The Civic Beat Sundae: Oct 13 Edition


It’s Sunday the 13th! That must mean something somewhere, right? This week we only had one Reader article but it was a tasty one. Swedish videographer and meme-nographer Sara Fritzon spoke with us about memes about fika, a tasty essential snack for Swedes. For this Sundae, we’re trying out a new format. Be sure to let us know what you think!

In the coming weeks, we may be a little quiet on the site as we get into more tinkering in the background, but we’ll be maintaining the Sundae. So stay tuned!

World Scoop Culture Swirl
  • [Twitter] Buzzfeed writes up the “29 stages of a Twitterstorm“.  Feel familiar? What might seem innocuous and silly in certain contexts can be powerful in parts of the world where freedom of expression is limited.
  • [International ] ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, is making plans to decentralize the internet from US control in light of surveillance revelations: “Earlier this week, leaders of organizations responsible for coordination of the global Internet technical infrastructure met in Montevideo, Uruguay and decided to hasten their planned withdrawal from the Commerce Department’s nominal oversight. In a statement, the group ‘expressed strong concern over the undermining of the trust and confidence of Internet users globally due to recent revelations of pervasive monitoring and surveillance.'” (h/t Raw Story)
  • [USA] California recently passed a lot allowing teens to erase their online history from before age 18. Azeem Khan from PolicyMic argues that changing the law is not enough: ” Though the Californian bill is well intentioned, no bill can be comprehensive enough to fully insulate young people from online mistakes. The nature of social content is that it spreads far beyond the purview of the site on which it originates — and its consequences do, too. Rather than legislate the issue, the best thing we can do to protect young internet users would be to educate them, preventing such posts in the first place.”
Cone Of Censorship
  • [Russia] The Atlantic writes about Russia’s online propaganda army: “Now, it seems, we have an answer to where some of this acrimony originates. It’s of course impossible to tell whose vitriol is genuine and whose is being bankrolled, but at least some anti-Western comments appear to come from staffers the Russian government pays to sit in a room, surf the Internet, and leave sometimes hundreds of postings a day that criticize the country’s opposition and promote Kremlin-backed policymakers.”
  • [Saudi Arabia] TechPresident writes about how Saudi Arabia is blocking an online petition to allow women to drive: “In their petition to the government, the Saudi activists have tapped into the ongoing conversation about women drivers. They ask the state if, since there is no law prohibiting women from driving, religious or otherwise, then they should be provided a way of getting a license. Barring that, they want the government to provide a legal justification for the ban.”
  • [Asia] Tech in Asia looks at Freedom House’s report on internet freedom. The most free internetz in Asia? Japan and the Philippines. The least free? China and Vietnam.
  • [Zimbabwe] Also from TechPresident, a look at how mandatory SIM card registration is the “newest assault” on privacy and expression in the country. As the article explores, registration per se isn’t a violation of privacy; it has to be set in the right context: “Other countries like Kenya and Uganda also have a registration system in place for SIM cards, but Freedom House still considers these countries to have relative freedom on the Internet. In those countries, providers hold onto the data unless required by a court order to provide the government with the information.”


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