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Ready to Launch, A New Platform to Ask Elected Officials Anything

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 7 2014

Last week, the White House made something of a splash with its Big Block of Cheese Day, encouraging internet users to ask members of the Obama administration and the White House staff questions on social media. A new platform officially launching Monday hopes to provide voters with the opportunity to pose questions to elected officials and other prominent figures every day of the year, in some ways echoing an ongoing Ask Me Anything concept. Read More

For Democrats, Imitation Not Exactly a Form of Flattery

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, February 5 2014

Democrats created a website mocking republicans' attempt at an in-house tech incubator (screenshot)

Democratic organizers are not impressed with a new Republican National Committee effort to catch up with the Democratic data advantage. They have responded to the Republican's new in-house technology incubator called Para Bellum Labs with a parody website at a similar web address. Read More

Obama Virtual Road Trip Touches on Net Neutrality, Euromaidan, Surveillance, Economy and Obamacare

BY Miranda Neubauer | Saturday, February 1 2014

In a virtual "road trip," or series of Google hangouts across the United States, President Obama participated in Friday, he at one point answered a question about how he viewed the democracy protests in the Ukraine. But his answer said as much about the mindset behind the online post-State-of-the Union Q & A session as it did about the protesters in the Ukraine. Read More

After Snowden, Columbia J-School Panel Sees Renewed Need for Legal Framework Protecting Journalists

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, January 31 2014

The editors of the Guardian's U.S. edition and the New York Times, a First Amendment lawyer and a member of the Obama-appointed surveillance review panel called for a renewed legal framework to protect the privacy and security interests of journalists in the wake of the unprecedented surveillance revelations from Edward Snowden at a panel at Columbia University Thursday night. Noting varying degrees of government pressure on both sides of the Atlantic, Guardian U.S. editor Janine Gibson and New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson stressed that respecting the right of news organizations to report on sensitive materials was in the government's interest as well, since otherwise the material would simply find its way out in a completely haphazard way without regard for any journalistic responsibility, which was also the outcome Edward Snowden hoped to avoid. Read More

With Online Public Engagement, White House Follows West Wing Playbook

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, January 30 2014

Science and Technology Adviser John Holdren (Twitter/OSTP)

On The West Wing, on the day known as Big Block of Cheese Day, White House staffers met with advocates for more White House attention on UFOs, supporters of a wolves-only highway and map makers for social equality. As Chief of Staff Leo McGarry, played by John Spencer, explained in the episodes, the inspiration for the tradition that he brought to the Bartlet White House came from President Andrew Jackson, who received a 1,400 pound block of cheese as a gift from a New York dairy farmer, left it in the White House entrance hall two age for two years, and then invited the public to come and eat it. Read More

For Presidential Election Commission, Long Lines at Polls Are a Technology and Data Problem

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, January 29 2014

Election Resource Calculator

In his State of the Union speech last night, President Obama praised the work of his bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration, emphasizing that it "has offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote." On Election Night 2012, noting that many had "waited in line for a very long time," he emphasized "we have to fix that." With its report published last week, the commission outlines how the widespread ground-level adoption of new innovative election technology is directly tied to shorter lines at the polls. Read More

NYC Tech Group Seizes on de Blasio Agenda with Call for Traffic Accident Data

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, January 22 2014

(Transportation Alternatives)

For the New York City technology community, it is time for better traffic data to help prevent some of the unintended dangerous traffic problems in New York City. BetaNYC, New York City's Code for America brigade, is embracing the prospect of change under the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio by seizing on his agenda priority to prevent pedestrian fatalities to renew its call for the city and the NYPD to release traffic data in a more usable format. Read More

Obama Confronts German NSA Skepticism in TV Interview But Doubts Remain

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, January 21 2014

Obama tells Claus Kleber, no point in having intelligence if you're restricted to reading media reports (credit: Screenshot/ZDF)

President Obama directly confronted some of the significant skepticism toward U.S. surveillance among the German public in an exclusive interview with German public broadcaster ZDF following his speech Friday. Beyond emphasizing the importance of restoring a trust in German-U.S. relations and dispelling worries about surveillance of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the interview's back-and-forth also prompted Obama to spell out the necessary balance he sees between U.S. responsibilities as a country with the most advanced capabilities and inevitable innovation in the area of digital surveillance. German reaction to the interview and the speech was muted, with many German news commentators expressing concern that Obama's vision is in effect a new world order upending established concepts of privacy, rule of law and limited surveillance. Read More

Voting Information Project Automation Effort Draws on State Innovation

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, January 17 2014

The Voting Information Project announced this week it would be providing general election data for all fifty states and Washington D.C and primary election data in selected states this year, as it works on automating the process in the future. Read More

WeGov

Need a Journalist? In Germany, There's an App for That

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, January 14 2014

Call a Journalist app (Cross & Lecker/Facebook)

Over the past weeks, the city of Hamburg in Germany was caught up in ongoing occasionally violent standoffs and demonstrations between left-wing protestors and the police over development plans in several poorer neighborhoods that have historically been centers for the city's counterculture, as the Atlantic Cities recently outlined. Read More