After more than three years in custody, Pfc. Bradley Manning's trial finally began on June 3. The 25-year old Oklahoma native has already pled guilty to ten charges, but faces prosecution on 12 more relating to the 2010 release of restricted government documents to Wikileaks.
Two teenage girls were arrested and detained this week for Tweeting threats to a rape victim. It appears that the young people of Steubenville have not learned much about the uses of social media even after the extraordinary trials and convictions of two young men for rape this week in a case that relied heavily upon the photos, videos, and Tweets taken concomitantly with the crime.
The Lucy Burns Institute (LBI) is a Madison-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2006 and named after a significant leader of the women's suffrage movement. The organization sponsors three websites: Ballotpedia, which tracks elections and ballot measures at the state level; WikiFOIA, which provides Information on how to use Freedom of information laws at the state and local level; and Judgepedia, which provides information on the nation's judges and court systems.
Anheuser-Busch's United Kingdom division, InBev, employed a lobbying firm to edit the Wikipedia entry about its Stella Artois brand of lager to delete a negative reference to the brand. Portland Communications, a lobbying firm run by a former adviser to Tony Blair, deleted the term "wife-beater" from the Wikipedia article about Stella Artois, reportedly to "challenge any connections between the brand and domestic violence." Stella Artois, one of the biggest brands of lager in the UK, in recent years has earned the nickname "wife beater" because of its high alcohol content and apparent popularity among rowdy soccer players. The changes on Wikipedia were made by a user named Portlander10, who had an IP address traceable to Portland Communications. Portland maintains that the changes were made openly and within Wikipedia's rules. In the wake of this revelation, though, a meeting has been scheduled between the Chartered Institute of Public Relations and Wikipedia to give PR professionals guidance for working on Wikipedia, and to develop a code of conduct for PR professionals to help minimize attempts to mask the true identity of PR pros seeking to edit the site.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced Tuesday that it reached a proposed settlement with the social networking site Facebook for charges it has failed to keep promises about guarding the privacy of information of its consumers. The settlement comes in response to a two-year federal investigation and demands by a coalition of pro-privacy groups, including the Center for Media and Democracy, to investigate these claims in order to protect the some 200 million Facebook users in the United States.
Apple is being accused of using its new IPhone 4S to promote an anti-abortion agenda. IPhone 4S users in big cities have found that when they ask their IPhone to locate abortion clinics, the phone's new voice-assistant, Siri, says she can't find any. Instead, she directs users to "crisis pregnancy" centers, which do not offer abortion services. When an IPhone user named Kristen asked Siri why she is anti-abortion, the phone responded, "I just am, Kristen." Users who ask the phone to locate places where they can get emergency contraception are shown a Google results page containing definitions. Siri may not help IPhone owners find abortion services or even emergency contraception, but she will help users locate strip clubs, escort services, Viagra and plastic surgeons who do breast implants. Siri will even recommend a good place to dump a body.
Governor Scott Walker's new "Reforms and Results" website touting the successes of his policies is allegedly a campaign website funded by taxpayers, according to a complaint filed Tuesday by the Wisconsin Democratic Party.
CMD has signed onto a letter with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and seven other pro-privacy groups requesting that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigate changes Facebook has made to user accounts that undermine the privacy rights of millions of users.
The letter focuses on two recent policies implemented by Facebook called "frictionless sharing" and "post-log-out tracking." According to the letter, "frictionless sharing and post-log-out tracking harms consumers throughout the United States by invading their privacy and allowing for disclosure and use of information in ways and for purposes other than those to which users have consent and relied upon."
Frictionless sharing is "Facebook's term for allowing applications to automatically share users' activity rather than having users initiate each instance of sharing themselves." Facebook developed two new features called "Ticker" and "Timeline" to promote this concept.
Center for Media and Democracy's Executive Director, Lisa Graves, the Director of our Real Economy Project, Mary Bottari, and Senior Fellow on Health Care, Wendell Potter, will be speaking at this year's Netroots Nation convention. The conference will take place from June 16-19 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Further details and the agenda click here. Stop by the CMD table at the Exhibition Hall and sign up for our IPad 2 raffle. For the very lucky, there may even be cheese curds!