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e-Democracy update - 15/2/06

15 February, 2006
By Daniel Macpherson

Protestors march outside Google offices in Sydney

The Australian Tibet Council has protested outside Google's Syndey offices as part of a global campaign against the company's censorship in China.

Protesters in Sydney and the world pledged to boycott Google for Valentine's Day as part of the "No Luv 4 Google" campaign.

A global petition on the "No Luv 4 Google" website reports over 4000 participants pledging to boycott.

Protestor Zoe Bedford says she used to love Google.

"I loved to Google things as much as everyone else... but they've broken my heart and I have to tell them so," she says.

"In Australia they act like they're all great and happy, and they've even got a slogan that says 'don't be evil'. And then in China it's a separate story."

A Google spokesperson says the company respects the Australian Tibet Council's views and their right to protest.

"Our decision to launch Google.cn was a difficult one... but we believe it was ultimately in the best interests of our Chinese users," the spokesperson says.

Google last month agreed to block certain search results in exchange for better access to China's communication technology market.

Volunteers check Wikipedia for political bias

Nearly 1,000 volunteer editors are scouring Wikipedia's political articles for bias after discovering staff of US Congress rewrote several of them.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says the volunteers are currently looking into edits from government offices.

Last week, Wikipedia staff and volunteer investigators found more than 1,000 changes on the site.

Wikipedia staff will also investigate their Canadian politician and UK politician bios for any biased rewrites.

Government watchdogs to map mass media and voting in Peru

Several good-government advocacy groups are testing interactive mapping technology on the mass media's influence on the Peruvian 2001 election.

The project is a combined effort of US human rights group The Carter Center, the Canadian Foundation for the Americas and the University of Calgary.

The groups have launched an interactive website to map Peruvian media such as newspapers, radio stations and TV in conjunction with demographic data about the population and how they voted in Peru's 2001 election.

"The technology is quite advanced and expensive initially, and we wanted to make that investment for the good of democracy in the Americas," said Shelley McConnell, senior associate director of the Carter Center's Americas Program.

Gallup poll shows US blog readership is steady

A recent Gallup report shows that one in five Americans "frequently" and or "occasionally" read blogs.

This level of readership is close to studies conducted last year.

Nearly 60 per cent of US net users say they do not read blogs.

The survey also found 87 per cent of US websurfers use e-mail and 72 per cent consult the Internet for news and weather information.

1,013 US adults participated in the survey, which was conducted in December.

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