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First POST: Hoodwinking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, March 18 2015

Marco Rubio on net neutrality; advocating for an easier path for third-party presidential candidates; the state of the free software movement; the sentencing of a blogger in Tunisia; and much, much more. Read More

Secrecy in the So-Called "Most Transparent" Administration in US History

BY Jason Ross Arnold | Wednesday, March 18 2015

How much has changed, really? (Eric Draper/White House)

We used to hear more from President Obama about his aspirations to lead the “most transparent” administration in American history. From the 2008 campaign through early 2013, administration officials – including the big guy – continued to beat the most transparent drum, promising the (clear) sky, and insisting they had already delivered, or were on the cusp. The White House has since toned down the lofty, boastful messaging. Perhaps they were chastened by all of the bipartisan criticism and late-night television mockery of the administration’s actions in light of its claims. But Obama’s pledge to create an “unprecedented level of openness” still stands proudly at the top of the White House’s open government webpage, a sign that it remains a priority (or a monument whose removal would be too embarrassing a concession). Sunshine week provides a perfect opportunity to evaluate the record: where between most transparent and “most closed, control-freak” should we place Obama-Biden?

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First POST: Bows

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, February 23 2015

CitizenFour wins best doc; Ken Silverstein resigned from First Look Media and took to Facebook to vent; why we need more Congressional staffers; who profits from the net neutrality debate; banning PowerPoint presentations; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Mob Rule, Vigilante Behavior and Blasphemy in Pakistan's Digital Age

BY Nighat Dad | Wednesday, November 26 2014

London's Pakistani community protests Pakistan's blasphemy law (helen.2006/flickr)

Blasphemy cases in Pakistan are considered a norm these days. However, the latest incident of a mob beating to death a Christian couple is the most gruesome manifestation of this sensitive issue. The couple in Punjab was alleged to have desecrated a copy of the Qur’an. The mob attacked the couple, killed them, and later burnt their bodies in the brick kiln where they worked. The blasphemy law presents a frightening level of vigilante violence where prison and private guards, neighbors and colleagues turn into mobs killing those accused of blasphemy. Unfortunately, this mob behavior is being strengthened by the increasing adoption of technology in the country like mobile phones and the internet.

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First POST: Dogfood

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 26 2014

What ethical social networking might look like; can the iPhone promise more privacy?; how Obama did on transparency; and much, much more. Read More

Is the Sharing Economy Set Up to Help or Turn a Profit When Disaster Strikes?

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, August 15 2014

Faces of Airbnb hosts who offered free housing during Hurricane Sandy (screenshot)

During Hurricane Sandy, many users of peer-to-peer platforms like Airbnb and TaskRabbit offered free housing or reduced prices to victims of the disaster. But others took advantage of those in need and raised prices. Can the sharing economy resolve its inherent contradictions? Read More

WeGov

Weekly Readings: The "Snooper's Charter"

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, July 7 2014

The UK wants to increase surveillance; Russia demands Google, Facebook and Twitter open local offices and hand over user data; Tunisians debate on social media whether to boycott the next election; and much more. Read More

WeGov

Libya Uses World's First Mobile Voter Registration System for Parliament Elections

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, June 25 2014

An advertisement for SMS voter registration in Tripoli. (Credit: Josh Levinger)

In just six months, a small staff of 20 people using open source tools, built a complex, first-of-its-kind mobile registration system in Libya, a transitioning country beset with violence. Today, Libyans will vote for a new parliament and 1.5 million citizens have registered. Since the fall of Libya's long-ruling dictator, Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the violence and tribal clashes that plague the country have overshadowed the work of a new government straining to rebuild it through innovation and openness. Read More

How the White House's We the People E-Petition Site Became a Virtual Ghost-Town

BY Dave Karpf | Friday, June 20 2014

The White House once boasted that 5.4 million people have created We The People accounts, resulting in 9.2 million signatures. But the statistic only shows that there are less than 2 signatures per person, which means that the average user is signing a single petition and then never returning again. David Karpf explains how and why the White House's e-petition site has failed to take off. Read More

[Transcript] Surveillance and Its Discontents: A Conversation Across Cyberspace with Edward Snowden and John Perry Barlow

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, June 12 2014

John Perry Barlow and Edward Snowden at PDF14 (Photo: Doc Searls/Flickr)

A full transcript of the Personal Democracy Forum 2014 keynote, Surveillance and its Discontents: A Conversation Across Cyberspace, with Edward Snowden and John Perry Barlow Read More