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

The Europe Roundup: Come Hack4Transparency At The European Parliament

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, October 4 2011

  • EU | Come Hack4Transparency at the European Parliament 
    The first hacking event in a European institution will take place in the European Parliament in Brussels next November 8th and 9th.
    As the website's presentation says:

    The goal of the event is to get together talented European developers to facilitate the co-creation of tools based on existing code and data sources within a 24-hour time constraint in two distinct and parallel development tracks, both focused on enabling transparency and accountability in the information society. In doing so the event wants to help build bridges between code and law (to paraphrase Lawrence Lessig) by joining hackers (in a positive sense), civil society, industry and legislators for the benefit of all European citizens. 

    Hackers will work along two tracks, each one with a final prize of 3,000 euros.
    The Internet Quality track focuses on the quality of service delivered by mobile operators. The aim is making broadband performance data meaningful to the average consumer by improving the user interfaces of existing broadband measurement tools.
    The Global Transparency track works on the accessibility of information. Hackers are being asked to take data from existing sources (including Google's Transparency Report, the Open Net Initiative, and Herdict) and using these sources to create visualizations showing what type of Internet content is available or unavailable to users and the consequences of censorship and barriers to the free flow of information online.

    Applications must be submitted using the online form by Monday 17 October at noon (CET). Selected applicants will have their travel and accommodations covered.

  • Belgium | Moving on to a open data portal 
    Belgium’s government may have been stuck in limbo for months (it took almost a year to from a government after the election) but the development of an open data portal quickly followed. The portal has been launched earlier this week and is available in French, Dutch, German (official languages of the country) as well as English.
    The portal is maintained by FedICT, the federal ICT service in the country. Here's what the organization says about the website's policy:

    Unless otherwise specified you are free to use the information available on the Opendata Website free of charge and for personal purposes only, subject to source attribution. In cases where prior permission is required for the use or reproduction of certain information, the restrictions on the use thereof are expressly specified. Fedict reserves all intellectual property rights over the Opendata Website. 

    People working for a Belgian institution at any level (or for a parastatal agency as well) can apply for the data editor role that will allow the person to add her/his agency’s datasets and receive feedback from the open data community.
    The website has a section where citizens can provide ideas for data sets to be published and a section that shows applications built with the data.

  • EU | EuroHack at the OpenGovernment Data Camp 
    The European Journalism Centre and the Open Knowledge Foundation are teaming up to provide a data-journalism workshop to the attendants of the Open Government Data Camp (OGDC) that will take place in Warsaw (Poland) next October 20-21.
    On October 19th the workshop (just one among a serie of events and talks) will teach how journalists can find stories in public datasets and how to present them to the public. Examples will deal with data-driven reporting on EU spending.

    There will also be a related competition with a main theme “What would you do with EU data if you had a data team for one day?”.
    Teams will be provided with a set of resources, databases and tools on EU spending and related issues, and asked to produce a project made of stories, application and visualisations on that day.

    The winning teams in the three categories ‘Best Visualization/Application’, ‘Best Story’ and ‘The Public’s Choice’ will present their projects in the afternoon session of day two at the OGDC. The winning projects will be featured on and on, also partners of the event.

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.


tuesday > Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like 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 is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and And strangely enough, seems to want its early users to ask 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.


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.


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.


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.