Government & Communications

Attempts by governmental bodies to improve or impede communications with or between the citizenry.

Iran's Own Internet

Location:
Iran, Iran
Recommendation:
3

The World Wide Web is nearing its end in Iran.

The Information and Communications Technology Agenda for 2017 and Beyond

Location:
Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
3

In order to push the economy out of secular stagnation and to increase average family income for all income quintiles, the next government — both the Executive and Legislative Branches — needs a plan for the information and communication technologies (ICT) platform.

The Guardian view on Internet security: a huge and growing problem

Location:
The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU, United Kingdom
Recommendation:
3

International efforts to police it are urgently needed and the companies that sell us these powerful phones must also be pressed to live up to their responsibilities to keep them safe so that their power is not easily turned against their owners.

Two Months of Internet Blackouts Have Taken a Toll on Kashmir

Location:
India, India
Recommendation:
4

In moments of peak violence the law enforcement in Kashmir has started wielding a new means of control: mobile and digital blackouts.

President Obama's misguided plan to connect schools to the Internet

Location:
Clemson University, Clemson, SC, 29634, United States
Recommendation:
3

E-Rate is almost the perfect Washington DC program. But in a large study of students in North Carolina, two colleagues and I recently found that the actual benefits for students—the kids the program is supposed to help—are about zero.

A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories

Location:
Europe
Recommendation:
2

Using both conventional media and covert channels, the Kremlin relies on disinformation to create doubt, fear and discord in Europe and the United States. The flow of misleading and inaccurate stories is so strong that both NATO and the European Union have established special offices to identify and refute disinformation, particularly claims emanating from Russia.

No Matter How You Slice It, Pai Is Right

Location:
TVNewsCheck, Chatham, NJ, 07928, United States
Recommendation:
3

As one of two Republican commissioners who voted to end the Federal Communications Commission's ban on television-newspaper crossownership only to come up short, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai summed up his — and the industry's — frustration.

DOJ lawyer who leaked Bush spy program is censured for ethics failure

Location:
Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20530-0001, United States
Recommendation:
3

The Justice Department lawyer who disclosed the secret and warrantless surveillance program then-President George W. Bush adopted in the immediate aftermath of the Sept.11 terror attacks was publicly censured Aug 25 by a federal appeals court for breaching legal ethics.

How to Delight Customers Through Public-Private Partnerships

Recommendation:
3

A key function of government is to address citizen constituent needs. Fulfilling those needs requires implementing innovative and cost-effective services through the public sector’s digital transformation.

Apple boosts iPhone security after powerful spyware targets an activist

Location:
The Citizen Lab, 315 Bloor Street West Munk School of Global Affairs University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5S 1A3, Canada
Recommendation:
3

A botched attempt to break into an activist's iPhone using hitherto unknown espionage software has triggered a global upgrade of Apple's mobile operating system, researchers said Aug 25.

Secret Cameras Record Baltimore's Every Move From Above

Location:
Baltimore City Council, 100 Holliday St, Balitmore, MD, 21202, United States
Recommendation:
3

Since January, Baltimore police have been testing an aerial surveillance system adapted from the surge in Iraq. And they neglected to tell the public.

Activists call for Facebook 'censorship' change after Korryn Gaines death

Location:
Facebook (new HQ), 1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA, United States
Recommendation:
2

A consortium of activist groups has sent an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking him to implement an “anti-censorship policy” at Facebook in its dealings with law enforcement officials in the wake of the death of Baltimore woman Korryn Gaines. Gaines, killed just after her Facebook Live video stream of her confrontation with police officers was turned off, was being served an arrest warrant after failing to appear in court for a traffic violation.

Hillary Clinton’s 15,000 New Emails to Get Timetable for Release

Location:
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 333 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20001, United States
Recommendation:
2

The dispute over Hillary Clinton’s email practices now threatens to shadow her for the rest of the presidential campaign after the disclosure that the FBI collected nearly 15,000 new emails in its investigation of her and a federal judge’s order that the State Department accelerate the documents’ release. As a result, thousands of emails that Clinton did not voluntarily turn over to the State Department could be released just weeks before the election in November.

Proposal to monitor social media comes under criticism

Location:
Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC, 20528, United States
Recommendation:
3

A coalition of 28 organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology signed a letter expressing opposition to the Department of Homeland Security’s proposal to include social media in its review of visa-waiver applicants.

FCC chairman doubles down on political hubris after court decision

Location:
Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studi, Washington, DC, 20015, United States
Recommendation:
3

In 2015, the Federal Communications Commission, at the urging of the White House, voted along party lines to preempt portions of Tennessee and North Carolina laws designed to delineate the terms and conditions under which municipalities may construct and deploy broadband Internet networks in order to offer advanced communications services to the general public. Notwithstanding clear Supreme Court precedent holding that this type of preemption is unconstitutional, the FCC nonetheless plowed ahead with its efforts to have the federal government dictate to a state how it governs its municipal subdivisions.

Should Government Clean Up Its Twitter Feeds?

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
3

Twitter unveiled a new feature to clean up the user experience Aug 18. But will the change mean more pressure for government social media managers, and what considerations does it raise for social media managers?

San Rafael kicks off push to build 'iterative' website as part of digital services overhaul

Location:
San Rafael, CA, United States
Recommendation:
1

San Rafael, California, is aiming to build a new website with the public’s help, following in the footsteps of major metropolises like Boston and New York City by launching a beta version of the overhauled web portal before rolling out a full version.

Bulk data collection vital to prevent terrorism in UK, report finds

Location:
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Recommendation:
2

The bulk collection of personal data by British spy agencies is vital in preventing terrorist attacks, an independent review of draft security legislation has found.

NSA’s use of software flaws to hack foreign targets posed risks to cybersecurity

Location:
National Security Agency (NSA), MD, 20755-6000, United States
Recommendation:
2

To penetrate the computers of foreign targets, the National Security Agency relies on software flaws that have gone undetected in the pipes of the Internet. For years, security experts have pressed the agency to disclose these bugs so they can be fixed, but the agency hackers have often been reluctant. Now with the mysterious release of a cache of NSA hacking tools over the weekend, the agency has lost an offensive advantage, experts say, and potentially placed at risk the security of countless large companies and government agencies worldwide.

Next Century Cities Announces Three Winning Cities of the Benton Awards for Next Generation Engagement

Location:
Next Century Cities, 1200 18th Street NW, Washington, DC, 20036, United States
Recommendation:
3

Next Century Cities announced the three winning cities of the inaugural Charles Benton Next Generation Engagement Awards: Raleigh (NC), Austin (TX), and Louisville (KY). The three cities were selected for proposing innovative programs that will use high-speed broadband to improve civic engagement and democratic participation.

Civil liberties groups ask FCC to probe Baltimore police use of cellphone tracking devices

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States
Recommendation:
2

Several civil liberties organizations filed a complaint asking the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the use of cellphone tracking devices by the Baltimore Police Department.

Update on the IANA Transition

Location:
National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), 1401 Constitution Ave, Washington, DC, 20230, United States
Recommendation:
2

Two months ago, we passed an important milestone in a nearly 20-year effort to privatize the Internet domain name system (DNS). We announced on June 9 that the transition proposal developed by the Internet multistakeholder community meets the criteria we outlined in March 2014 when we declared our intent to transition NTIA’s stewardship role related to the DNS.

BT slams rivals’ ‘Fix Britain’s Internet’ campaign as misleading

Location:
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Recommendation:
1

Gavin Patterson, chief executive of BT, has written to his counterparts at rival broadband providers Sky, Vodafone and TalkTalk to complain that their ‘Fix Britain’s Internet’ campaign is misleading consumers and “talking down” Britain. Patterson’s personal intervention comes amid a fractious debate about the state of Britain’s broadband that has seen BT’s rivals and MPs call for the break-up of BT and its Openreach division.

Groups Say Transitioning Internet-Naming Agency Would Break Law

Location:
US Capitol, East Capitol Street, NE and 1st Street, NE, DC, 20515, United States
Recommendation:
1

Twenty-five advocacy groups want the Commerce Department to hold off on plans to cede its control over the body that governs internet domain names. But the United States shows no signs of halting plans to end its leadership of the body by the end of next month. The groups argue that riders on spending bills in Congress prohibit the internet naming transition from moving forward. If the Obama Administration moves forward with its plan to relinquish control, the groups say Congress should sue.

The next frontier of online activism is ‘woke’ chatbots

Recommendation:
2

Since early June, an account called @StayWokeBot has been doing its best to help keep others aware.

AT&T’s Jim Cicconi to retire

Location:
AT&T, 208 South Akard St, Dallas, TX, 75202, United States
Recommendation:
4

AT&T’s top policy executive is leaving the company.

Emails show Google’s close relationship with the White House

Location:
Campaign for Accountability , Washington, DC, United States
Recommendation:
2

The nonprofit group Campaign for Accountability recently launched a project to compile documents about Google's lobbying practices, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Think Tank Scholar or Corporate Consultant? It Depends on the Day

Location:
USA, United States
Recommendation:
3

An examination of 75 think tanks found an array of researchers who had simultaneously worked as registered lobbyists, members of corporate boards or outside consultants in litigation and regulatory disputes, with only intermittent disclosure of their dual roles. With their expertise and authority, think tank scholars offer themselves as independent arbiters, playing a vital role in Washington’s political economy. Their imprimatur helps shape government decisions that can be lucrative to corporations. But the examination identified dozens of examples of scholars conducting research at think tanks while corporations were paying them to help shape government policy.

American Cable Association Skewers Connect America Fund Proposals for Lacking Data, Avoiding Statutory Requirements

Location:
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

The first round of comments in the Federal Communications Commission's Connect America Fund (CAF) rulemaking have "strayed from the statute's 'reasonable comparability' requirement," according to the American Cable Association's reply comments on the competitive bidding program.

Judge criticizes secrecy rules surrounding FBI requests for companies’ data

Location:
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 333 Constitution Ave, NW, Washington, DC, 20001, United States
Recommendation:
2

In a recent ruling, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg for the District of Columbia criticized new rules regarding how long the government can demand secrecy from companies when it requests data on national security cases.

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