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WeGov

Dude, Where's My Cow? There May Be An App For That

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, October 18 2013

siwild/flickr

Sometimes the thieves come in large trucks armed with guns and take what they like in broad daylight. Sometimes they slink across the fields in the middle of the night for their plunder. But the results are the same: the loss of crops and in many cases, cows, that has cost farmers US$52 million a year in Jamaica alone. These thefts – known as praedial larceny – are endemic across the Caribbean region. Read More

WeGov

UK National Health Service Sitting On Potential Treasure Trove of Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, October 17 2013

Make room for the data (Wikipedia)

We live in a world in which data is so valuable some people compare it to the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The data in this case is the vast stores of patient information held by the U.K.'s National Health Service. One of the world's largest public health systems, the NHS serves more than 50 million people. Those 50 million plus medical records are being moved to a new central database to facilitate better healthcare for patients, regardless of where they go to receive care. The central database could also be a treasure trove of data for researchers, if patients acquiesce to sharing.

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WeGov

It's Not New, But "Twiplomacy" Is Increasingly Refined

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, October 11 2013

"Real-time fire hose" (Wikipedia)

Oh, the things you can read on “that real-time fire hose of public opinion known as Twitter,” as the New York Times so aptly called it.

During the United Nations General Assembly meeting that took place in the last few weeks, it was the place to go for progress reports on negotiations over Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons. It was also where the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, announced his “historic” phone call with Barack Obama, the first exchange of its kind between the United States and Iran in more than 30 years.

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WeGov

Saudi Arabia Blocks Online Petition to Lift Ban on Women Drivers

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, October 10 2013

An alternative headline

The drive to get Saudi women behind the wheel has been long and arduous. Women have been protesting the ban on women drivers since the early '90s. An online petition created in September has thrust the issue into the spotlight once more, with everyone from the religious police to pseudo-scientists weighing in. In what seems like promising news, three women, members of the council that advises King Abdullah, recommended earlier this week that the ban on women driving be lifted. But the country-wide blocking of the online petition suggests authorities are not yet ready to listen, in spite of their claims otherwise.

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WeGov

SIM Card Registration Newest Assault on Privacy and Freedom of Expression in Zimbabwe

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 9 2013

Harare, Zimbabwe (Wikipedia)

As of October 1, Zimbabweans have 30 days to register their SIM cards with their service providers, or risk a fine or imprisonment of up to six months. The Zimbabwean government is also establishing a single subscriber database of all the subscribers' personal information. The government justifies these measures as necessary to safeguard national security, but human rights activists in Zimbabwe say that they pose a threat to citizens' privacy and free expression.

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WeGov

Quién Manda: A Pinterest For Politician and Lobbyist Relations?

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, October 8 2013

http://quienmanda.es/

Some day, the term ‘El Fotomandón’ may give Spanish politicians the jitters. El Fotomandón is, in some sense, like a paparazzi meets Pinterest for politician and lobbyist relations, displaying photos of them interacting together. These so-called ‘protagonistas’ are tagged with their full name and titles. It belongs to the site, Quién Manda (‘Who’s Your Boss?’), launched today by Civio, a civil interest group that works on transparency issues in Spain. Its mantra is to bid ‘bye, bye to opacity’ and ‘hello to democracy.’ Read More

WeGov

Move Over Skype. For a More Secure Chat, There’s OStel.

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, October 7 2013

sparktography/flickr

As Edward Snowden’s leaks have revealed, none of our digital devices are truly safe from prying eyes, including Skype. As of February 2011, the U.S. government has had the capacity to monitor Skype calls and in July of this year, several newspapers exposed the level of cooperation Skype has had with the government in monitoring calls; the NSA apparently tripled its level of monitoring since July of last year, nine months after Microsoft bought the application. There is now a Skype alternative called OStel, offered by the Guardian Project, an organization that creates secure, open-source communications software that often assists those living under censorship. Read More

WeGov

Apple Stoops to “Whole New Level” of Self-Censorship in China

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, October 4 2013

Apple silently removed OpenDoor, an app that helped users evade China's Great Firewall, without any explanation and, the app developer says, without any just reason. Chinese netizens are understandably angry and many are criticizing Apple for their willingness to cooperate with Chinese authorities.

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WeGov

Talk Into The Big Red Ear and the Seoul City Gov't Will Listen

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 2 2013

This is not 'Yobosayo' but it's not too far off. (Glamhag/flickr)

A giant red ear-shaped sculpture has been installed outside of Seoul's City Hall, symbolizing the Mayor and his administration's openness to public opinion and feedback. But citizens who approach the art installation will find that it is more than a symbol. The sculpture is actually facilitating a conversation between ordinary citizens and their government.

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WeGov

Australians Save Shuttered Climate Council By Crowdfunding AUD $800K in Three Days

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, September 30 2013

Australia gets hotter and drier (ed 37 ~~ / Flickr)

Australian citizens were outraged after Australia's new prime minister Tony Abbot shuttered the government-funded Climate Commission, which conducts independent studies on the effects of climate change. Instead of merely expressing their anger and disappointment, however, citizens have put their money where their mouths are, funding the “new” nonprofit organization Climate Council in less than a week through an impressive crowdfunding effort.

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