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New York State Joins GitHub to Get Feedback on Open Data Policy

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, June 14 2013

New York is the first state to publish an initial draft of its open data guidelines on GitHub to seek feedback from the public, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a press release Thursday. Read More

Despite Software Problems, Civic Hackers are Pedaling Bike Share Data

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, June 13 2013

(NYCDOT/Flickr)

Reporters are shoaling around the news that New York City's new bike sharing system, Citi Bike, is benighted with problems stemming from its high-tech software. But that's not putting the brakes on plans to explore what programmers might do with data generated by the system by hosting a Citi Bike Civic Hack Night later this month. Read More

Companies and Internet Activists to Congress: Investigate Potential NSA Surveillance Overreach

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, June 11 2013

Over 80 advocacy organizations and Internet companies including Free Press and Mozilla have launched what they are calling a global petition to Congress calling for an inquiry into the scope and scale of reported government surveillance and reforms to the Patriot Act, the FISA Amendment Act and the state secrets privilege. Read More

WeGov

The Future of Development Includes a Data Revolution, UN Panel Says

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, June 10 2013

Grassroots data collection should play an increasing role to meet global development goals, according to a recently released United Nations report. Read More

Elections Officials Could Improve Voting With Better Tools, TurboVote and Reboot Find

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, June 7 2013

Kate Krontiris explains research results at PDF 2013. Photo: Esty Stein / Personal Democracy Forum

Many American election officials are already trying take make their own attempts to innovate election procedures, but lack the funding and access to technological know-how to effectively implement wider-spread change, according to new research by Reboot and Turbovote. Kate Krontiris, principal at Reboot, and Kathryn Peters, co-founder of TurboVote, presented the findings Friday at the Personal Democracy Forum. Read More

The New York City Comptroller Built a Fiscal Transparency Website, and Now It's Open Source

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, June 6 2013

Comptroller John Liu Photo: Esty Stein / Personal Democracy Media

The source code of New York City's Checkbook NYC platform is now available for other governments to download, modify and reuse, New York City Comptroller John Liu announced during Thursday's Personal Democracy Forum. Read More

Online Voter Registration Bill Passes in Illinois, But Funding's Yet to Come

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, June 5 2013

Illinois lawmakers this past week passed legislation that would establish online voter registration in the state, but then ended their session without voting to allocate funding to implement the system, the Pantagraph reported. Illinois State Board of Elections Rupert Borgsmiller said he and his staff members would now be taking on the challenge of figuring out how they could work on mounting the system without the funding, the newspaper reported. Read More

House Republicans' "Citizen Cosponsor" Lets Anyone Support Any Bill Before the House

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, June 4 2013

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced today a relaunch of the Citizen Cosponsor project, which allows members of the public to express support for House legislation online. The new version includes all legislation introduced in the House by both Republicans and Democrats and exists on its own domain. Read More

No "Big Yellow Ducks" on Chinese Microblogs for Tiananmen Square Anniversary

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, June 4 2013

Weibo via @RichardBuangan

Chinese microblogging platform Weibo has banned searches for "big yellow duck" after online activists posted doctored images of the famous Tiananmen Square "Tank Man" photo, replacing the tanks with a row of yellow ducks like the one currently in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor, the Wall Street Journal reported. Read More

WeGov

Protests in Turkey: Lies, Damn Lies, and Social Media

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, June 3 2013

Mapping tweets around Istanbul. Source: NYU SMaPP

If Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to be believed, ongoing protests in Istanbul are thanks in no small part to lies and exaggerations spreading online. "There is now a menace which is called Twitter," Erdogan said on TV, according to the Guardian. "The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society." While some have suggested that Erdogan has cracked down on Internet access in response, there's no evidence his government has limited connectivity. In fact, initial research suggests that the Turkish protests have spawned a record number of Tweets compared with other protests, spreading not just real-time information about protests, but encouraging others to participate. The uncomfortable truth is that while it's unsurprising to hear a government official denouncing his detractors as misinformed or dishonest, Erdogan isn't entirely wrong. Unverified and in some cases clearly inaccurate information about the protests is spreading fast, and in some cases too rapidly for reliable information to counteract. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

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

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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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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