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First POST: Slippery Slopes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 1 2014

Why the CIA is fighting so hard to keep that Senate report on torture secret; OkCupid tells visitors using Firefox to use a different browser; why decentralized mesh networks should matter to dissident political movements; and much, much more. Read More

Coworker.org Updates Digital Labor Organizing

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, November 26 2013

Coworker.org is improving workplace organizing online

With labor union membership numbers on the decline, organizers are developing innovative new tools to help workers network and rally on behalf of better pay and working conditions. Read More

How "Big Data" And Behavioral Science Powered Progressive Groups in 2012

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Saturday, November 10 2012

An October canvas in Richmond, ViA. Photo: Flickr/AFL-CIO

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The Obama campaign wasn't the only center of data-driven, technology-enabled field work on the left. Groups like MoveOn and the AFL-CIO's super PAC, Worker's Voice, also used the Internet to leverage their understanding of behavioral psychology and user-generated content into a massively scaled persuasion and get-out-the-vote effort. Read More

With "RePurpose," AFL-CIO Invites Supporters to Join in Playing Politics

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, September 18 2012

Political organizing may soon start looking like a frequent flyer redemption program.

Workers' Voice, the Super PAC of the AFL-CIO, pulled the wraps off of its high-tech organizing model on Tuesday, which it has named rePurpose. The idea is to use points to better reward campaign volunteers — but rather than those points earning t-shirts or buttons, organizers say, they go towards a stake in how the PAC actually spends its resources.

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Workers' Voice Asks the Crowd for Campaigns to Care About

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, June 18 2012

Workers' Voice, the super PAC of the AFL-CIO, is close to finishing its "platform to encourage volunteer action," and expects to launch it next month, Eddie Vale, communications director for Workers' Voice, writes in an e-mail. Using that platform, supporters will be earn the right to direct some of the organization's spending by participating in Workers' Voice field and online program and completing certain actions. To complement that effort, similar to a survey that MoveOn recently sent to its supporters, it has sent a message to its supporters asking them which election races are important to them. Read More

Grassroots Politics Makes Wisconsin's Recall Elections Local, and Personal

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, May 18 2012

Photo: Overpass Light Brigade

It's true that both Scott Walker and his opponent, Democrat Tom Barrett, will be a ubiquitous presence not just in emails sent around the country but also on television ads and radio spots inside Wisconsin. As their June 5 recall election gets closer, though, operatives supporting both Walker and Barrett say this election will be a far more visceral experience for voters: Campaigns over the past few years have become better and better at leaning on supporters to fire up their friends on Facebook and use the Internet to organize themselves to go door to door. The recall will be another opportunity to see how much traditional campaigns at all levels have come to rely on the grassroots — and what that means for voters caught in the crossfire of a highly charged election fueled by millions in political spending. Read More

AFL-CIO Hopes To Reassert Unions' Relevance With New Web Site Launch

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, March 1 2012

America's largest federation of unions pulled the wraps off of a year-long effort to revamp its online presence Thursday in an effort to broaden the movement's appeal. Read More

The Technology Firsts in Ohio's Issue 2 Campaign

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, November 9 2011

Yesterday's Ohio elections culminated an unprecedented online-driven issue campaign in which both sides honed online tools and tactics that in some cases they were using for the first time. The labor-backed We Are Ohio ... Read More

In a Year of Local Labor Battles Nationwide, A Major Union Doubles Down Online

BY Nick Judd | Friday, July 15 2011

Union protesters rally against Ohio Senate Bill 5 in March. Union staffers nationwide say their members have moved increasingly online throughout this year's fights over state budgets and collective bargaining rights. ... Read More

"This is Jerry McEntee"

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, June 29 2010

Here's an update to how mobile is being harnessed in the election of a new Secretary-Treasurer at the AFSCME convention taking place this week in Boston. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

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The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

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tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

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Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

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monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

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