Today on the net: Malaysian web users take on electoral fraud; an NGO ranks big internet companies in terms of how they protect their users’ privacy; and a fun and free way of learning the guitar online.
Online mobilization against election fraud in Malaysia
The people of Malaysia took to the polls on Sunday, in the country’s fiercely contested General Election, an electoral process that web users have been watching extremely closely in a bid to tackle election fraud.
The Bersih movement has been campaigning for free and transparent elections over the past few years, and set up an interactive map collating and locating reports of irregularities sent in from across Malaysia either via the Internet or SMS.
But social networks have been the favoured channel for reporting suspicions of electoral fraud across the country. Countless web users claimed the ink being used in voting booths was indelible, making it possible for people to vote more than once.
Others have been focused on spotting "phantom voters" in polling offices. The party of the outgoing Prime Minister has been accused of bringing in foreign workers to vote, illegally, in its favour. Numerous people, deemed dubious, have been asked to prove their citizenship by singing the national anthem for example, something some web users have condemned as racial profiling.
And despite recently falling victim to a series of cyber-attacks, independent news site Malaysiakini, has also particularly vigilant during voting, highlighting, for example, a suspected case of vote buying in an undecided constituency.
The big Internet companies that best protect online privacy
For the third year running, digital rights NGO, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has published its annual report on the policies of major Internet companies, ranking them in relation to how they protect your data from the government. Six factors were taken into account when conducting the study: like whether the company requires a warrant before passing on users’ content to the authorities, or whether it fights for its user’s privacy rights in courts.
And heading the list this year are Twitter and American Internet Service Provider Sonic.net. Out of the 18 companies evaluated, they were the only two to achieve full marks, by fulfilling all criteria. Google did not do too badly with five out of six, but was reproached for failing to inform users about government data requests.
Trailing in last place is Verizon, another American ISP, which did not meet any of the criteria. Yahoo, Apple and Amazon haven’t fared much better with just one or two stars out of six. The Electronic Frontier Foundation says these firms need to be more transparent about how they protect users’ data, with Amazon’s policy in particular being singled out for criticism.
Poor performances, although the EFF does say there is overall improvement. The NGO says more and more of these Internet companies are now publishing transparency reports or taking steps to better protecting user privacy.
Photographers hunt for vintage cameras with undeveloped film
For the past two years or so, Grace and Chris Hughes have been collecting vintage cameras. And every now and again, the Canadian couple finds there is still a film inside. This one for example, held images taken during the First World War. The artists have been developing the negatives and posting the photographs to their website, so these long lost mementoes are finally seeing the light of day.
GuitarBots turns guitar practice into gaming
If you’re thinking about learning the guitar then check out “GuitarBots”: it’s geared primarily towards beginners and hosts all sorts of practical exercises to help your develop your skills, presented in the form of video games. It’s an original way of learning an instrument and will be a sure fire hit with budding guitarists everywhere on the lookout for free and fun tutorials.
Video of the day
In this video, Tokyo City becomes a living piece of art, with the lights and colours dictated by the beat and melody … this stunning symphonic experience was created using a miniature version of the Japanese city. It was posted online to promote the “Tokyo City Symphony” project, an online platform where the user can also shine light on the city by using their computer keyboard as a piano.