Narenji, a technology and gadget site, announced seven of its writers and technical staff were arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.Narenji suspended its activities on Tuesday, second of December.
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“Arabic is the seventh most spoken language by Internet users but only three per cent of digital content on the web comprises of Arabic material,” estimate experts. Among the most frequent web usages is sharing text, through Pastebin and similar services. Yet these do not properly support Arabic text. Developed by Egyptian Mostafa Hussein (@moftasa), Nota aims at bridging this gap:
Nota has a single purpose and that is to help people share any amount of Arabic text quickly and easily. Text is presented in a clear, distraction free and beautiful way and is highly accessible. There is no need to sign up or register. It will also remain ad free, free of charge and open source.
Nota's source code is on GitHub.
A series of debates and workshops dedicated to the democratization of the media, digital radio, cryptography and surveillance, among other digital activism issues, starts tomorrow, November 26, in Rio de Janeiro. The Semana de Mídias Livres (Free Media Week) [pt] gathers three events in one until November 30: the second international conference Spectrum, Society and Communication (ESC2), a meeting organized by the Rizoma de Rádios Livres (Rhizome of Free Radios) [pt], and the third Copyfight meeting, that stated in a release note:
O foco desta edição são os novos desafios da cultura livre em um contexto de crescente insurgência nas redes e nas ruas, assim como questões relevantes no contexto da luta pela democratização da comunicação no Brasil.
The focus of this edition will be given to the new challenges of free culture in a context of growing insurgency in the networks and on the streets, as well as relevant issues in the context of the struggle for democratization of communication in Brazil.
All the activities will be livestreamed in the website of the event.
The Nominet Trust in the United Kingdom announce their 100 favorite projects using digital technology for social good (#NT100).
Known as “the capital of participatory democracy”, the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre will become subject for a lab in the World Forum for Democracy. Focus will be given to the case of PortoAlegre.cc, a project created at the University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Unisinos) which is based on the concept of wikicity – a digital platform that enables the debate on and development of the city:
PortoAlegre.cc é um espaço de radicalização da democracia, onde você tem voz e vez para discutir a cidade, mostrando o que ela tem de bom e o que precisa ser melhorado. Melhor ainda, você pode dar sua opinião de como a cidade pode melhorar, e chamar as pessoas para ajudarem a transformar essa ideia em realidade.
PortoAlegre.cc is a space for radicalization of democracy where you have the voice and turn to debate the city, showing the best of it as well as what needs to be improved. Even better: you can give your opinion on how the city can be improved and call people to help to transform that idea into reality.
Organized by the Council of Europe with the support of the French government, the World Forum for Democracy takes place from November 23 to 29 is Strasbourg, France. PortoAlegre.cc will be discussed in the last day of the conference, November 29, in a panel dedicated to the importance and the future of wikicities:
Giving citizens the initiative and control over policies reverses the traditional model of policy-making – what are the results of wikicity experiments so far, as well as challenges encountered?
The first ever Uganda Social Media Awards (SMAs) took place on 15 November 2013 at The Hub, Oasis Mall in Kampala, Uganda.
The objectives of the awards, which were organised by BluFlamingo, were:
The Uganda SMA’s (Social Media awards) is Uganda’s first event that seeks to bring together individuals and organizations that are at the frontline when it comes to using social media for entertainment, change, sharing of ideas, creating communities and talking to customers online.
The awards seek to reward those individuals and organizations that are making a concerted effort to harness the power of social media to engage and build communities online. From avid face-bookers to twitter personalities and passionate bloggers.
This first of a kind event will be held on November 15th 2013 and will bring together not just the digitally aware, but also corporate organizations at the forefront of new media and those who have contributed to the growth of social media in Uganda.
The winners of different categories were:
Corporate – MTN Uganda
The winners were nominated through online public voting and later selected by a panel of five judges.
Regional litbloggers will be glad to know that The Caribbean Review of Books is back in publication – online – with some help from Bocas Lit Fest.
Even though the Japanese government is working toward advancing its open data policy, the country has a ways to go, ranking 30th out of 70 countries, according to an index compiled by Open Knowledge Foundation. Masahiko Shoji of Open Knowledge Foundation Japan writes:
Japan's open data on government spending, company register, transport timetables and legislation received low ratings. All data set fields were not able to receive an evaluation of “YES”. Such challenges are the same as that of the ratings among the G8 compiled by Open Knowledge Foundation in June this year, and it shows that the progress of Open Data efforts in Japan is small.
The debut video of The Catalan Project (@Catalan_Project) features Fernando de Castro, “a Catalan from Galicia and Spanish”, presenting the project and explaining why some Catalans want independence from Spain using the 16 languages he is able to speak. Subtitles are available in English, French, German, Spanish and Catalan.
The Catalan Project, an independent and non-profit association, provides an open online platform where “all citizens that work and/or live in Catalonia and that have ideas on how to create a better country” can discuss how a hypothetical independent Catalonia should be. Because “independence is not a goal, it is a starting point”. The project is collecting funds on the crowdfunding site Verkami.
You can buy the exclusive rights to such shows but you can’t do that and treat them as if they’re the kind of traditional uni-directional, analog content that’s on its way out without raising the ire of your viewers.
White Africa thinks about blogging at WordCamp Kenya 2013
Today finds me in Nanyuki, Kenya at WordCamp Kenya 2013. The past couple years, I’ve been traveling during the event, but this year I get to come hang out with my blogging brothers and sisters.
As I was thinking about what to talk about, I thought I’d cover four areas:
Why we blog
My rules for blogging
3 things that are bothering me in the Kenyan blogosphere
Using blogging as a tool
The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas [es], with the support of Google [es], will be offering a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) in Spanish for journalists and student interested in learning about creating new online projects and generating audiences and revenue.
Furthermore, as the announcement about the course explains,
Google's support will allow the course to be complimented with a special scholarship to recognize the best projects developed or perfected during the MOOC. The Google-Knight Center scholarship will be offered to at least six participants from Latin America and will consist in a trip to Austin, Texas to attend two digital journalism conferences that the Knight Center will host in April 2014.
The course runs from November 18 to December 15, 2013.
North Korea’s recently-launched Android-based tablet, Samjiyon appeared on eBay, listed by a Canadian account with a shipping location of Yanji in China. North Korea Tech blog also reports that the worlds's one of the best-selling applications, Angry Birds, was included on the tablet without proper permissions from the game maker.
Citing certain violations of the Electoral Law in the social media, the election commission of India has issued some guidelines for the use of Social Media for election campaigning. Nikhil Pahwa at Medianama analyses the guidelines.
‘Internet Needs an Uncompromising “Marco Civil” in Brazil!‘, state international organizations that advocate for free speech and freedoms online in an open letter released on October 28, 2013 (on the eve of the vote on Brazil's ‘bill of rights’ for Internet users). Its opening paragraph reads:
The “Marco Civil da Internet” is a remarkably progressive legislative text to protect Internet and fundamental rights online in Brazil. It has been drafted through an unprecedented collaborative effort involving citizens. But for the past 3 years, it has remained stuck in Parliament, under heavy pressure by industry – mostly telecom – lobbies.
As Global Voices reported earlier this month, Brazil's House of Representatives and Senate had to analyze the bill until the end of October, following a request for urgency in the examination by President Dilma Rousseff last September 11, 2013. Rousseff's speech at the United Nations in the end of September, with tough criticisms of US government surveillance programs and a proposal for the global development of a new digital policy, has grabbed the attention of international organizations.
Encouraging for a “swift adoption” of Marco Civil in Brazil, the open letter was initiated by La Quadrature du Net and has already been signed by global organizations such as Wikileaks, Reporters Without Borders and Article19, as well as other national organizations from Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Poland and Spain.
Vidyut at Aam Janata blog has created a map of the Dengue outbreak in India from various reports published in print media in the last couple of months.
Erik Hersmann explains what iHub, a technology hub in Nairobi, has achieved in its three and a half years of existence:
[T]he iHub started in March 2010, so it’s been about 3.5 years and a lot has happened here in the intervening years. Many people ask me, “so, what has the iHub done?” The best way I could think of to answer that is to just list as much as I could think of, so here’s a rather exhaustive list, though I’m sure that I’m missing some things.
Before I get into that though, maybe a framing on why tech hubs exist is important. They’re not just there for startups, in fact our thoughts on incubation and products going back to 2010 was just pre-incubation and connecting to other businesses and investors. Places like the iHub exist to connect this community together, while we get involved in other gaps that exist in the market (UX, incubation, research, etc), these are just part of providing a place where serendipity happens for those who are involved across the network.
Future Places, a former digital media festival that is turning into a “media lab for citizenship” for its sixth edition, will take place in Porto, Portugal, from October 28 to November 2, 2013.
“A festival without an audience, where everyone who is present participates and discovers in real time ways of collaborating”, explained curator Heitor Alvelos in an inspiring closing note [pt] of 2012′s edition, recalling the ongoing motto since 2008 ”technology are potential tools for the emancipation of citizens”:
não subscrevemos o paradigma que está por detrás da instantaneidade vertiginosa e auto-referente dos gadgets digitais. Queremos usá-los, sim, mas recusamos a amnésia que muitas vezes transportam e induzem. Queremos simultaneamente honrar uma herança histórica, analógica, que atribui sentido e explica o que somos hoje; queremos cultivar a determinação que permite revoluções lentas, mudanças de paradigma a longo prazo; e participando em actos de contestação ao que é socialmente injusto, queremos simultaneamente propor.
we do not endorse the paradigm that lies behind the dizzying instantaneity and self-reference of digital gadgets. We want to use them, yes, but we refuse the amnesia that they often carry and induce. We both honor a historic and analog inheritance which gives sense and explains what we are today; we want to cultivate the determination that allows for slow revolutions, paradigm shifts in the long term; and while actively contesting what is socially unjust, we want to simultaneously make proposals.
The event will bring together scholars, artists, scientists and technologists for a week of practices and debate on digital media. A series of citizen labs will offer workshops on stopmotion, music, gaming, photography, and more.
According to information leaked by Edward Snowden and reported by the German publication Der Spiegel, the NSA (National Security Agency) “has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years.”
A Snowden leak, discussed in detail in Der Spiegel, shows how the NSA broke into the email servers of the Mexican president Felipe Calderon's public account, and used that access to wiretap the president, cabinet members, and senior diplomats. The NSA described the program, called “Flatliquid” as “lucrative.” A second program, “Whitetamale,” also spied on senior Mexican politicians (including presidential candidate Peña Nieto), targeting efforts to change the country's disastrous War on Drugs.
The Guardian reports that Mexico's foreign ministry condemned these allegations and stated that “this practice is unacceptable, illegal and against Mexican and international law.” The foreign ministry also said that “US President Barack Obama had pledged to carry out an ‘exhaustive investigation’ into who was responsible for the suspected spying.”
Representatives of the organizations that manage the technical infrastructure of the Internet meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay, have released a Declaration on the future of Internet cooperation [es], in which they analyze the problems currently affecting the future of the Internet.
Among other things, they mention the importance of globally consistent Internet operations and warn against the fragmentation of the Internet at a national level, while expressing their concern about the global decrease in confidence of Internet users due to the recent revelations of monitoring and surveillance.
This can, in some way, be considered as a response to proposals that go in that direction, such as that recently advanced by the president of Brazil, Dilma Roussef, before the UN and to the activities of the NSA.
With 5.6 million users (September 2013 Data) Facebook is very popular in Bangladesh. Badrud Doza reports that a Facebook group and a TV show titled ‘Aamrai Bangladesh’ (We are Bangladesh) are changing the face of Bangladesh.
The group is dedicated to connect the young people who are involved in community works and committed to social service.
They are acting as a platform to organize the largest network of online blood donation groups in the country. They also focused on the other community support work-service to the poor, collect money for the critical patients to cover their costs, connect police to people etc.
Experts and scholars from Germany and Brazil will get together at a symposium to discuss Democracy in the Digital Era [pt] from October 17 to 18, 2013 in Salvador, the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia. The event will be broadcast live via video stream.
October 18 will see Wilson Gomes (@willgomes) and Jamil Marques (@marquesjamil) debating few forms of online politics. In the afternoon, Gerhard Vowe and Camilo Aggio (@camilo_aggio) will analyze political campaigns in digital media. The entry is free.
A new book on cyberactivism and mobilization on social networks, @ Internet e # Rua (The Internet and the Street) [pt] has been launched in Brazil.
The authors, cyber activists and scholars Fabio Malini (@fabiomalini), from the Federal University of Espírito Santo, and Henrique Antoun (@antounh), from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, sum it up:
Os protestos no Brasil e no mundo permitiram que a hipótese central deste livro se confirmasse: rua e rede se interpenetram e fazem emergir uma política colaborativa, direta e em tempo real. E possui relação intrínseca com as práticas de compartilhamento peer-to-peer, abertas pelas gerações ciberativistas das comunidades virtuais e grupos de discussão dos anos 80; pela radical cultura hacker do vazamento de códigos e informações que amplia o livre fluxo da informação; e pelas teias das páginas públicas virtuais da WWW.
The South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People blog reports that Bangladesh has come up a new website containing flood forecasting and warning information available from June 2013. The Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre website caters some remarkable features to provide flood forecasting information to users in local language including an Interactive Voice Response system.
TPFsquare, a project by a group of volunteer professionals based in Tokyo, compiles a list of efforts to rebuild areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 into single map. The project, which is available in English, seeks to aggregate various reconstruction projects in different locations so that they can be discussed, archived, mapped, curated and made available in one place.
South Korean Defense reportedly plans to launch military-purpose high-tech blimps at the disputed maritime border with North Korea next month. Tech blogger Martyn Williams explains in detail.
Citizens can answer questions on issues like health, internet and copyright, labor, culture, the environment, and more. The site provides background information to help users learn more about the law or citizen initiative. After they cast their vote, Populus shows users which legislators support or reject that particular issue.
Sentidos Comunes [es] adds that the platform works “like a citizen thermometer so legislators can learn what people really think.”
Gerard Best blogs about a new open data initiative aimed at stemming the tide of crime in the country.