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Civic Tech and Engagement: With Waze, Who's in the Driver's Seat?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 21 2014

Screenshot of Waze.com's live map for Rio de Janeiro

Can you be a "connected citizen" if you don't know that you are connected to government? That's the question that's been on my mind since Waze, the crowdsourced traffic data company recently acquired by Google, announced a major new partnership with ten local cities and governments around the world called "Connected Citizens." Under this program, Waze will be giving city, state and county authorities like the New York Police Department and Rio de Janiero's Operations Center real-time traffic incident data (aggregated and anonymized) and in turn getting timely and relevant data from the authorities about scheduled events (construction, marathons and the like) that can also cause traffic problems. Since the program's announcement, dozens more governments have been applying to join in. At first glance, this can only be seen as a net plus good where everyone wins. But upon further inspection, Waze's new "Connected Citizens" program can teach us a lot about the potential, and limits, of tech-empowered civic engagement when the users aren't really in the driver's seat (pun intended). Read More

Civic Tech and Engagement: In Search of a Common Language

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 5 2014

Marten van Valkenborsch, Construction of the Tower of Babel (c. 1600)

We need much clearer language to describe civic tech. Too often, people working in this field struggle to put into words what it is they are striving for. It's not enough to assume that, like the Supreme Court and obscenity, we know good civic tech when we see it. And if we can't say why something is good (or even great), how can we know what to design for? Indeed, how do we even know if we're after the same design goals? Read More

First POST: Watching the Detectives

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, August 14 2014

The whole world is watching the confrontation between police and protesters in Ferguson, MO, thanks to the web; Twitter finally promises to improve its policies for reducing harassment of users in the wake of Robin Williams' death; how the new US Digital Service hopes to avoid future IT catastrophes; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Astonishing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 31 2014

Debating how (or if) Twitter should police abusive behavior; Facebook launches Internet.org; an update on the Detroit Water Project; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Unlocking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, July 28 2014

Why the GOP is having trouble catching up to the Dems on tech; how the cellphone unblocking bill shows the Internet's power (or not); civil rights groups "sell out" on net neutrality; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Angry News Feed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, July 23 2014

How Facebook's News Feed may be accentuating negative political polarization; new tools for visualizing political corruption; how posting your cat's photo online gives away your location; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Addressable Transcendence

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, July 22 2014

What San Francisco techies and tenant activists have in common; the future of online political targeting; problems with Washington DC's new open data policies; and much, much more. Read More

For Measuring Impact of Journalism and Advocacy, Data is Not Just Data

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, June 3 2014

Going beyond simply counting clicks to using data to inform journalistic or policy goals was a recurring theme among the panelists participating in the first research conference sponsored by the Journalism School's Tow Center for Digital Journalism, as Miranda Neubauer reports. Read More

First POST: Data Acts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 29 2014

Debating the value of municipal broadband in the net neutrality fight; celebrating the passage of the DATA act; pondering the role of data analytics in US elections in 2014 and the UK elections in 2015; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Oligarchs for a Little Less Corruption

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 21 2014

Sean Parker's plans to change US politics; the New York Times' front-pages mesh networking; the Pirate Times reviews the party's impact on the European Parliament; and much, much more. Read More