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For Obamacare Supporters on Social Media, Success Stories Outweigh Website Glitches

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, November 19 2013

While new polling suggests President Obama is at the lowest popularity rating of his presidency due to the problems with the healthcare program roll-out and media attention has focused on the website's flaws, a group of grassroots supporters of the healthcare law are determined to spread Obamacare sign-up "success stories" through social media. Read More

White House Highlights Big Data Partnerships

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, November 13 2013

Climate data for the Cloud (NASA)

The White House Tuesday highlighted several new and recent partnerships and collaborations focused on data in the areas of urban policy, development, science, health and research to further the goals set by the Big Data Research and Development Initiative in 2012. Read More

German History Students Mark Kristallnacht With Real-Time Twitter Project

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, November 11 2013

"The Stuttgart Synagogue burns amidst jubilation from the surrounding crowd." "Cafe-owner Marcus is found dead in Düsseldorf; his tavern was completely destroyed overnight, he was shot." Those are not the kind of Twitter posts you might generally expect to see in your Twitter feed. For several years now, special commemorative pavement stones commemorate Holocaust victims by their last place of residence in many German and European cities through a project called "Stumbling Blocks" (Stolpersteine). This year, a group of German historians have been marking the 75th commemoration of Kristallnacht and the November pogroms that followed with a realtime-tweeting project to raise awareness of the historical events in Twitter feeds. Read More

Going Beyond the Boundaries of the Obama Digital Model in Virginia

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, November 11 2013

(McAuliffe Campaign/Facebook)

A key element in the Democratic win in Virginia this week was the ability to adapt Obama campaign capabilities to integrate historic voter file data and recent data from field organizers and partner groups with analytics capabilities to develop targeting models, representatives from NGP VAN, Blue Labs and the Virginia Democratic Party said in a press call Friday. Read More

Bully Pulpit Interactive and NGP VAN Help Shape Democratic Victories

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, November 6 2013

NYC Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio meets with outgoing Mayor Bloomberg (NYC Mayor's Office/Flickr)

Yesterday's state and local elections kept a number of major Democratic and Republican political technology vendors busy, and some of them are taking a victory lap today. Miranda Neubauer covers the horizon. Read More

WeGov

New Report Highlights Successes and Challenges of Worldwide Open Data Policies

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, October 31 2013

David Cameron addressing the OGP summit (10 Downing Street/Facebook)

A new study of 77 countries from the World Wide Web Foundation and Open Data Institute indicates that while 55 percent of countries have open data initiatives in place, less than 10 percent of key government datasets around the world are in fact easily accessible to the public. Read More

Knight Funding Brings Open Data Institute Model to U.S.

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, October 29 2013

The U.K.-based Open Data Institute is coming to the U.S. with a $250,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. With the funding, open government technologist Waldo Jaquith will work to replicate the model of the ODI, which Sir Tim Berners-Lee co-founded last year to provide guidance on how to maximize the value of government open data by providing training and educational resources, conducting research, helping to certify open data releases, launching a challenge series and providing consultation responses to government policy proposals. Read More

Union Supporting De Blasio Focuses on Online Advertising

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, October 25 2013

A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that an independent conservative group supporting Republican Joe Lhota for New York City Mayor can accept unlimited donations because New York State's limit on donations to independent political committees is likely unconstitutional, as the New York Times reports. But so far, with the general election a little over a week away, a majority of the independent expenditure spending in the mayoral race has gone towards online ads in support of Democrat Bill De Blasio. But so far, with the general election a little over a week away, a majority of the independent expenditure spending for the general election has gone towards online ads in support of Democrat Bill De Blasio. Read More

Sublime to Absurd: The HealthCare.gov Debate, From Procurement Reform to Cats and Jon Stewart

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, October 23 2013

Many commentators in the past few days have criticized the media coverage of Healthcare.gov's launch problems, highlighting what they see as a lack of technical understanding. Meanwhile, the issue has sparked a complex, passionate discussion among some experts on Twitter debating the root of the problems, comparisons with the Obama campaign's Narwhal system, the difference between campaign and government technology, the inherent flaws in the procurement process and how to improve government technology. Three of the key figures in the ongoing Twitter debate, storified below, over the past few days were Clay Johnson, technologist, founder of Blue State Digital and a 2012 Presidential Innovation Fellow, writer and consultant Clay Shirky, and Harper Reed, CTO of Obama's 2012 election campaign. While among them and others the discussion has been a wonky, almost philosophical conversation about the role of technology and government, rooted in their experiences, Rep. Darrell Issa Wednesday opted for a more sensational approach when he decided to cite Johnson's Oct. 7 blog post calling the contractors "sloppy" to create "8 Cats Who Called 1-800-ObamaCare but Still Couldn’t Get Healthcare." Read More

Bloomberg's Final Digital Roadmap Sets Stage for Successor

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, October 21 2013

Bloomberg discussing innovation in cities on Oct. 7 (Mayor's Office/Flickr)

New York City officials envision a future where a social media analytics platform, and crowdsourcing, could help provide early warnings of emergencies; where free WiFi could emanate from buildings and street furniture; where public housing residents would have free Internet access; where the "sharing economy" is able to flourish; where New Yorkers could complain to 311 about their Internet service, have a personalized online account to access city services and where developers would have access to more APIS. These are some of the ideas outlined in a report released by the Bloomberg administration and compiled based on feedback from New Yorkers through listening sessions held in the five boroughs and on social media. 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.

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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.

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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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