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Apps for America 2: The Data.gov Challenge (and $25,000 Prize)

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 21 2009

Calling all developers: The Sunlight Foundation, Google, O'Reilly Media and Techweb are launching a new contest, Apps for America 2: The Data.gov Challenge, to celebrate the launch of Data.gov today. They're looking for ... Read More

Apps for America Draws to a Close, With a Look at Some Entrants

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, March 30 2009

Tomorrow marks the final day for submissions into the Sunlight Foundation's Apps for America contest. There are about a dozen apps submitted thus far, and the prize money is not insubstantial (not to mention the glory ... Read More

Participatory Government's Growing Pains? Evolving from Direct Democracy to Citizen Lobbying

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, March 23 2009

Apps for Democracy, the programming contest that may well have put Vivek Kundra within spitting distance of the Oval Office, is talked about as one of the success stories of Internet-enabled participatory democracy. And ... Read More

Does Digital Transparency Lead to Fewer Earmarks?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, March 18 2009

Will Turnage, a freelance developer working on RepresentedBy, a really cool Facebook application that he is planning to submit to the Sunlight Labs "Apps for America" contest, has uncovered a seemingly suggestive ... 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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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

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