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Surveillance Scandal Casts a Shadow Over Data-Driven Dems at Netroots Nation

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, June 24 2013

Image: g4ll4is/Flickr

The subject of personal privacy in the digital age loomed large in the minds of many attendees of this year's Netroots Nation in San Jose as the national debate continued over the ethics of the Obama Administration's national security surveillance techniques. So perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that the political operatives who capitalized on the American electorate's personal data to achieve victory in 2012 felt a bit defensive last week as they celebrated their cutting-edge strategies to beat back state-level conservative initiatives, and to elect Democratic candidates. Read More

What Howard Dean Sees in the Future of People-Powered Politics

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, June 20 2013

Former Vermont Governor and Democratic Presidential Candidate Howard Dean. Photo: Steve Bott / Flickr

Never mind fear of growing government surveillance or anger at a dysfunctional Congress, progressive Democrats. Howard Dean, the former Democratic presidential hopeful and architect of the "50-state strategy", told a roomful of progressives Wednesday night that the left has plenty of reason for optimism. At Netroots Nation, what you might call the premier gathering of the amateur or semi-pro left, there will surely be more celebration. But as Dean celebrates the 10-year anniversary of his people-powered campaign, the netroots have cause for worry, too. Read More

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

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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