In the Loop | June 2012
TACTICAL TECH'S IN THE LOOP
In the Loop is our monthly experimental – not really a – newsletter which features highlights from our Twitter feed and updates on what we've been up to at Tactical Tech.
THE BACK ROOM AT TACTICAL TECH
NEW TOOLS AND GUIDES UP AT DRAWING BY NUMBERS
We've just published the fourth and fifth in our series of Data and Design How-tos on our Drawing by Numbers site.
Find out how to help audiences to:
- Get the idea - which is about exposing the issue, and being exposed to it
- Get the story - which is about understanding an issue
- Get the details - which is about exploring the issue
The key characteristic of products that help audiences 'get the idea' is the dominance of visual techniques. They may use data on a small scale, and transmit a little evidence directly, but they predominantly use the visual form to lead audiences in to a larger campaign or set of information.
We've also added a new tool - Gephi is an interactive tool for exploring, visualising and understanding large network graphs.
NAIROBI - GLOBAL VOICES SUMMIT
Tactical Tech's co-founder Marek Tuszynski was part of a great line-up discussing data visualisation at the Global Voices summit in Nairobi.
RIO – GLOBAL TOXICS-FREE FUTURE FORUM
Marek was also in Brazil working with International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) – a global network of more than 700 public interest non-governmental organizations working together for the elimination of persistent organic pollutants. They launched the NGO/CSO Global Common Statement for a Toxics-Free Future. Read and sign up.
EXXON MOBIL HACKED BY ANONYMOUS
As part of Operation Save the Arctic (#OpSaveTheArctic) Anonymous hacked and leaked data from the one of the world's largest oil companies Exxonmobil.
Read why the CEO of Exxon thinks we're all overreacting to climate change:
Then check out how Exxonmobil funds climate change sceptics.
MOBILE ANONYMITY THROUGH ORBOT
Orbot is a great tool which allows users of Android phones to access the internet, instant messaging and email anonymously. New features in Twitter allow you to run Twitter through a proxy – allowing you to access Twitter if it's blocked: check out the blog post to learn more about the tool and its' limitations.
Check out the map of countries where Twitter is blocked.
WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS DISCUSSED AT THE UN
The UN Human Rights Council recently held a discussion on the particular challenges faced by women human rights defenders – which included representatives from civil society and NGOS. The concept paper describes these threats:
"Women human rights defenders face threats, stigma, arbitrary arrest and detention, violence, including sexual violence and rape, and even death as a result of their critical work in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. The nature of the violations committed against them, including violence, is often a manifestation of discrimination and gender inequality."
The Association for Womens Rights in Development (AWID) took part and reported on the panel. AWID published a report last year which explores resources and strategies available to respond to urgent situations of violence against women human rights defenders – covering a broad range of responses from legal support to safe houses.
SUDAN - PROTESTS AND CRACKDOWN
Protests in Sudan – triggered by a threatened government cuts – and violent responses by the authorities are being mapped by Sudan Change Now on a crowdmap.
Meanwhile the EFF reports that bloggers are being detained.
Read more on the background to the protests:
"While the current protests are partially inspired by the Arab uprisings, the grievances fueling the protests are decidedly Sudanese" (via @pambazuka)
A Twitter list and follow #sudanrevolts for updates on this under-reported story.
LONG VIEW ON WIKILEAKS
Patrick Cockburn is a well respected commentator on Middle East politics and this 'long view' on the importance of Wikileaks is interesting reading.
"Thanks to WikiLeaks, more information has become available about what the US and allied states are doing and thinking than ever before. The only competing revelations that come to mind were the publication by the victorious Bolsheviks in 1917 of secret treaties, including plans to carve up the Middle East by Britain and France."
OPEN DATA IN ELECTIONS
This overview of how the 'raw data' of elections is being used across the world in elections shows how open civic data is being used to create a deeper, more dynamic understanding of election results and to fact-check politician's claims. This includes the Elecciones 2011 project in Argentina where hackers created a site which became the 'official' source of information for media coverage of the election.
ETHIOPIA - GO TO PRISON FOR USING SKYPE?
If passed, Ethiopia's Telecom Fraud Offense bill will make it an offence to using VOIP services such as Skype and Google Talk for commercial purposes. This has been felt as a dangerous threat to freedom of speech.
TUNISIA – ATTACKS ON ART EXHIBITION
An art exhibition "Printemps des Arts" in Tunisia was attacked by a group of Salafis, who follow a strictly conservative interpretation of Islam. A court official was sentenced to two months in prison on charges of inciting these riots. Before the exhibition Tunisian graffiti artist Elecktro Jaye accused organisers of removing his work for political reasons.
NETWORKS WITHOUT A CAUSE
Geert Lovink has long been a voice worth listening to on 'tactical media' and his latest work 'Networks Without a Cause' is no exception, calling on media practitioners and theorists to "collectively unleash our critical capacities to influence technology design and workspaces, otherwise we will disappear into the cloud". Check out more information about the book and listen to Geert talking about these issues.
CLOUD COMPUTING IN AFRICA
Learn more about cloud computing in Africa – and the challenges of making it work in regions where the energy infrastructure is unreliable.
A CONTENT STRATEGY FOR DATA
The Open University's Tony Hirst (psychemedia) outlines some issues and solutions facing those who want to publish data:
"It’s one thing publishing data just to comply with a formal requirement to make it public, quite another if you’re publishing it because you want folk to doing something with it. But if you decide you’re publishing data because you want folk to do something with it, what does that mean exactly?".
MAPS GLORIOUS MAPS
Explore a range of maps in data visualisation.
THIS SUMMER'S CHALLENGE: 50 PROBLEMS IN 50 DAYS
Designer Pete Smart has set himself an awesome challenge – to solve 50 social problems in 50 days using design and has displayed the results on a nice interactive map.
DAYS OF DESTRUCTION - DAYS OF REVOLT
"Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges and illustrator Joe Sacco spent years chronicling life in the ‘sacrifice zones’ in the American Dream, where human beings and natural resources are used and then discarded by corporations. The result is Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, which culminates in the Occupy Wall Street movement. In this illustrated strip, dying West Virginian miner Rudy tells the story of his grueling life, drawn by Sacco."