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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

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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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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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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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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