“… it would be a mistake to “over-learn” the lessons that the Arab revolutions have taught about information, technology, and power. While the information revolution could, in principle, reduce large states’ power and increase that of small states and non-state actors, politics and power are more complex than such technological determinism implies.
In the middle of the twentieth century, people feared that computers and new means of communications would create the kind of central governmental control dramatized in George Orwell’s 1984. And, indeed, authoritarian governments in China, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere have used the new technologies to try to control information. Ironically for cyber-utopians, the electronic trails created by social networks like Twitter and Facebook sometimes make the job of the secret police easier.”
For full text of this thought provoking article, please visit The Information Revolution Gets Political by Joseph S. Nye – Project Syndicate.
By Will Oremus, Slate Magazine, Dec 14, 2002
When something momentous is unfolding—the Arab Spring, Hurricane Sandy, Friday’s horrific elementary school shooting in Connecticut—Twitter is the world’s fastest, most comprehensive, and least reliable source of breaking news. If you were on the microblogging site Friday afternoon, you were among the first to hear the death toll, watch the devastated reactions, and delve into the personal details of the man the media initially identified as a killer. But there’s also a good chance you were taken in by some of the many falsehoods that were flying, like a letter one of the young victims purportedly wrote to his mother before the shooter entered the classroom. And, of course, all of those social media pages that were making the rounds turned out to belong to innocent people, including the real suspect’s brother.
For full text of the article, visit Social media hoaxes: Could machine learning debunk false Twitter rumors before they spread? – Slate Magazine.
- Building a Better Truth Machine (slate.com)
- Predicting the Credibility of Disaster Tweets Automatically (irevolution.net)
- Social Media In a Disaster: From Hoaxes to Healing (blogs.sap.com)
by Maged N. Kamel Boulos, Geoplace.com, July 9, 2012
Crowd-sensing and citizen reporting of incidents are becoming increasingly common, with applications ranging from air-quality monitoring to building a database of all the Automated External Defibrillators in a major city (www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/2011/12/myheartmap-challenge) to protest movements, political activism and citizen journalism, as witnessed in the 2011/2012 “Occupy Movement” and “Arab Spring” events.A comprehensive review of the main technologies and standards involved in this domain was published in the International Journal of Health Geographics in December 2011 (dx.doi.org/10.1186/1476-072X-10-67). This article, however, focuses on the use of “crowdmaps” for visualizing crowdsourced data. Crowd-generated reports and other material often produce Big Data: large, continuous streams of data that pose major challenges when trying to visualize, understand and make sense of them, particularly when attempting to do so in real time. This article presents several examples of crowdmaps, covering a diverse range of topics in which the spatiotemporal distribution (and content) of the corresponding crowdsourced data are displayed on a familiar, interactive (geographic) map interface.
For full text of the article, visit Seeing through the Crowds: Crowdmaps Visualize User-Reported Data | Articles – Publishing Titles | GeoPlace.
Nathaniel Raymond, Caitlin Howarth & Jonathan Hutson, GlobalBrief, Feburary 6, 2012
The recent global heroics of digital dissidents and witnesses betray a larger kink in their armour – a desperate need for standards and professionalism. In 2011, civilians using communication technologies to obtain information and to coordinate political action defined the year more than any other development in foreign affairs. Time magazine chose “The Protester” as its 2011 Person of the Year, noting how last year’s protest movements made use of Twitter hashtags and digital platforms in order to share imagery and map locations, and to spread their messages around the world.
Individuals using smartphones and social networks sparked and sustained the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement in North America, as well as the Russian Winter that gripped Moscow. Maps displaying near real-time data collected from the ‘crowd’ aided the response to a devastating earthquake in Japan. And DigitalGlobe’s commercial satellites monitored violence along the border between Sudan and South Sudan, allowing Harvard analysts as part of the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) – funded by actor and activist George Clooney and the charity Not On Our Watch – to capture evidence of war crimes hours after alleged mass atrocities occurred. …
For full text of the article, visit Crisis Mapping Needs an Ethical Compass : Global Brief.
by Zack Bastian, Communia Blog, Woodrow Wilson Center, September 22, 2011
On September 16th, 2011, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) held a series of panel discussions as part of their Blogs and Bullets initiative. The four groups of commentators, including digital activists, analysts, and policymakers, reflected on the enormous interest in social media and its power as an engine of social and political change. Despite its potential, and the often hyperbolic claims made about its impact, the participants cautioned against overestimating the power of social media and acknowledged its limitations.
The first panel was moderated by Sheldon Himelfarb of the USIP. It included Sean Aday, Henry Farrell, Marc Lynch, and John Sides of George Washington University, Brian Eoff of Bit.Ly, and Deen Freelon of American University. Their discussion began with an examination of how new-media has helped to develop innovative competencies, effectively empowering on-the-ground correspondents during the Arab Spring. …
by Evgeny Morozov, NYT, September 1, 2011
AGENTS of the East German Stasi could only have dreamed of the sophisticated electronic equipment that powered Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s extensive spying apparatus, which the Libyan transitional government uncovered earlier this week. The monitoring of text messages, e-mails and online chats — no communications seemed beyond the reach of the eccentric colonel. What is even more surprising is where Colonel Qaddafi got his spying gear: software and technology companies from France, South Africa and other countries. … Amid the cheerleading over recent events in the Middle East, it’s easy to forget the more repressive uses of technology. …
For full text of the op-ed, visit Political Repression 2.0 – NYTimes.com.
- Op-Ed Contributor: Political Repression 2.0 (nytimes.com)
Dr. Lea Shanley is the founder and former co-Chair of the Federal Community of Practice on Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, a vibrant community of 200 federal employees from more than 35 agencies. She is also a co-founding member of the Citizen Science Association. Dr. Shanley recently served as a Presidential Innovation Fellow at NASA, where she helped to foster a culture of open innovation. Prior to this, she founded and directed the Commons Lab at the Wilson Center, served in the US Senate as a Congressional Science Fellow, and worked with local and tribal communities to develop GIS-based decision support systems for city planning, natural resource management, coastal management, and disaster response through the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Disclaimer: This is a personal blog of links to relevant news, events, and reports, provided for educational purposes only. The opinions and views contained therein are those only of the authors of the original articles. These opinions do not necessarily reflect those of the editor of this blog or or associated organizations.
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