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Cory Booker Hires Democratic Organizing Veteran Addisu Demissie To Manage Senate Run

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, June 18 2013

Newark Mayor Cory Booker has hired a veteran of the Democratic organizing world Addisu Demissie to manage his run to succeed the late New Jersey Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey. Read More

ShareProgress Debuts Social Sharing Optimization Tools

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, June 18 2013

ShareProgress offers campaigners tools to optimize their social sharing strategies

ShareProgress, a left-leaning tech startup in downtown San Francisco, launched its social sharing optimization platform Tuesday after several months of testing with the progressive advocacy group CREDO Action. Read More

New Organizing Institute to Move from Collecting Election Data to Organizing Election Officials

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, June 18 2013

The New Organizing Institute, a progressive nonprofit that trains campaigners and is no led by former Obama for America data director Ethan Roeder, is launching a new initiative next week aiming to "fix that" for local elections. NOI will announce a national network where local election administration officials can congregate to share solutions to common issues. It's a transition for a team at NOI that had previously been managing the Voting Information Project, which collects data on polling places, election districts and voter registration deadlines and prepares it for third parties in machine-readable format. In the 2012 election cycle, backed by the Pew Charitable Trusts and partnered with Google, VIP made information available in all 50 states. Read More

Mayors of New York City and San Francisco Announce "Digital Cities" Summit

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, June 14 2013

The Mayors of New York City and San Francisco announced Friday that they're co-hosting meetings in the Fall and early next year to examine the "best practices" that lead to tech-enabled economic growth. The meetings are ... Read More

U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board To Meet Next Wednesday

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, June 13 2013

A long dormant independent agency that was at least nominally supposed to exercise a modicum of oversight over the booming intelligence-industrial complex is scrambling to meet up next Wednesday, but the public will ... Read More

Grassroots Republicans Are Not Waiting for the RNC To Revamp Their Digital Strategy

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, June 13 2013

Several members of the Republican Party rank and file aren't waiting around for the GOP to reinvent itself on the technological front. They're organizing events themselves to explore what a tech-enabled GOP might look like for the 2014 cycle. Read More

Google To Justice Department: Let Us Publish National Security Requests

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, June 11 2013

Google's Chief Legal Officer David Drummond on Tuesday published an open letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller asking for permission to publish the number and scope of national security-related requests that it receives. In effect, the company is asking the government to lift a gag, imposed in the name of national security, on disclosing the extent to which the search-engine giant passes along user information to the federal government. Read More

Policymakers Divided On NSA Spying Revelations As Popular Outcry Continues

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, June 10 2013

A rare bipartisan coalition of advocacy groups and political leaders has emerged to decry National Security Agency mass surveillance activities exposed last week by The Guardian and The Washington Post, but as of Monday, policymakers in Washington D.C. appeared to be deeply divided on exactly what action to take in light of the revelations. Read More

Kimberly Bryant Wants Black Girls Code To Be 'Girl Scouts of Technology'

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, June 6 2013

Kimberly Bryant. Photo: Esty Stein / Personal Democracy Media

Computer-related jobs are being created at such a rapid clip in the United States that its workforce can't keep up, so one woman is using that opportunity to create change in a community that she says is suffering from a disparity in education and income. Read More

San Francisco District Attorney Wants to Turn Prosecution From "Art" to Data "Science"

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, June 4 2013

San Francisco's District Attorney George Gascón wants to use statistical analysis to be smart on crime.

If justice is blind, it won't stay that way in San Francisco for long. Right now, all city district attorney George Gascón knows about the defendants his office prosecutes is that each of his prosecutors handles, on average, 185 felony cases and 700 misdemeanor cases per year. He wants to know far more, and says his office is now building a database to profile defendants by attributes such as age, ethnicity, gender, education, work history, mental health and substance abuse issues. The system will also track "stabilizing forces" in their lives, such as whether they have housing. This information will help prosecutors decide how to handle their cases, he says. "We're trying to move this process away from being an art to being a science," Gascón said in an interview. Read More

News Briefs

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Civic Hackers Call on de Blasio to Fill Technology Vacancies

New York City technology advocates on Wednesday called on the de Blasio administration to fill vacancies in top technology policy positions, expressing some frustration at the lack of a leadership team to implement a cohesive technology strategy for the city. GO

China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.

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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

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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