A new study of the political blogosphere by researchers at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society finds conservative blogs are more likely to employ hierarchical structures that highlight the work of one author, and include limited community participation. Liberal blogs, by contrast, are more likely to be participatory, and include more calls to political action.

Guest: Aaron Shaw, U.C. Berkeley

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American privacy law is outdated and needs to be refreshed to keep up with today’s digital tools, according to a coalition of technology companies and advocacy groups. Microsoft, Google, and AT&T as well as the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU say they will push Congress to revamp the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The law, enacted in 1986, covers government access to personal data.

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Many United Kingdom libraries and universities are crying foul over proposed legislation that could make them responsible for the actions of people using their wireless networks.

The Digital Economy Bill, winding its way through the Parliament, includes a provision that would suspend Internet accounts of users accused of copyright infringement for the third time. The government has refused to provide exceptions for operators of public Wi-Fi hotspots, including Internet cafes, libraries and universities.

Guest: Lillian Edwards, University of Sheffield

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The Associated Press reports that some in-flight security rules imposed after last week’s attempted terror attack aboard a Northwest Airlines flight have been eased.

At the captain’s discretion, passengers can once again fill their laps with laptops and other gadgetry, as well as books, blankets and other items, during the tail end of a flight.

This news probably sounds like an uncommon bit of common sense to security expert Bruce Schneier.

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Activists working to develop an alternative American voting system have turned loose their first batch of software code for public review. The Open Source Digital Voting Foundation is spearheading a project to build new voting machines to replace proprietary systems currently in place. The group is in the second year of a an eight-year plan to produce a publicly-owned, open source election system.

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In Wired magazine, Nicholas Thompson writes about system known as “Dead Hand.” It was designed by Soviet scientists in the mid 1980s to automatically retaliate against a nuclear strike from the U.S. Thompson reports that the purpose of Dead Hand, also known as Perimeter, was to make certain the USSR could hit back after being attacked, even if the Kremlin was destroyed. Thompson says Dead Hand still exists.

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President Obama has made it a top priority to assemble a White House-based team to fight Internet-based crime and defend the country against cyber attack, but first he has to find a person willing and able to lead the effort. Yesterday the interim cyber czar, Melissa Hathway, resigned, saying she’s frustrated over the administration’s delay in filling the post. Siobhan Gorman, intelligence correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, says some of the president’s advisers had apparently turned against Hathaway.

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Researchers at the Berkman Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard University analyzed about 35,000 active Arabic language Weblogs in 18 different countries. One of the more interesting findings, according to Harvard’s Bruce Etling, is bloggers tend to write mostly about their own towns and countries rather than wider, regional issues.

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Facebook executive Chris Kelly, former eBay C.E.O. Meg Whitman, former eBay executive Steve Westly, former tech startup C.E.O. Steve Poizner, and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina have either announced their candidacies for statewide office in California, or at least have expressed interest. What’s the with the rash of Silicon Valley luminaries enterting politics? I put that question to Owen Thomas of Valleywag.

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