Science Addiction

A dormant blog by Devanshu Mehta

Tag: The Internet

Citizen Journalism Resources for Election Day

citizen journalism

in India

This election will be remembered as the first one where traditional media relied heavily on citizen journalism and new media. Take a look at Twitter’s Election 2008 live feed to get a feel for the political zeitgeist. Or how Free Press created “Rate the Debates”: to provide actual input from people before the pundits could formulate their conventional wisdom. Or how C-SPAN and NPR mined twitter for live fact checking, dialtests and general citizen journalism.

Well, election day will be no different. Twitter will probably end up being the place to gain a sense of the situation on the ground, but a lot of other web sites are hoping to provide people with the tools to report voter suppression, other problems and experiences. Here are a few resources:’s Election Protection Wiki

The Election Protection Wiki is a non-partisan, non-profit collaboration of citizens, activists and researchers to build a one-stop-shop for reports of voter suppression and the systemic threats to election integrity. We collect just the straight facts that are fully referenced to external, verifiable sources, and we need your help.

Wired’s Election Problem Reporting Site

Over the next weeks, if you have trouble at the polls, either during early voting or on Election Day, we’d like you to add your issue to our map. Be sure to provide as much detail as possible. You may also include links to video or audio.

YouTube & PBS: Video Your Vote

YouTube’s Video Your Vote, a non-partisan program produced in partnership with PBS, encourages American voters to document their voting experiences.

Whether it’s a video shot at the polls on Election Day, an account of your early voting experience, or you filming yourself filling out an absentee ballot — we want you to upload it here.

The Video Your Vote channel is also a one-stop-shop to view exclusive videos from voter registration experts, election reform activists, and state officials, as well as video footage from the PBS archives for a historical look at voting through the years.

Voter Suppression Wiki

This site is designed to be a hub of information and action around efforts to suppress votes in the 2008 U.S. elections.

Citizen Media Law Project Blog

Has a lot of resources on the legality of documenting your vote and the areas in and around polling places.

The New York Times Polling Place Photo Project

The Polling Place Photo Project is a nationwide experiment in citizen journalism that encourages voters to capture, post and share photographs of this years primaries, caucuses and general election. By documenting local voting experiences, participants can contribute to an archive of photographs that captures the richness and complexity of voting in America.

Twitter Vote Report Project

Anyone with a account can use their cell phones or their computers to send a message and notify voters and election monitors around the country.

I will add more to this page as I discover them.

UPDATE: Some resources to make sure your vote gets counted.

That One ’08

That One ’08

That One was born in Hawaii on August 4th, 1961. His father, That One Sr., was born and raised in a small village in Kenya, where he grew up herding goats with his own father, who was a domestic servant to the British. That One’s mother, Ann Dunham, grew up in small-town Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs during the Depression, and then signed up for World War II after Pearl Harbor, where he marched across Europe in Patton’s army.

McCains off-hand, inartful description of Obama in last nights debate is now an internet phenomenon. You can buy t-shirts and there’s a facebook page. And here’s the original video.

That One 08

that one - biden 2008

Our Senate can Tweet

Y2K testedEarlier this summer, I participated in the Sunlight Foundation ran the “Let our Congress Tweet” campaign (here is my possibly meaningless contribution). Members of congress were prohibited from embedding a YouTube video or Flickr album (or Tweet). Well, that has partly changed. As of last week, Senators have the discretion to use whatever third-party Web site they want, as long as it follows the Senate’s Internet Services Usage Rules and Policies.

I, for one, would like to welcome the U.S. Senate in to the 21st century. The House, on the other hand, is partying like it’s 1999.

On Comcast’s New Network Management Policies


Comcast has come a long way. Until recently, they were a company that deliberately injected spurious packets to slow down particular applications. They called that normal network management.

Now, comes an official Terms of Service and FAQ that address how Comcast will deal with network management going forward, and they are a huge improvement. Here are some of the key points:

Comcast has legitimate reasons to inspect network activity.
Let’s get the silly stuff out of the way first. Comcast has the right to do the following:

If we didn’t manage our network, our customers would be subject to the negative effects of spam, viruses, security attacks, network congestion, and other risks and degradations of the service. By engaging in reasonable and responsible network management, Comcast can deliver the best possible broadband Internet experience to all of its customers.

The question is, how do they implement it and how do they discriminate?

So how does it work?
This is pretty good- it is closer to a stupid network. If there is no network congestion, no one is affected. During congestion, bandwidth is shared as fairly as possible- except for users who are using the greatest amount of bandwidth. These users will get “managed” temporarily. This management will persist only as long as congestion exists, and will be based on current usage, not monthly aggregates.

How does it discriminate?
Based on high usage during congestion.

It does not discriminate based on protocols, applications, services or content. Any high bandwidth users will be affected, including ones using Comcast’s own streaming services.

Will it target P2P?
No, it is protocol-agnostic. If a P2P user happens to be a (recent) high bandwidth user during congestion, they will be affected. But not because they are using P2P.

Will it target competitors?
No. In fact, Comcast admits it will even affect people using Comcast’s own services.

What about the future?
They say they will participate in IETF and other standards bodies to work out reasonable, standard network management practices. And they will be transparent about new policies through the terms of service.

All in all, it is a tremendous step forward. Thank you to everyone who made enough noise to make this happen- especially Rob Topolski and the EFF. Also, thanks to Comcast for bungling this thing so bad that it got everyone’s attention and then setting a good example for other ISPs with these terms of service.

Save the Internet and Network Neutrality

The Internet has functioned, succeeded and grown because of one major point in its favor- every entity connected to it is only judged by the size of its pipe and quality of its content. By size of its pipe, I mean amount of bandwidth it buys as a connection to the Internet. Read the rest of this entry »