This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Who is your phone talking to?

“The Secret Life of your Mobile Phone” is a stage show dedicated to probing how smartphones leak private information. Why are our phones so sneaky?

In new gods do we trust?

Do you expect the machine to solve the problems? In this wide-ranging interview with the Director of the Open Rights Group we discuss bulk collection, state bureaucracies, the pre-crime era and trust.

Scrutinising the Scrutineers: part 3

UK media coverage of EU issues is frequently superficial and plagued by basic errors. The BBC, and others, must work to change this.

The plurality deficit: public service broadcasting and institutional competition

Is institutional competition the answer to the ‘plurality deficit’ in public broadcasting? The evidence suggests no.

Why bother about digital rights? An absence in the election campaigns

Digital rights are too often reduced to questions of ‘security’. In their election manifestos none of the major British parties appear to have grasped their wider significance.

Internet journalism and the rise of a new satire

With a general election just round the corner, we should be wary of those who try to silence British satirists.

Freedom or dignity: media censorship in the new Turkey

Banning one photo from the internet might seem to reflect the paranoia of an increasingly authoritarian AKP regime but Erdogan’s grasp could really be weakening.

"Foreigner in my own nation": the politics of Italian hip-hop

As a new generation struggles to overcome the cultural legacy of Berlusconismo, rap remains one of the most important forms of Italian protest. 

Defending the global knowledge commons

Members are encouraged to use creative commons licensing and to join others in a pledge to be open by agreeing to review for and publish in mainly if not solely open access journals.

openMovements: social movements, global outlooks and public sociologists

Social scientists have a very specific contribution to deliver in a democratic public space, as openDemocracy’s articles daily testify. The articles by leading global sociologists published this week in openMovements are, we believe, exemplary.

PODCAST: Defending human rights in a digital age

A panel discussion chaired by Marianne Franklin at Goldsmiths opens up the many human rights implications for the future of the internet as struggles over its ownership and control gather steam. (2 hours 1 minute).

Stand in solidarity with the struggle of the Greek people

I ask you to stand in solidarity with the just struggle of the Greek people, which is also the struggle of every citizen. Our people have been asked to go hungry to bail out debts created by a wealthy minority, not just in the country but internationally.

Cuba + internet = democracia (?)

Muchos piensan que internet es la clave para establecer una democracia liberal capitalista en Cuba. Pero ésta es una visión simplista y determinista. English.

Cuba + internet = democracy (?)

Many people think the internet holds the key to establishing a liberal capitalist democracy in Cuba. But this view is simplistic and deterministic. Español

The BBC, the licence fee and the digital public space

The Controller of the BBC’s archive strategy maintains the institution’s fundamental role within the media ecology and argues that the Licence Fee should safeguard a new democratic digital public space.

Defending human rights in a digital age

Public Debate: Defending human rights in a digital age is being livestreamed from Goldsmiths media and communications department, University of London at 5.30.pm GMT this evening. Read more.

Mass surveillance: wrong in practice as well as principle

The paradox of mass state surveillance, as the answer to non-state violence, is that it can overlook the intelligence targeted law enforcement finds and render critical infrastructures vulnerable—never mind threatening fundamental freedoms.

Will the democratic debate over counterrorism gain the edge in battle?

It is our role, as citizens, to scrutinise measures taken in the name of our security and ask, once and for all, for evidenced-based policies: there are no such things as depoliticised and neutral counter-terrorism strategies.

Please mind the datachasm

They began to interpret things like him leaving the house without his mobile phone as indications that their suspicions were correct. Welcome to one half of the datachasm. Sleep safe.

Charlie Hebdo: stop pointing fingers and drop the reductive approach

It is time everyone stopped intentionally misinforming audiences with uninformed rudimentary analyses.

‘Prevent’ in education within Hampshire

Prevent, a counter-terrorism programme, is a success in Portsmouth, where delivery took the significance of identity for young people into account. It can’t deal with events which can’t be prevented.

Charlie Hebdo: Free speech, but not as an absolute value

Debates over what limits to free speech are acceptable are entirely valid – whether or not we approve of Charlie Hebdo images, or their mass republication on numerous websites this week. 

Russians resisting war and repression

There are segments of the Russian population that, even in a politically inclement environment, bravely voice their open opposition to Russia’s military involvement in Ukraine.

Can Facebook damage your mental health?

Studies are starting to reveal how social media are changing our lives—for better and for worse.

Consciousness in the age of digital dystopia

Now we are still in the honeymoon phase of the internet, but we must ensure that we do not let the internet become another arm of tyranny. 

Brazil doubles down on cyber security



The out-sized military response risks compromising citizens’ fundamental rights. If Brazil is to build a cyber security system fit for purpose, an informed debate is imperative.

Physical space and ‘Occupy’ tactics: a new trend in civil resistance?

Does the term ‘occupation’ delegitimize movements by casting participants as short-term guests, instead of representatives communicating grievances held by a wider society within a public forum that is theirs?

Beyond clicktivism

Gary Alexander’s new book eGaia examines how digital technology could be used to create much deeper changes in society.

Cyber conflict and psychological IR perspectives

As cyber attacks and cyber terrorism become more prevalent, overreaction and conflict escalation must be avoided. But these things are harder to prevent through computers.

Thoughts on autonomous weapons systems and meaningful human control of cyber

In cyber, borders, states, agencies – the traditional ways of organising international cooperation and communication no longer count. In cyber, everybody is a potential adversary.

The cooling wars of cyber space in a remote era

Hyperbolic language used to describe the potential consequences of cyber attacks has contributed to the ‘securitisation’ of the debate around cyber security issues. Increased transparency and accurate information is essential.

From the few to the many: swarm economics

With 3D printing, the distributed production economy can alleviate structural imbalances, injustices and diseconomies, if we manage with foresight.

Let’s get real about the transformation of society: can you email me directions?

Following activists on twitter is easier than following them to jail. Why can’t we do both?

Social networks in Syria: between mediation and mobilisation

We still misunderstand the roles Facebook and Twitter play in how the uprisings across the Arab world began and continue to develop.

The most important thing you‘ve never heard of

Introducing a secret trade deal which could affect everything from healthcare to banks to the air we breathe. Plus: find out what we're not being told about Ebola.

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