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First POST: Moving On

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, December 4 2012

Photo: Pete Souza / The White House

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: MoveOn's new direction; the Pope's Twitter plans; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

The President Doesn't Always Tweet, but When He Does ...

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, December 3 2012

Photo: Pete Souza / White House

President Barack Obama spent a little over 40 minutes on Twitter this afternoon answering questions about extending middle class tax cuts. He took eight questions from Twitter users, including a self-described liberal atheist with purple hair in her profile picture and a former soldier. Here are the people who the White House reached on Twitter today. Read More

First POST: Back Online

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, December 3 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Syria's Internet access appears to have been restored; Obama supporters continue to use the president's campaign email list; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

Hashtags and Robots.txt: How German Parliament Debates Internet Policy

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, November 30 2012

The German Parliament on Thursday held its first debate about a government-proposed law that could force search engines and other online news aggregators to pay a license fee to news publishers for displaying snippets of online news articles.

During this first round of debate, scheduled Thursday at 10:40 p.m., Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration and its allies defended the law as harmless to freedom of expression and a necessary step to regulate an increasingly vital Internet. Opponents questioned the unforeseen consequences that might result and criticized the coalition government's record on Internet policy, joining Google and some allies who have sought in recent weeks to build public opposition to the law.

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First POST: "Hey," Redux

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, November 30 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Quantifying the usefulness of the "Hey" email subject line; anger mounts among Republicans over how much money consultants made on the Mitt Romney campaign versus how many missteps the campaign reportedly made; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

First POST: Hashtags

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, November 29 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The White House's new aggressive use of the web to support its policies; Obama for America reports back about a supporter survey; how a Google lobbying push might have German lawmakers on the defensive; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

It's Like Snopes For Your Inbox

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, November 28 2012

A group of developers have created a tool that uses information from Politifact and to highlight red flags for forwarded e-mails that contain misinformation. The tool, LazyTruth, is currently only available as a Chrome extension for Gmail, although the developers say they are interested in expanding to other email providers and browsers. Read More

First POST: Retrospectives

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, November 28 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Top Republican digital strategists plan to analyze the election aftermath; Rep. Darrell Issa goes to Reddit looking for a conversation about Internet regulations; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More


With "Betatext," German Green Party Tries Out Open-Source Politics

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, November 27 2012


As Germany gears up for its parliamentary elections in fall 2013, the parliamentary group of the German Green Party has released a tool called betatext to allow supporters to comment on position papers, motions or legislative drafts. "While others only talk about more participation and transparency in the political process -- we implement it," the parliamentary group states. Users of the tool can also see other people's comments and rate them. Read More

First POST: Bad Bet

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, November 27 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Court action on the right to record law enforcement officials; movement at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; no more political bets for Americans on the prediction markets of Intrade; and more in today's roundup of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

Civic Hackers Call on de Blasio to Fill Technology Vacancies

New York City technology advocates on Wednesday called on the de Blasio administration to fill vacancies in top technology policy positions, expressing some frustration at the lack of a leadership team to implement a cohesive technology strategy for the city. GO

China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.


wednesday >

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

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. 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.


tuesday > Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like 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 is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and And strangely enough, seems to want its early users to ask 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.


monday >

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.


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.