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U.S. State Department Now Tweeting in Arabic

The already Twitter-savvy U.S. State Department is now tweeting in Arabic. A few days ago, the Department launched a new feed, @USAbilAraby, devoted exclusively to Arabic-speaking audiences. The account describes itself as the "US Department of State Arabic Media Hub," and, as of this morning, has already accumulated over 500 followers. According to the Washington Post, the State Department...

Controversial 'Generation Y' Blog Now Accessible Within Cuba

Yoani Sanchez is a 35-year-old Cuban dissident who regularly criticizes her country's communist regime on her blog, 'Generation Y.' Her outspoken writing has garnered plenty of awards and has been translated into 15 languages. But, since 2008, Generation Y has been blocked within her native Cuba. On Tuesday, however, the Cuban government suddenly re-established access to the blog, much to...

Obama Administration Wants Veto Power Over New Domain Names

The Obama administration is pushing for a new policy that, if implemented, would give the U.S. government the power to veto any top-level domain names submitted for approval. The process of approving suffixes like .com, .org and .net is overseen by a non-profit called Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which operates under a contract with the government. Current...

Egypt Forced Vodafone to Send Pro-Government Texts During Protests

Vodafone has revealed that the Egyptian regime forced it to send pro-government text messages as protests recently escalated within the country. According to the provider, Egyptian authorities disseminated their propaganda thanks to a law that allows the state to send out messages across cellular networks during times of emergency. Calling Egypt's actions "unacceptable," Vodafone confirmed that it...

Egypt Restores Internet Access, Calls for Return to Normalcy

The Egyptian government restored the country's Internet services today, as the army urged protesters to end demonstrations and "bring stability back to the country." Hassan Kabbani, chief executive of mobile service provider MobiNil, confirmed that sites previously blocked were rendered accessible around noon, including the Central Bank of Egypt's website and social networks like Facebook. The...

Julian Assange Defends WikiLeaks, Manning and Free Press on '60 Minutes'

Share Last night, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sat down for a rare, extended interview with Steve Kroft of '60 Minutes.' In what CBS has called Assange's "most extensive television interview to date," the Australian national defended his organization's mission, discussed the roots of his own anti-authoritarian philosophy, and compared WikiLeaks' core principles to "those of the U.S....

NY Lawmaker Eyes Fine for Digitally Distracted Pedestrians

New York State Senator Karl Kruger, who represents the rough-and-tumble streets of Brooklyn, wants to make those streets safer by banning pedestrians' use of electronic devices while walking. That's right, New Yorkers, your elected officials are using valuable legislative time attempting to make it illegal to listen to your iPod, talk on your phone and send text messages while crossing the streets...

Diplomats Take to Twitter To Promote U.S. Around the Globe

The U.S. State Department seems to be embracing social media in a big way. While the American diplomatic agency isn't new to services like Twitter and Facebook, it has markedly stepped up its presence in recent weeks. Spokespeople from within the department have started directly addressing residents of foreign countries and leaders via Twitter to refute rumors and clarify U.S. policy. More...

Florida Governor Rick Scott Holds First Twitter Town Hall

The recently elected governor of Florida, Rick Scott, held a Twitter-based town hall meeting last Thursday night, answering questions from his constituents for 30 minutes. Scott (or @FlGovScott) didn't exactly reinvent the wheel with his answers to questions asked with the hashtag #flgov, but he is the first U.S. governor to host a town hall event on Twitter. Scott has had a Twitter account for...

Censored Tunisian Blogger Leaves Detainment, Enters Parliament

Political censorship by oppressive regimes often results in murky facts being distributed on an international scale. Dissidents and citizen journalists -- the important voices who are responsible for reporting on the ground -- frequently end up in Big Brother-style detention. Yet, this week in Tunisia, a unique scene played out, indicating the changing shape of political activism and, perhaps,...

Obama Drafting Online Identity System, Led by Commerce Department

President Obama is looking to create an Internet ID system for American Web surfers, and is counting on the Department of Commerce to make it a reality. As CBS News reports, the so-called "trusted identity" project is part of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which the Obama administration is currently drafting. White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt says...

FCC App Challenge Calls for Spyware That Watches Telcos

The FCC may have declined to enforce Net neutrality rules for cellular providers when it set new guidelines for landline ISPs, but that doesn't mean the agency is letting the wireless industry get away scot-free. The regulatory body wants to keep a close eye on the carriers, who are free to engage in some filtering and traffic management, but must be transparent about how and why those techniques...

Elite, All-Voluntary Cyber Defense League Keeps Estonia's 'Net Secure

The small post-Soviet nation of Estonia has created a bit of a paradigm for cyber-security: an elite, all-voluntary force of private and public sector tech pros, from programmers to administrators to top army officials. It's kind of like a cyber-Justice League. Before this starts to sound like a tale of vigilante justice, some history: in 2007, after Estonia made a decision to move a Russian...

Nancy Pelosi Ditches the 'Speaker' Title on Twitter

Surely to the delight of Tea Partiers and the ambivalence of many others, Nancy Pelosi has changed her Twitter account from @SpeakerPelosi to the more humble @NancyPelosi, as she abdicated her House throne yesterday. The Minority Leader announced the change in a tweet, choking back tears as she opted for a handle "two characters shorter." Be on the lookout for a similar change from @JohnBoehner...

Fake White House Christmas E-Card Swipes Government Documents

Share Over the holidays, several government employees and contractors received a Christmas e-card that purported to be from The White House, but actually contained document-swiping malware. According to Krebs on Security, when a recipient opened the file, or clicked on either of the included links, a trojan stole PDF, Word and Excel documents, and then uploaded them to a server in Belarus....