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The Podium

Blog posts tagged with 'Protests'

Thursday, July 19

Blurring Faces to Protect Citizens

By Brad

At Talking Points Memo, Carl Franzen reports on a new effort from YouTube to protect protesters from hardline governments:

Many video subjects have become recognizable viral video sensations thanks to YouTube. But YouTube itself wants to allow some video subjets the ability to remain anonymous, too, if they choose: On Wednesday, the Google-owned online video hub launched a new “face blurring” video editing tool specifically for this purpose.

The tool allows video creators to upload their footage as before, but now they have the option, with the click of a button, to have YouTube’s software automatically detect and blur all of the human faces in their video files.

The tool is currently being refined, but given how much YouTube — and all social media — has been used in protests around the world, it could turn out to be a very big thing.

Friday, January 20

Protests & Piracy

By Brad

Earlier this week, a number of popular online sites — including Wikipedia and Google — went “dark” in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), two anti-piracy bills that had been making their way through the House and Senate, respectively.

The protests appear to have had an effect, as scheduled votes on both bills have been put on hold. Over at GigaOm, Stacey Higginbotham examines why the protests were effective:

The protests that rocked the web on Wednesday and resulted in 13 million Americans taking some form of action to protest PIPA and its companion bill in the House, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), have been essential for swaying legislative opinion on the issue. Behind the scenes, tech industry leaders have been discussing the issue with congressional staffers and legislators in an effort to educate them about the effects of the legislation and more broadly about how the Internet works at a technical and business level.

Online piracy is a complicated issue, and it’s unlikely the debate will be settled any time soon. But it’s encouraging that Congress is willing take its time on legislation. After all, the Internet only became what it is today thanks to a “light touch” when it comes to government intervention.

Monday, March 28

Social Networks and Society

By Brad

At the New York Times, Jennifer Preston looks at the growing role of social networking sights in humanitarian and political events:

[The] new role for social media has put these companies in a difficult position: how to accommodate the growing use for political purposes while appearing neutral and maintaining the practices and policies that made these services popular in the first place.

YouTube was one of the first social media networks to wrestle with content posted by a human rights advocate that conflicted with its terms of service. In November 2007, YouTube removed videos flagged as “inappropriate” by a community member that showed a person in Egypt being tortured by the police.

The entire article, inspired by the removal of photos of Egyptian police on Flickr, is worth reading.

Thursday, February 24

The Power of YouTube

By Brad

With the civic unrest having spread from Egypt to Libya, Libyan authorities have cracked down on access to the Internet. But as GigaOm’s Janko Roettgers reports, captured video of violence against Libyan protesters is still making it to the rest of the world:

Many videos documenting the violence in Libya nonetheless find their way to YouTube. A Google spokesperson said on Tuesday that more than 9500 videos tagged “Libya” have been uploaded to the video site in the week since the beginning of the uprising.

Tuesday, February 01

Getting Word Out of Egypt

By Brad

With the Egyptian government continuing its crackdown on Internet access, Google and Twitter are teaming up to help citizens connect to the outside world. Reports Cecilia Kang of the Washington Post:

Over the weekend, a small group of engineers from the companies got together to create the service that allows anyone with access to voice service—landline or mobile—to leave a messsage that automatically gets transmitted into a tweet, according to the Google blog. People cut off from Internet and mobile services in Egypt could call +16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855. Tweets from the call would be sent with the hashtag: #egypt.

Friday, January 28

Shutting Down the Internet

By Brad

At GigaOm, Bobbie Johnson has a fascinating report on how the Egyptian government shut down the country’s Internet during this week’s major protests:

“It looks like they’re taking action at two levels,” Rik Ferguson of Trend Micro told me. “First at the DNS level, so any attempt to resolve any address in .eg will fail — but also, in case you’re trying to get directly to an address, they are also using the Border Gateway Protocol, the system through which ISPs advertise their Internet protocol addresses to the network. Many ISPs have basically stopped advertising any internet addresses at all.”

Essentially, we’re talking about a system that no longer knows where anything is. Outsiders can’t find Egyptian websites, and insiders can’t find anything at all. It’s as if the postal system suddenly erased every address inside America — and forgot that it was even called America in the first place.

Read the whole thing.


Monday, May 17

Protest of the Day

By Brad

Facebook has been taking a lot of heat over privacy lately. with many users complaining that the sites privacy policies are bloated, complicated, and impossible to make sense of.

Now a new group is encouraging users to dump the social networking site on the same day: May 31. And the group’s site, Quit Facebook Day, has already received over 3,000 commitments.

Thursday, September 03

Mark Your Calendars

By Brad

From LOL Cats to countless “Daily Kitteh” posts on blogs, there’s no denying that felis catus are a fixture of the Internet. In fact, it’s gotten so out of hand that the site Urlesque is calling for a worldwide day without cats on the Internet.

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