Stories from Quick Reads and Digital Activism
Corruption is a well-documented issue in Cameroon. For decades, political scandals have infamously stained the public administration due to multiple embezzlement charges, which in turn led to the creation of a special task force to fight corruption named ”Operation Epervier“.
The outcome of the task force has been mixed so far. Therefore, Cameroonian citizens have taken it upon themselves to report and combat corruption more effectively. A group of IT programmers created an app called NoBakchich that crowdsources all the information related to administrative procedures so that citizens have a clear picture of how to get paperwork done and how much it should cost. The app also allows citizens to report any bribes that they have had to face:
Ainsi, chacune d'elles est gratifiée d’une notation, baptisée «compteur de tchoko»,informant les autres usagers des bonnes ou mauvaises pratiques.
Each administrative procedure will be given a notation, called “Tchoko (bribe in local language) counter” informing other users of public services involved in bad practices.
Le Griot reports that $600 million US dollars are lost annually because of corruption, one-third of which is from illegal logging of the national forests.
Messages of support continue to pour in for Alexander Sodiqov, the Global Voices community member wrongfully detained by local authorities in Khorog, Tajikistan on June 16, while carrying out academic research. Global Voices is grateful to Dr. Marc Herzog and the Ankara Segmenler Forumu who contacted us via email today with the following message of support:
Attached are solidarity pictures for the release of Alexander Sodiqov from the Ankara Segmenler Forumu (a local neighborhood assembly in Ankara which meets every week). I talked about Alexander Sodiqov's detention and we took a group foto with ‘#FreeAlexSodiqov’ poster and I also encouraged people to sign the online petition and gave out print-offs from AI's information. I hope it helps perhaps to indicate the global nature of solidarity with Alexander's case and [pressure] for his immediate release.
Best from Ankara,
El humor siempre ha sido una táctica exitosa para transmitir causas de manera empática (sí, que alguien que no seas tú o tus colegas activistas entiendan la problemática) y llegar a públicos más amplios (sí, más allá de lxs [sic] grupos de sospechosos comunes que siempre te retuitean). El activismo mexicano de 2014 ha tenido una muy buena dosis de humor por parte de comediantes que han aprovechado sus talentos, agudeza y compromiso social para buscar impactar en la sociedad.
Humor has always been a successful tactic to transmit causes in an empathetic way (yes, someone who is not you or your fellow activists understands the problem) and reach larger audiences (yes, beyond the lxs [sic] groups of usual suspects that always retweet you). Mexican activism in 2014 has had a good dose of humor by comedians that have used their talents, keenness and social engagement to impact society.
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According to a report [uk] by RFE/RL (Radio Free Europe), heads of district police departments in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv have been ordered to set up Facebook profiles. As of June 25, 2014, all of them can be found and contacted through the social network, which the Head of the Lviv Regional Department of the Ministry of Interior believes will ensure prompt reaction [uk] of law enforcement officials towards reports from citizens.
Public trust towards law enforcement institutions in Ukraine has reached an all time low during the recent public uprisings, known as #Euromaidan. After a consequent change of government, the new Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov has led a practice of publicly reporting on his activities through a personal Facebook profile [ru], which has been received positively by a large audience.
On June 22 at the World Cup 2014 in Brazil, Algeria defeated South Korea 4-2 to keep its chance of qualifying to the knock-out round alive. Scenes of joy were numerous in Algeria [fr] but also in France where a dynamic Algerian community resides.
The joy was tempered by rumors that a church in Lyon, France was burned down during the celebration. The rumors turned out to be a complete lie spread by extreme right groups based on erroneous photos. Adrien Sénécat explains the details of his fact-checking on the story [fr] :
Peu après le coup de sifflet final dimanche, des tweets ont indiqué qu'une église aurait brûlé dans le quartier de la Duchère, à Lyon. Message notamment relayé par le Bloc Identitaire et des sites proches de l'extrême-droite. Sauf que l'église en question n'a pas brûlé, comme l'ont signalé plusieurs internautes sur les réseaux sociaux. Une église a en revanche bien été incendiée à la Duchère… mais en 2006 (et sans aucun rapport avec un match de l'Algérie).
Shortly after the final whistle on Sunday, some tweets suggested that a church had burned down in the area of Duchère in Lyon, France. These tweets were relayed by Bloc Identitaire and other similar extreme-right group websites. The thing is, the church was still intact, as reported by several twitter users.A Church in Duchère was lit on fire … but in 2006 (and it had no relation whatsoever with an Algerian football).
The website of Myanmar's Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was hacked on Friday morning, July 4, 2014. The hackers replaced two government seals with turtles alluding to the country's slow internet connection. The hacking also coincided with the Facebook blocking which many people believe was done by the government to prevent the spread of hate speech after violent riots erupted in the city of Mandalay.
The government was able to fix the website in the afternoon.
Email Self-Defense, a beginner's guide to email encryption by the Free Software Foundation (FSF), was released in six new languages [fr, de, jp, ru, pt, tr] on June 30, 2014. More languages are underway.
Even if you have nothing to hide, using encryption helps protect the privacy of people you communicate with, and makes life difficult for bulk surveillance systems. If you do have something important to hide, you're in good company; these are the same tools that Edward Snowden used to share his famous secrets about the NSA.
FSF's guide was originally launched as part of the Reset The Net campaign on June 5, 2014 — a global day of action against bulk surveillance that marked the first anniversary of Edward Snowden's revelations about the US National Security Agency's (NSA) massive and indiscriminate global spying machine.
“Email Self-Defense is only one important piece of the solution to bulk surveillance,” FSF states:
While we learn email encryption tools, we also need to push politically to reign in surveillance, build a safer Internet, and force governments and companies to reduce the amount of data they collect about us in the first place. We hope translated versions of Email Self-Defense can be the entry into this multifaceted movement for people all around the world.
The 434-kilometer-long Srinagar-Leh Highway is a spectacular and often scary highway in the Kashmir Valley. This road, which is open for traffic from June to November, is generally muddy, gravely and non-existent at best. The Zoji La mountain pass at 3,528 meters is particularly dangerous with only enough clearance for one-way traffic risking 1,000 meter drops. Minor Sights, a travel blog, posts details about the Srinagar-Leh road trip including the above video report.
The public is being told that the CL Financial bailout is being resolved, while at the same time the Minister of Finance & the Economy is withholding the fundamental information which any prudent person would need to make a decision.
Afra Raymond wonders what is being hidden.
The civic referendum on the election mechanism of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong has begun around noon time today on 20 of June. The voting system has been under massive DDoS attacks since June 14 and now it relies on Cloudflare to defend the platform. Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince updated the situation in Twitter, the attack scale is up to 300Gb per second.
Battling 300Gbps+ attack right now. Knew it was coming so well prepared. Helluva story someday. pic.twitter.com/YJW9u5TBoL
— Matthew Prince (@eastdakota) June 20, 2014
Were thinking of opening @CloudFlare's Asian office in Singapore. After all the love tonight, thinking maybe Hong Kong instead.
— Matthew Prince (@eastdakota) June 20, 2014