bill of Citizen Participation of Mexico City, colony is the territorial division of the Federal District and native nations are settlements that keep the figure of tradtional authority under its rules, procedures and traditional practices.

Herbert Olivera's account on Twitter is @oliveraherbert for further details.

This post was part of the twenty-eighth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 10, 2014.

Astrophysicist Shares the History of the Rosetta-Philae Mission

Foto tomada del blog de Ángel R.Lopez y usada con autorización.

First image of Philae taken over the comet. Picture taken from Ángel R.Lopez's blog and used with permission.

The comet Churymov-Gerasimenko was discovered on 1969, the same year a mission landed on the Moon. Back then, no one would have imagined that 45 years later a small spacecraft called Rosetta transporting a landing module and the hopes of thousands would touch down on surface of a comet known as Chury.

Astrophysicist Ángel R. López shares on his blog that this interplanetary journey spanned 10 years and 64 billion kilometers. Furthermore, this marks the first time that human inventiveness has made it all the way to a comet.

But this long trip isn't important just for those reasons; it also intends to clear up such transcendental doubts as life on Earth, which could have arrived on board a comet, as several experts claim.

This blogger and astrophysicist also details the cost of the mission:

La misión Rosetta – Philae ha costado a los europeos 1400 millones de euros, repartidos en 20 años. Esto corresponde a solo 3'5 € por europeo a repartir en esos 20 años. Es decir, poco mas de 20 céntimos por año.

Mission Rosetta-Philae has cost European people 1,400 million euros, distributed over 20 years. This means 3.5 € per European citizen to be distributed in those 20 years. Little more than 20 cents per year, that is.

There are also some people that are opposed to this expense, but, as Ángel R.Lopez notes, it's worth it, as a deep and important issue for human beings, if we want to stop living in the past.

You can follow Ángel R.Lopez on Twitter: @El_Lobo_Rayado

This post was part of the twenty ninth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 17, 2014

Mexico: What's Next? “Our Beloved Departed Deserve Respect”

From Merida, Andres Mayorquín reflects on the sentimients of Mexicans once they have been part of the marches for the disappearance of student teachers. Some ot them are already tired and they  wonder if ti's worth it to take the streets. The mistrustful ones want Mexicans stop protesting and use their time “to work harder, to stop giving bribes, to respect others’ liberty or be more productive, to stop the whining”.

The opposite is no longer enough in Mexico, concludes Marroquín. Three proposals to this question: “What shall we expect or do with all this movement unleashed after the disappearance of the teacher students that ended up representing all the disappeared, murdered, kidnapped and attacked of the country?”:

Primero que nada, negarnos radicalmente a la violencia… La mayoría no queremos más agresión, queremos paz, queremos encontrar mejores formas de relacionarnos unos con otros en nuestra sociedad diversa y queremos justicia, que respete la dignidad de cada uno de nosotros.

[...]

Tercero, desarrollar una propuesta concreta…una legislación sobre la revocación de mandato, la formación de una Comisión de la Verdad, hacer obligatorias y públicas las declaraciones patrimoniales de los servidores públicos y sus familiares, facilitar los requisitos de las candidaturas independientes, una regulación sobre los legisladores plurinominales.

First of all, we radically reject violence… Most of us don't want more aggression, we want peace, we want to look for better ways of relating with each other in our diverse society and we want justice, they the dignity each of use deserves might be respected.

[...]

Third, elaborate a concrete proposal… a legislation about power revocation, the formation of a Truth Commission, make wealth declarations mandatory and public for pubilc servants and their family members, make easier for independent candidates to run for office, a regulation about multi-member legislators.

Visit Se hace camino al andar, Andrés Mayorquín's blog. You can also interact with him on Facebook, Twitter and G+

This post was part of the thirtieth #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on November 24, 2014.

South Korea: Game Mocking the Airplane Nuts Fiasco

Korean Air Lines vice president has made numerous headlines, both locally and internationally, for her arrogant behavior on a recent flight out. She randomly accused a crew member of serving macadamia nuts ‘incorrectly’ and even she ordered a plane back to the gate to remove the crew member out of the plane. No wonder this sensational story has become one of the trending topics in social media. Among numerous internet jokes, parody photos and even a cartoon by Japanese users, one stood out most would be a game mocking the Airplane nuts fiasco. A Korean web developer, Tai-hwan Hah (@duecorda) made a simple game entitlted ‘Crew Members’ Tycoon’ [ko]. However you play, you get the same result of the crew member being yelled at and hearing the sentence ‘You! Get out of the plane!’ — the very word the vice president allegedly said to the crew.

Image the 'Crew Members' Tycoon', Image tweeted by the maker of the game

Image the ‘Crew Members’ Tycoon', Image tweeted by the maker of the game

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