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Google Executive Remains Missing in Egypt

“Google engineers spent last weekend working with Twitter to build a service for people in Egypt without Internet access to post messages to Twitter by leaving a telephone voicemail.
Wael Ghonim, who leads Google’s marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, stopped posting messages online on Jan. 27. Wael Ghonim, who leads Google’s marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, stopped posting messages online on Jan. 27.”

From The New York Times

The Hopeful Network

“CAIRO — Most of the world got a crash course in the Egyptian opposition movement this month, as mass protests broke out on the streets of Cairo. From all appearances, the movement emerged organically in the wake of the overthrow of the government in nearby Tunisia, as hundreds of thousands of angry citizens turned out to demand President Hosni Mubarak immediately step down. Several days after the marches began, former International Atomic Energy Agency chief and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei arrived on the scene to give the marchers in the streets a nominal leader and media-savvy public face. And shortly after that, Egypt’s largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, joined in, lending its political heft to the movement.

But the groundwork for the Egyptian uprising was set well before these high-profile figures and organizations became involved. Nearly three years ago, a group of youth activists with a strong sense of Internet organizing and more than a little help from abroad was preparing for a grassroots, high-tech opposition movement.”

From Foreign Policy

How Twitter engineers outwitted Mubarak in one weekend

“When they first came to office, the Obama team had a mantra: ‘Never waste a good crisis”. They then spent the next two years doing exactly the opposite. In the past few months we’ve seen a couple of decent crises – the first involving WikiLeaks, the second involving the political upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt. Both involve the internet in one way or another. So, in the spirit of Obama Mk I, let us ponder what might be learned from them.

As far as the leaked US cables are concerned, the fury of the US administration and of certain US politicians was, for a time, positively comical. It stopped being funny when they began talking about prosecuting Julian Assange for “espionage”, given the draconian penalties that a conviction would carry. But the State Department’s indignation over the leaks of allegedly valuable secrets was, and remains, preposterous.”

From The Guardian

Tech companies rally to give Egyptians voice

“While Egypt has cracked down on Internet and cellular connectivity, tech companies are stepping up to try to ensure the tool is still available.

On Friday, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone wrote a post entitled The Tweets Must Flow reinforcing his company’s position on freedom of expression. Over the weekend Google worked, along with help from Twitter and a newly acquired company called SayNow, to launch a new service that’s helping Egyptians get the word out. Speak To Tweet lets anyone call an international number and leave a voicemail tweet, which will instantly be shared on Twitter using the hashtag #egypt. As Google says on its blog, they are hoping this tool will help “people in Egypt stay connected at this very difficult time.””

From The Globe and Mail

Can Governments Really ‘Block’ Twitter?

“This week, Egypt became the latest Middle Eastern country to see massive anti-government street demonstrations. As in Tunisia earlier this month and Iran last year, activists have made heavy use of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook — and the Egyptian regime has responded harshly. On Jan. 25, Twitter officially confirmed reports that access to its site had been blocked. Is it really possible to do that?”

From Foreign Policy

Twitter Is Blocked In Egypt Amidst Rising Protests

“Inspired by the recent Tunisian demonstrations against corruption, protesters are filling the streets of Cairo. And like the protests in Tunisia, the Egyptian ones were partly organized on Facebook and Twitter. And now Twitter appears to be blocked in Egypt, according to various Tweets and tips we’ve received.”

From TechCrunch

China jails Twitter woman for tweet about anti-Japanese protests

“Chinese lawyers have urged Twitter to fight for the release of a woman sent to a labour camp for a sarcastic tweet.

Human rights activist Cheng Jianping, known to friends as Wang Yi, was sentenced in November to a year’s re-education through labour. She had retweeted her fiancee’s satirical suggestion that anti-Japanese protesters should attack Japan’s pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, adding: Angry youth, charge!’ ”

From The Guardian

Twitter Shines a Spotlight on Secret F.B.I. Subpoenas

“THE news that federal prosecutors have demanded that the microblogging site Twitter provide the account details of people connected to the WikiLeaks case, including its founder, Julian Assange, isn’t noteworthy because the government’s request was unusual or intrusive. It is noteworthy because it became public.

Even as Web sites, social networking services and telephone companies amass more and more information about their users, the government — in the course of conducting inquiries — has been able to look through much of the information without the knowledge of the people being investigated.”

From The New York Times

Icelandic MP fights US demand for her Twitter account details

“A member of parliament in Iceland who is also a former WikiLeaks volunteer says the US justice department has ordered Twitter to hand over her private messages.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, an MP for the Movement in Iceland, said last night on Twitter that the ‘USA government wants to know about all my tweets and more since november 1st 2009. Do they realize I am a member of parliament in Iceland?’ ”

From The Guardian