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

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

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

GO

monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

GO

The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

GO

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

More