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How Much Did Anonymous Really Get From Congressional Staffers?

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, July 23 2013

A recent release of email address and password combinations apparently used by congressional staffers to manage mass emails to constituents raises concerns about security, but likely won't lead to much change in the use of third-party services by members of Congress, according to Brad Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation. People claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous announced last week that they had obtained and released emails and passwords for 2,000 congressional staffers in a move designed to attract attention to their displeasure over online surveillance by the National Security Agency. But the passwords were not paired up with email address when they were released, rendering them of less use to actually breach security, and The Hill reports that they appeared to be login information for the widely used iConstituent email newsletter service. Read More

With Kickstarter Funding, FOIA Machine Wants to Help Fix Public Records

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, July 19 2013

(Kickstarter)

FOIA Machine, a platform that aims to streamline the process of tracking of filing and tracking public record requests, has raised more than $29,000 on Kickstarter — exceeding its funding goal by more than $10,000. Read More

What If Writing State Legislation Worked Like Writing Open-Source Code?

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, July 11 2013

The OpenGov Foundation is receiving $200,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help bring a crowdsourcing platform for comments on legislation to state and local legislatures. Read More

German Lawmakers Have a New Platform For Their Policies — SimCity

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, July 11 2013

(Facebook/SimCity)

Three German lawmakers may differ when it comes to policy positions, but all of them enjoy computer games. In the run-up to the German national election in September, Electronic Arts has arranged for three German members of the Bundestag to play the German edition of SimCity and will feature their progress online over four weeks. Read More

Looking to Tech for Help With Life After the Voting Rights Act

BY Nick Judd and Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, July 10 2013

(Jesse Kriss/Speakerdeck)

With a key section of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court, some states, cities and counties might have new election laws and rapid voting policy changes to look forward to. These are exactly the kind of things that created some of the confusion that beleaguered the 2012 election. In 2012, though, activists were able to clear the fog for some voters by getting them the information they needed online and through SMS. Now, they're looking to the tech tools of last year as they plan for the future. Read More

What Electronic Surveillance Would Mean in James Comey's FBI

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, July 9 2013

At his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing today, nominee for director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation James Comey said that the collection of metadata is an important tool for counterterrorism efforts, but suggested that a different standard applied to the content of communications. The secret court that authorizes counterterorrism surveillance, he said, is "anything but a rubber stamp." Read More

Knight Moves Beyond Experimentation with Open Gov News Challenge Winners

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, June 25 2013

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has awarded more than $3.2 million to eight Open Government projects has part of the Knight News Challenge, including tools that would make courts more accessible and the procurement process more user friendly. Six additional projects received funding through the Knight Prototype Fund, which awards up to $50,000 for projects to go from an idea to a demo stage. Read More

Online Petitioners Call for White House to "Pardon" Edward Snowden

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, June 24 2013

A We the People petition to pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has reached the 100,000 signature threshold needed for a White House response, but for at least one group of Snowden supporters that petition might be one step too far at the moment. "We don't think he should be charged," said Zaid Jilani, an investigative blogger and campaigner for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which has been raising money for a possible Snowden legal defense fund. "You can't pardon anyone until they've been convicted. Maybe that petition is a little premature." Read More

Internet Policy Experts Call for More Oversight of Surveillance

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, June 21 2013

A group of Internet policy and privacy experts urged Congress to take a more active role in ensuring oversight and transparency of government surveillance efforts as they explored the mechanics of those programs, how they aid law enforcement and how they impact the privacy of every-day Americans at a panel geared towards Congressional staff. Read More

Lofgren and Wyden introduce "Aaron's Law"

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, June 20 2013

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) announced in a Wired piece Thursday that they are introducing House and Senate legislation called Aaron's Law to reform the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act - the law under which late Internet activist Aaron Swartz faced multiple felony charges and the possibility of up to 35 years in prison for downloading around 5 million JSTOR articles without authorization. Read More

News Briefs

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First POST: Brewing

How Democratic tech firms are jockeying for 2016 presidential roles; the FEC inches back into regulating the Internet; why Tumblr is a social justice movement hotbed; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: MonopSony

Debating whether the Sony hack is a national security issue; living in the Age of Outrage; how Black Twitter is changing the civil rights scene; and much, much more. GO

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First POST: Company

The global "Snowden effect" is huge; how many consumer-facing online services fail the user privacy test; the Dems' 2016 digital to-do list; and much, much more. GO

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