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Daily Archives: February 9, 2017

2016 The Year in Assembly & Association Rights

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, February 2017.

“2016 The Year in Review – Headline after headline brought us news of political upheaval, war, terrorism, health crises, endemic corruption, environmental disaster, economic turmoil and more. The pace and magnitude of the change and adversity was, at times – to use Merriam-Webster’s 2016 word of the year – “surreal.” But there was another side to this story, one with a much more hopeful tone: Despite its myriad troubles, 2016 was also a year where people came out in nearly unprecedented numbers in an attempt to address our problems – through organizing in their communities, through protest, through political engagement, through labor unions and more. It was, in other words, a year where assembly and association rights took center stage as a tool for fixing what appeared to be a crumbling world order. And the fact that people exercised these rights in such large numbers was no small feat. The long-lamented phenomenon of “closing space” for civic engagement is certainly real, and it spread dramatically in 2016. A recent report from CIVICUS found that roughly 85% of the world’s population lives in countries where the rights to expression, assembly or association have faced serious challenges. And in many of those countries, the challenges are of the highest order. Ask protesters in Ethiopia, where more than 600 people have been killed by security forces since large-scale political demonstrations began in 2015. Ask the family of South Korean Baek Nam-gi, a 69-year-old protester who succumbed to his injuries last September after being knocked down by a police water cannon in late 2015. Or ask the numerous civil society members in Egypt who withstood a wave of arrests, asset freezes, travel bans and other harassment in 2016 in retaliation for their work defending human rights. Such examples abounded in 2016, with the footprint of oppression covering most of the world, from Turkey to France to the United States to Malaysia to Burundi and beyond. Yet people’s courage in the face of this repression was unflappable: Protesters for electoral independence in Kenya turned out week after week, even after being badly beaten by police. Environmental rights defenders in Honduras persisted, despite the shocking murder of their compatriot Berta Cáceres in March. And civil society in countries such as Thailand, Burundi and the By nearly any standard and in virtually every corner of the globe, 2016 was one of the most tumultuous years the world has seen since the end of the Cold War…”

Open Observatory of Network Interference

“A free software, global observation network for detecting censorship, surveillance and traffic manipulation on the internet. OONI develops free software tests designed to examine the following: Blocking of websites Blocking of instant messaging apps Blocking of Tor and other circumvention tools Detection of systems that could be responsible for censorship and/or surveillance Testing methodology There… Continue Reading

GAO – HUD Needs to Address Significant Weaknesses in Its Cost Estimating Practice

“The cost estimates that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) developed for the four selected information technology (IT) investments were unreliable and, thus, lacked a sound basis for informing the department’s investment and budgetary decisions. GAO’s Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide (Cost Guide) defines best practices that are associated with four characteristics of… Continue Reading

Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering

National Science Foundation – “Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering provides statistical information about the participation of these three groups in science and engineering education and employment. A formal report, in the form of a digest, is issued every 2 years.” Continue Reading

Redesigned California Online Directory

“The California Department of Technology has redesigned the state’s online directory to improve the way agency, department and employee information is accessed. The enhanced California Online Directory offers a new look and easier navigation for users.  The directory,, continues to offer approximately 250 state agency and department’s general information, employees’ telephone number and email… Continue Reading

Take a Very Cheap Trip Around the World Using Over 3,300 Google Maps Screenshots

Via YouTube – Google Maps: Hyperlapse Around the World Via PetaPixel – “Today is Google Maps’ 12th birthday, and graphic design student Matteo Archondis is paying the platform homage in a really cool way. A fan of timelapse and hyperlapse techniques, Archondis created a visual hyperlapse tour of the world using only screenshots taken within… Continue Reading

During World War II U.S. Saw Italian-Americans as a Threat to Homeland Security

David A. Taylor – – February 2, 2017: “The executive order that forced Japanese-Americans from their homes also put immigrants from Italy under the watchful eye of the government…The incarceration of Japanese-Americans is the best-known effect of Executive Order 9066, the rule signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. And for good… Continue Reading

9th Circuit refuses to reinstate travel ban

Follow up to previous postings and related primary, secondary sources and commentary on travel ban issues by Executive Order – Responses to immigrant ban include legal stay and legislation – see the following updates: New York Times – Court Refuses to Reinstate Travel Ban, Dealing Trump Another Legal Loss: “The decision is the most stinging… Continue Reading

Defending the Indefensible: Chairman Pai’s Lifeline Reversal Will Widen the Digital Divide

Follow up to previous posting – FCC Chairman rescinds policies and rulemaking to expand Internet service to low income households – Submitted by Benton Foundation on behalf of Gigi Sohn on February 9, 2017: “To my great surprise and delight, the recent move by the Federal Communications Commission’s new majority to revoke the designations of… Continue Reading

Research – Basic Facts about Low-Income Children in America

National Center for Children in Poverty Report January 2017 – “Among all children under 18 years in the U.S., 43 percent live in low-income families and 21 percent—approximately one in five—lives in a poor family. This means that children are overrepresented among our nation’s poor; they represent 23 percent of the population but comprise 33… Continue Reading