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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

Oakland City Council Passes Open Data Policy

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, October 17 2013

The Oakland City Council Tuesday unanimously passed legislation requiring Oakland to adopt an Open Data Policy with the goal of making city data publically accessible in machine-readable format. Read More

Democracy.com Hopes to Level Campaign Playing Field With Social Network For Politics

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, October 15 2013

Most candidates for political office in America, especially local offices, don't have a website. Democracy.com is a new start-up that is hoping to build a robust political social network by focusing on meeting the basic technology needs of those candidates, Miranda Neubauer reports. Read More

Coders Try Debugging Shutdown and Constitution on GitHub

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, October 9 2013

Could the answer to the government shutdown be debugging the Constitution? That's the solution several coders and developers are jokingly suggesting on a GitHub thread. Read More

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

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wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

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The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

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tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

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Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

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monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

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