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WeGov

Lebanese Army Tries to Stem Tide of Violence With New Smartphone App

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, September 3 2013

Fireworks or gunshots? Who knows--check Way to Safety (baron valium/Flickr)

Tech-savvy entrepreneurs in Lebanon are making the streets safer to walk by warning users of gunfights, roadblocks and other hazards. The smartphone app Ma2too3a takes crowdsourced information about protests, traffic and conflict and maps it. Another app analyzes sounds and can tell you if what you're hearing is gunfire or something less threatening, like fireworks. Taking their cues from the public demand for this kind of tool, the Lebanese army last week released their own security app called LAF Shield.

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WeGov

How Do You Prepare For A Disaster That Could Kill More Than 300,000 People?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, September 3 2013

Aerial view of damage to Wakuya, Japan, following 2011 earthquake (U.S. Navy/Flickr)

An earthquake in the Nankai Trough, off of the southern coast of Japan's Honshu Island, could kill up to 323,000 people and cause ¥220 trillion (US$2.21 trillion) in damages. Or at least, those are the worst case scenario projections by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Disaster Prevention Council. To prepare for the potential calamity, the Japanese government is building an electronic mapping system in advance of the potential earthquake.

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WeGov

Tunisian Activist Thanks Chelsea Manning For Sparking The Arab Spring

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, August 29 2013

Manning (Wikipedia)

Sami Ben Gharbia, the Founding Director of Global Voices Advocacy and co-founder of the citizen journalism blog nawaat.org, published a tribute to Chelsea Manning, previously known as Bradley Manning, on Medium yesterday. In it he calls her a deity of a “new mythology,” and an inspirational and iconic figure. It is really the story of TuniLeaks and the beginning of the Arab Spring, told by an active participant, but framed as an illustration of the effect that Manning has had by releasing those infamous cables. Read More

WeGov

The Mumbai Gang Rape and the Digital Fingerprints of a Crime

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, August 26 2013

CPOA/flickr

Last week in Mumbai, five men dragged a 23-year-old magazine intern behind a broken wall in the deserted Shakti Mills and raped her, documenting the brutality on their cell phones through video and photos. They then threatened to publicize the footage if she tattled and forced her to clean up the crime scene. But even before they committed the heinous act, they had paved a digital trail of evidence. Read More

WeGov

Bribespot Thailand: Effective Anti-Corruption Tool Or Mere Outlet For Disgruntled Victims?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, August 23 2013

Screenshot of Bribespot Thailand

An anti-corruption intiative originally from Lithuania has been repurposed in Thailand. Bribespot Thailand officially launched two weeks ago, and already has more than 80 official reports of bribes demanded. The nonprofit hopes the initiative will empower citizens to report bribery in the public sector immediately, and to raise the Thai authorities' awareness of the scope and pervasiveness of petty corruption.

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WeGov

Young and Naive YouTube Questions for German Politicians

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, August 22 2013

German Chancellor-Candidate Peer Steinbrück with Tilo Jung (Jung und Naiv/Facebook)

In the U.S., when politicians want to reach out to younger audiences, they often appear on the Daily Show or the Colbert Report. In the ongoing German campaign season leading up to the September 22 national election, politicians this year have been able to take advantage of a new outlet, inspired by those U.S. examples, to connect with a younger demographic. Since February, freelance German journalist Tilo Jung has gained attention with his YouTube series Jung & Naiv, a play on his name, but a title that also encapsulates the persona he takes on for the series which has the tagline "Politics for the Disinterested." Read More

WeGov

Crisis Mapping Becomes De Rigueur Tropical Storm Response in Philippines

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, August 21 2013

Screenshot of the Google map of the three day accumulated rainfall

When the Philippines suffered severe flooding last August, crisis responders used Twitter hashtags and a Google Doc to track calls for help and successful rescues. This year, in the wake of Tropical Storm Maring, Filipinos are using an official portal, through which anyone can submit a rescue request online or by text message which is then mapped. The same hashtags active last year are organizing the conversation this year, too: #rescuePH, #floodPH, #reliefPH and, in the event of a successful rescue, #SafeNow.

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WeGov

How Governments Should Release Open Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, August 20 2013

When releasing data, governments should know that format matters almost as much as content. If it is clean, well organized, complete and in a machine-readable format, even a nonprogrammer can make good use of it. A recent post from Craig Thomler, who blogs about eGovernment and Gov 2.0 in Australia, illustrates this point.

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WeGov

South Africans Use Community Monitoring Tool to Promote Gov't Accountability

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, August 15 2013

Screenshot of the Lungisa Facebook page

Citizens in South Africa have taken community monitoring into their own hands – and onto their social networks. Using a tool called Lungisa, they can report problems with water, sanitation, electricity, schooling and health care and the nonprofit that operates Lungisa, Cell-Life, reports the problem to the appropriate authorities. Even better? The issues are getting resolved.

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WeGov

India Launches Open Data Portal

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, August 13 2013

On Thursday August 8 the Indian government launched an open data portal with more than 3,500 data sets from 49 different government offices. The website, Data Portal India (data.gov.in), has been compared to similar websites launched by the US in 2009 and the UK in 2010. Read More