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High Tech Volunteering Blooms With National Day of Civic Hacking

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, May 31 2013

It's almost upon us: The National Day of Civic Hacking -- well the national weekend of civic hacking really. It's a series of co-ordinated events across the country that asks civilians to get together to create useful ... Read More

Barry Diller and Steve Chen Join FWD.us, Group Places Ad On Rush Limbaugh Show

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, May 31 2013

There's been a lot of skepticism about the Silicon Valley advocacy group FWD.us, and its lobbying methodologies, but that hasn't put off media mogul Barry Diller and YouTube Co-Founder Steve Chen. The group's Founder and ... Read More

How A Trio Of Feminists Persuaded Facebook To Unfriend Rape "Humor" Groups

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 30 2013

Beyond a joke: Facebook recently admitted that its flagging system is flawed

A global campaign to alert advertisers moved Facebook to take action against groups flagged as promoters of "gender-based hate" after several years of repeated attempts to persuade the company to change the way it evaluates requests for take-downs. Read More

OpenOakland Invites Citizens To Create An 'Ask Jeeves' for City Services

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, May 28 2013

A group of civic hackers in Oakland is calling on the city's residents to come help it launch a variation of an "Ask Jeeves," kind of search engine for city services this Saturday as part of the National Day of Civic ... Read More

Organizing for Action Says It Can’t Move Climate Change Legislation In Congress

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, May 24 2013

Beleaguered on one side by pressure to take a stand on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline and hoping, on the other, to hang on to the activist energy of the president's progressive base, Organizing for Action leadership and partners aren't holding out much hope for the power of grassroots organizing to motivate action in Congress. Read More

Anthony Weiner Launches NYC Mayoral Campaign Online With An Image of Pittsburgh

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 23 2013

Former Congressman Anthony Weiner waxed lyrical about New York City in a YouTube video as he launched his bid to be the city's next mayor on Wednesday, but he did it against a backdrop that turned out to be the skyline ... Read More

Honda Campaign Rolls Out Endorsements From Asian American Stars

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, May 21 2013

Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) rolled out several additional endorsements from Asian American leaders and celebrities Tuesday, with one of them vouching for his high-tech bona fides. Read More

Change.org Lands $15 Million From Omidyar

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, May 21 2013

Change.org CEO Ben Rattray: "We'd never sell. We'd never go public." Photo: Personal Democracy Forum

Change.org capped an extraordinary few years of growth Tuesday with the announcement that it has landed a $15 million investment led by the Omidyar Network. Read More

In Tumblr, Yahoo Acquires an Audience and an Activist Edge, Too

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, May 20 2013

David Karp, May 16, 2013. Photo: Flickr/Digitas Photos

With a sticker price of approximately $1.1 billion, Yahoo's Tumblr acquisition doesn't just come with an audience CEO Marissa Mayer expects will grow Yahoo's footprint by 50 percent. Whether Yahoo knew it or not, the struggling Internet ur-company has also bought itself an activist constituency. Read More

Will Silicon Valley "Disrupt" Politics With a Candidate for Congress?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, May 20 2013

Sean Parker, of Napster fame and now executive general partner at venture capital firm Founders Fund, has invested in political startups before. But last week, he went a step further — co-hosting a fundraising event for a candidate for Congress. Parker and SV Angel co-founder Ron Conway organized a crowd of Internet industry luminaries to support Ro Khanna, a former assistant deputy secretary in Barack Obama's Commerce Department. Khanna is preparing a challenge to Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), whose newly redrawn congressional district encompasses Silicon Valley. 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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wednesday >

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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tuesday >

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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monday >

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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