Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >
WeGov

The UAE Wants to Speed Up Government Service Delivery With Drones

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 25 2014

Screenshot of Netflix's (fake) "Drone2Home" program

Earlier this month Netflix released a short mock commercial poking fun at Amazon's plans to create a drone delivery service called Prime Air.

Read More

First POST: Open Letters

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 9 2013

(Most) big tech companies come out swinging against the NSA's bulk surveillance programs; Change.org hits the 50 million-user mark; an analysis of Facebook profiles and search data suggests that millions of American men, especially in the south, are still in the closet; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Privatization

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 2 2013

The latest ups and downs of HealthCare.gov; PandoDaily.com absurdly accuses Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras of "privatizing" the Snowden Files; and will robot watchmen and drone deliveries be coming to your neighborhood soon? Read More

First POST: Crisitunity?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 20 2013

Why the Obamacare mess may be far, far worse for the Democratic party than people realize; the latest in voter-targeting TV ads; thinking about "popular data" as a new way to grow civic engagement around open data; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Half-Orcs and Whips

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 6 2013

Two Google network security engineers vent their anger at the NSA's hacking of their systems; the President and First Lady as White House ushers on YouTube; the Amazon book review war heats up on Amazon; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: The 16-Year-Old Vote

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 5 2013

Some pesky petitions that the White House still hasn't responded to; more evidence of the NSA's violation of Google's and Yahoo's data networks; the new book on Jeff Bezos gets reviewed by his wife MacKenzie Bezos, on Amazon; and much, much more. Read More

Internet Privacy: Are Lawmakers Thinking About It All Wrong?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, September 4 2013

How do we get back to the world where nobody knows if you're a dog? Photo: Flickr/Jesse757

Is it time to move past "Do Not Track" as the solution to pervasive online invasions of privacy? Sarah Lai Stirland takes a walk along the digital frontier where privacy activists and data entrepreneurs are diligently carving out some radical new approaches to the problem. Read More

First POST: Print is Dead

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 6 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: What to make of Jeff Bezos's purchase of the Washington Post; more reverberations from the NSA surveillance scandal; a British government agency proves you can make smart use of the web AND work in government; and more in today's round-up of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

If Books Were Votes, Obama Would Beat Romney, And Congress Would Go Far Right

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 21 2012

Amazon's Election Heat Map, August 21, 2012

The folks at Amazon have just unveiled a seductive piece of eye-candy called the "Election Heat Map of 2012" that categorizes 500 top book titles as either "red" or "blue," and then breaks out current book-buying data state-by-state, offering a near-real-time look at which political books are more popular where. Right now, 56% of the political books being purchased are "red" and 44% are "blue"--and the accompanying map suggests that people in New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Washington, DC are the only ones swimming against that trend, with Pennsylvania the only state with neutral reading interests. At the same time, Barack Obama's long-selling "The Audacity of Hope" is outselling Mitt Romney's "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness" by a margin of 2-1 in the last thirty days. The heat map is fun to look at, but has to be taken with a huge spoonful of salt. Read More

What the Heck Does that Mean?: Why Amazon Hosts Websites

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, December 7 2010

Photo credit: kevindooley Recently, I was talking Wikileaks with a very smart person in my life who had to wonder, "What the heck is Amazon.com doing hosting websites, anyway?" F Read More

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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

More