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

Broadband Has a Friend in Chopra

BY Nancy Scola | Sunday, April 19 2009

The reviews are in, and Aneesh Chopra is a hit! In comments being emailed around by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the apparent perch for the new U.S. CTO, venture capitalist extraordinaire John Doerr calls it "an inspired appointment." Intel's Craig Barrett praises Chopra as "one of technology’s leading lights." And Google's Eric Schmidt calls him "the perfect choice for the Nation's first CTO." They seem pleased.

Micah has covered what Chopra's appointment might spell for the future of open government. As much as Chopra might be a natural ally for CIO Vivek Kundra, he might prove to be just as a good a friend to another Obama appointee, FCC Chair appointee Julius Genachowski. When he served as Secretary of Technology for the state of Virginia, Chopra was known for his energetic cheerleading around the rollout of broadband to the state's hardest to reach nooks and crannies. That story is detailed here, in a piece by a promising young(ish) writer. Under Mark Warner and then Tim Kaine, Virginia went to great lengths to work alongside telecom interests in solving the broadband rollout conundrum, making the math work by doing things like using the state's credit rating to get cheap money to providers to do buildout work, or lending state assets like water towers to lower the capital investment needed to get the ball rolling in underserved areas of the state. It's a somewhat conciliatory approach to providers that might rankle with broadband advocates, but it's probably fair to call it perfectly Obaman. And it's probably safe to expect Chopra to keep a sharp focus on the end result of getting fiber in the ground or wireless in the sky.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

GO

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

More