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WeGov

Nigeria's Push to Legalize Wiretapping and Internet Surveillance Will Likely Succeed

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, November 18 2013

Normalizing surveillance under guise of safety (Flickr/abrinsky)

It seems as though Nigeria is using scare tactics to push through an Orwellian bill legalizing an extensive surveillance system. The proposed wiretap program would allow law enforcement and security agencies to monitor and track both phone and Internet communications.

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WeGov

France Outlines Open Data Plans

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, November 12 2013

On Friday the French government released their Action Plan for France to enact the guidelines and practices outlined in the G8 Open Data Charter, adopted in June of this year at the Lough Erne Summit by the President of the French Republic and the other G8 Member States.

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WeGov

Will The Shift To E-Gov't Decrease Corruption in Kenya?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, November 7 2013

"Complaint box for corruption." (Flickr/watchsmart)

Today Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the first e-government service center in Nairobi. The Huduma—which is Swahili for service—Centers are supposed to be “one-stop shop[s]” for government services like seasonal parking tickets, student loan applications, reporting corruption and drivers licenses, among others.

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WeGov

India's Election Commission Lays Down Last Minute Laws For Online Campaigning

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, November 6 2013

Screenshot of PM Manmohan Singh's Twitter page

India's Election Commission recently published a set of guidelines for the use of social media in political campaigns, requiring that candidates declare the amount of funds spent on social media campaigning and pre-certify their political advertisements, among other requirements. The new rules, sprung on political campaigners less than a month before the scheduled elections, have had mixed reception, with some saying that the rules do not go far enough.

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WeGov

Italy, a Test Lab for Participatory Democracy

BY Carola Frediani | Wednesday, November 6 2013

Beppe Grillo Rallying the Crowd at Piazza Dante in Naples. (Avanguardie.info Web Magazine/flickr)

Online platforms for participatory democracy are flourishing in Italy and they are being initiated by civil society and local governments alike. Some of these tools are limited to 'social reporting,' where citizens are asked to recount problems and disruptions; others strive for empowering people with some sort of liquid democracy that allows people to debate and even propose legislation. But all of these platforms grew out of a deep dissatisfaction toward Italian politics and politicians. Now, a variety of tools to enable bottom-up decision making are being tested by local municipalities in Italy and being developed by small groups of volunteers. 
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WeGov

Tajikistan Blocks YouTube and News Site On Eve of Election

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, November 5 2013

Rakhmon with Dmitry Medvedev (Wikipedia)

On the eve of Tajik elections, clients of certain Internet providers were unable to access YouTube or the popular new portal Ozodagon. A source close to the Tajik government told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that the blocks were ordered by the State Communications Service.

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WeGov

Tell President Kenyatta You Paid A Bribe

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, October 31 2013

125,584,332 Kenyan shillings have been paid in bribes since the end of 2011 (Wikipedia)

As Kenya continues to struggle with everyday corruption, President Kenyatta has launched a platform through which citizens can report incidents of bribery directly to his administration. Similar platforms, like I Paid A Bribe and Not In My Country, which targets corruption in the school system, already exist, but bribery is so systemic that only seven out of 100 Kenyans will report specific instances, according to Transparency International's most recent East African Bribery Index. It remains to be seen if President Kenyatta's attention to the problem will inspire more participation and eventually lead to reform and change.

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WeGov

Argentina's Expanding Surveillance State

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 30 2013

Screenshot from the SIBIOS promotional video

“If we know more about who we are, we can better take care of ourselves.”

That's the reason the Argentinian government gives for their new Federal System of Biometric Identification (SIBIOS) program in a promotional video they play at border control stations. Privacy rights activists have been up in arms about SIBIOS since Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner created it with an executive decree in 2011. It has been active practice since 2012, with little to no public debate about it. Nothing has slowed down the expanding database of information, which includes fingerprints and photos. Earlier this month, Mendoza became the 13th province to sign the Federal Program Partnership and Security Assistance, a program meant to "harmonize" national and provincial policies, and gives provinces access to databases like SIBIOS.

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WeGov

Who Does it Best When it Comes to Open Data?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, October 29 2013

Screenshot of 2013 Open Data Index

To coincide with the Open Government Partnership Summit in London—which Susannah Vila and Christopher Wilson of engine room are live-blogging for techPresident this week—the Open Knowledge Foundation has released the 2013 Open Data Index, the first major assessment of open government data worldwide. The Index is based on community surveys in 70 countries, and ranks countries based on availability and accessibility of data in ten categories, including government spending, election results and pollution levels. The United Kingdom came out on top, followed by the United States; Cyprus is way behind, scoring a mere 30 points compared to the United Kingdom's 940.

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WeGov

Pushback Against Corruption In Philippines Continues With Gov't Hackathon

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, October 28 2013

The Philippines government is sponsoring a two-day hackathon early next month as part of an attempt to reform government and reduce corruption. Less than two months ago the country was rocked by a corruption scandal implicating three senators, two former lawmakers, and a businesswoman for misuse of state funds totaling more than US$200 million. The central government will provide data for the #KabantayNgBayan (Guardians of the Nation) hackathon, which will encourage the development of apps that encourage citizens to monitor and participate in government.

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