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First POST: The Bloggers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, October 18 2013

Edward Snowden's justification for his actions: no "government in the dark": tech insiders on the HealthCare.gov meltdown; more on why Pierre Omidyar's new venture could shake up online journalism; and much, much more. Read More

NYC Mayoral Race Shows "Shareable Graphics Are...The New Black" in Digital Campaigning

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, September 26 2013

A study released last week indicates that Bill de Blasio's messaging had the greatest resonance online leading up to the New York City mayoral primary, but much remains unknown about the broader impact of the digital campaign on the electorate. The study was a joint project between Hill & Knowlton Strategies and the Baruch College of Public Affairs' Survey Research program. Read More

First POST: Informed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, August 7 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Cory Booker's web of tech industry backers; more questions about the NSA; and maybe Jeff Bezos just wanted to buy power in DC the old-fashioned way, by owning media; and much much more. Read More

The New York City Mayor's Race: Analog Candidates in a Digital World

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, June 18 2013

On Monday night, several candidates for mayor of New York City gathered in Queens in the hopes of impressing the city's technologists and tech investors. If anyone was listening closely, they failed. Read More

On Rob Ford's Facebook Page, Wisecracks Don't Last Long

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, May 28 2013

Even as Toronto Mayor Rob Ford faces increased pressure over his alleged crack use, his staff is trying to maintain order on his Facebook page, according to Vice. Closer to techPresident headquarters, a candidate for mayor of New York City is taking a more hands-off approach as Facebook visitors crack wise in comments on his posted photos. Read More

Anthony Weiner Launches NYC Mayoral Campaign Online With An Image of Pittsburgh

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 23 2013

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner waxed lyrical about New York City in a YouTube video as he launched his bid to be the city's next mayor on Wednesday, but he did it against a backdrop that turned out to be the skyline ... Read More

From the PDF Archives: Anthony Weiner, Digital Prophet

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, May 23 2013

Before former Congressman Anthony Weiner announced his candidacy for mayor of New York City in a web video released late at night, before his Twitter habits with young women ended his career in the House, he was an online media skeptic — and, in a way, he prophesied exactly the role that media would play in the end of his first act on the political stage. In video from our archive of Personal Democracy Forum 2004, where Weiner was a speaker, he dismisses blogs as unnecessary in his district because there was "no lack of intimacy" between him and his constituents. Read More

One Congressional Subcommittee's Head-Scratching Look at Online Privacy and the Law

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, June 19 2012

What should government do about how our online and private lives intersect? Photo: Debubuntu

In a world where people share what they had for breakfast on Twitter and mobile apps of all kinds can keep track of your fitness level, your finances, your political beliefs and your physical location, one might ask whether such a thing as a "reasonable" expectation of privacy still exists. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican of Utah, certainly thinks so. At least, that's what he said Tuesday during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on privacy. Chaffetz and his terms-of-service-reading colleagues gathered to hear from industry representatives about how they might best manage privacy in a mobile-app-driven world. It was the latest installment in an ongoing search for answers to a few basic questions that are bedeviling this particular moment in the Internet age: What are our expectations of privacy? And do we need any new laws to define those expectations? Read More

Andrew Breitbart, Who Pushed the Edge of Online Political Journalism, Has Died

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 1 2012

Andrew Breitbart speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2012. Photo by Gage Skidmore.

The controversial rightwing online publisher Andrew Breitbart died early this morning, his website BigJournalism.org reports. Brietbart had been an editor at the Drudge Report and helped launch the Huffington Post before starting his own mini-empire of websites Breitbart.tv, BigJournalism, BigGovernment, BigHollywood and BigPeace. Read More

What Do Michele Bachmann and Ozzy Osbourne Have In Common?

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, July 20 2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Ozzy Osbourne are both riding the crazy train straight to the bank, political science professor Justin Buchler suggests in a new article in "The Forum," a Berkeley Electronic Press ... 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.

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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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