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How Politicians Are Using Vine, Twitter's New Video Service

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, February 27 2013

Freshman Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) is using new Twitter video application Vine to give his constituents a behind-the-scenes look at his work in the House. He's one of a handful of politicians who are testing out the service. Read More

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A Russian Meteor, Press Freedom, and the "New Westphalian Web"

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, February 26 2013

When a meteor appeared over the Chelyabinsk region of Russia, it did more than shatter windows and turn heads. The blast — and videos of the meteor taken by the many Russians who carry cameras as protection against more pedestrian hazards like car accidents or corrupt public officials — also rained shrapnel over the debate around music, TV and movie intellectual property in the digital age, linking it once again with questions about what press freedom means in what many think is, or should be, a borderless Internet. Read More

Is New York City The Best Place In the World For Open Data? We Find Out March 7

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 22 2013

City Council discretionary funding, 2009-2013, built on city data. Source: Gothamist

Last year, the New York City Council passed a bill touted as a groundbreaking step forward for open data that would make New York a leader among 21st-century cities. On March 7, city officials will have their first chance to show whether they're up to the challenge. Read More

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

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In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

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NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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