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New York City's New "Code Corps," A Volunteer Force of Techies in Disaster Response

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, February 14 2013

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a new initiative called Code Corps in his State of the City address today, billed as the country's first municipal program that brings volunteer technologists to bear on city government's emergency and disaster recovery needs. Read More

Voting Reform is a Presidential Priority, But What Does That Really Mean?

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, February 14 2013

Progress on elections reform so far — even including President Barack Obama's announcement during the State of Union address that it would become a priority — has not inspired many to believe major change is on the horizon. But a cause that technologists have championed for years now — make voting easy — is now also a priority for the White House. TurboVote, a website built to help people register to vote, calls itself a "Netflix" for voting. Now the White House is talking as if it's looking to make that type of approach a federal standard. Read More

In Germany, Pursuit of Plagiarism Now Extends to Lawmakers Lifting Words from Lobbyists

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, February 12 2013

German freelance journalist, TV moderator and blogger Richard Gutjahr worked together with Open Data City, a team of journalistic open data designers, to create LobbyPlag, a platform that examines similarities between proposals by lobbyists and amendments to the General Data Protection Regulation proposed by EU Committee members. Read More

Obama to Do a "Hangout" After State of the Union

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, February 11 2013

President Barack Obama will participate in a Google Hangout this Thursday to discuss the State of the Union. His appearance follows recent discussions with Vice President Joe Biden, who spoke recently on gun policy and Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, who discussed immigration reform. Read More

New Yorkers Can Track Snowplows' Movements as "Nemo" Flies Overhead

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 8 2013

There is some disagreement on what to call the storm — some Twitter users favor #snowpacabra — but whether it's named after Captain Nemo or a mythical blood-sucking beast, New Yorkers will be able to track how city officials are doing cleaning up in its wake using an app from the city. Read More

"Peerblog," German Homage to American-Style Politics, Shuttered After DDoS Attacks

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, February 7 2013

The man behind a blog funded by anonymous business donors supporting German Social Democratic chancellor candidate Peer Steinbrück has permanently closed his site after several denial of service attacks, Der Spiegel reported today. Read More

In Germany, American-Style Dark Money Politics Means a Blog With Anonymous Backers

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, February 6 2013

When Americans today think of Citizens United, Super PACs and controversial outside spending, they might think of the Colbert Super PAC or TV ads that are financed by shady donors. But in Germany, things work a little different. A group of supporters of Peer Steinbrück, the Social Democratic candidate for chancellor, says they're bringing modern American "political communications" to the German elections — anonymous donors, independent expenditures ... and a blog. Read More

At House Hearing, Few Answers About the Future of Internet Governance

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, February 5 2013

An international conference on telecommunications held in Dubai in December has set the stage for a running political fight over control of the Internet, witnesses told members of the House of Representatives in a joint committee hearing on Tuesday. Read More

What the Internet Can Tell Us About Flu Season

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 1 2013

It's a little too soon to use search data to decide whether it's time to break out the hazmat suit. But Google data is becoming more and more useful to public health professionals — and someday soon, it might be a way to predict an outbreak long before other data becomes available to document the spread of disease. Read More

Hagel's Confirmation an Opportunity for the New Attack Ad: Promoted Tweets

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, January 31 2013

A curious promoted tweet released today invokes the Human Rights Campaign as it blasts Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel for his past positions on homosexuality — although the Human Rights Campaign didn't sponsor the tweet and Hagel is now seeking to present his positions as exactly opposite the ones the ad accuses him of taking. Read More

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Beyond @Congressedits, Capitol Hill Looks for Entry to Wikipedia

As he recently told techPresident, the creator of Congressedits did not aim to make Members of Congress look bad, but said he hoped that they would recognize the importance of Wikipedia as a public space and engage more with its community. "If staffers and politicians identified as Wikipedians, that would be super. You could imagine politicians' home pages with a list of their recent edits, that they would be proud of the things that they are doing." On Capitol Hill, there is in fact interest in making that vision a reality, starting off with an initial conversation that could create a framework for more Wikipedians in Congress. GO

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In the Philippines, Citizens Go Undercover With Bantay to Monitor Public Offices

The Philippines, a country of almost 100 million, is considered among the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia, despite a boost in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in the past few years (from 134th in 2010 to 94th in 2013 out of 175.) Corruption involves all levels of government, but benefits also from a mindset of tolerance, says Happy Feraren, the co-founder of Bantay.ph, an anti-corruption educational initiative that teaches citizens how to monitor the quality of government services, sometimes by going undercover. GO

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