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What The Other Silicon Valley Immigration Group Is Doing This Month

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 16 2013

A bipartisan coalition of political advocacy, business and tech groups are moving ahead to launch a social media blitz next week designed to persuade members of the Senate to vote in favor of immigration reform ... Read More

White House Innovation Fellows Project Spins Off Into A Business

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, May 15 2013

The White House on Wednesday published the results of RFP-EZ, a pilot project to simplify procurement.

Clay Johnson and Adam Becker joined the Presidential Innovation Fellows program to help the White House fix the way government does business. Now they're turning that mission into a business themselves. Read More

Mike Honda Locks Up Establishment Support, But Challenger Has Ear of the Silicon Valley Elite

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, May 14 2013

Some of Silicon Valley's most influential business people will hold a fundraiser in San Francisco this Thursday for Ro Khanna, the 36-year-old lawyer who's challenging 71-year-old California Democrat Mike Honda for his 17th Congressional District seat. The names at the top of the invite: Ron Conway and Sean Parker. They're apparently forming a committee to help Khanna build his campaign. The other bold-face names who are listed as part of the 'committee in formation' include Salesforce.com's Founder and CEO Marc Benioff, Benchmark Capital General Partners' Matt Cohler and Peter Fenton, tech entrepreneur Shawn Fanning, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, her big data venture investor husband Zach Bogue, and Conway's SV Angel colleague, Founder and Managing Partner David Lee. Read More

Gun Control Advocates Take Aim At LivingSocial for Promoting Guns and Alcohol

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, May 13 2013

"The days of the Old West are behind us, but that doesn't mean we can't still pretend to be cowboys," says this ad.

A coalition of advocacy groups is launching a new campaign this week against the promotion of American gun culture. The campaign focuses on the daily deals site Living Social, which hasn't stopped promoting social events ... Read More

A Pioneering Digital Issues Group Closes, But the Issues Live On

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, May 10 2013

Amid all the clamor over proposed biometric databases, constant electronic surveillance, and the trends toward autonomous warfare this week, there was a bit of news that emerged that didn't hit the headlines. Read More

Another Obama 2012 Staffer Joins Bully Pulpit Interactive As Chief Operating Officer

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 9 2013

Kate Kochman, Obama 2012's deputy director of paid media, has joined the digital marketing and advertising agency Bully Pulpit Interactive as its chief operating officer. BPI's President Andrew made the announcement to ... Read More

Organizing For Action Doubles Down On Push For Gun Control

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 9 2013

Dozens of volunteers for President Obama's advocacy group Organizing for Action on Thursday delivered the 1.4 million signatures that they gathered over the past 10 days to the leaders of the House. Kelly Byrne, OFA's ... Read More

A New Home for Data on Politics and State Governments

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, May 7 2013

Over the weekend, as journalists, activist and government workers descended on George Washington University for the Sunlight Foundation's Transparency Camp event in Washington D.C., the group unveiled its new data services portal, which is meant to better showcase and encourage projects built around its APIs. "We want to demonstrate the power and importance of these APIs in open government work," said Liz Bartolomeo, Sunlight's media director. Read More

FWD.us Unwelcome at Netroots Nation, Says Conference Head

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, May 3 2013

FWD.us, the Silicon Valley advocacy organization now focused on immigration form, is at least nominally pursuing a grassroots strategy. But it won't be welcome at one of this year's biggest and most influential grassroots political gatherings, Netroots Nation — even though the event will be in the heart of Silicon Valley. Read More

Republican National Committee Outlines New Voter Data Sharing Strategy

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, May 1 2013

The Republican National Committee on Wednesday said that Liberty Works, the new Silicon Valley group formed by private equity investor Dick Boyce and supported by Karl Rove, is going to build the new data-sharing ... Read More

News Briefs

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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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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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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

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