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Public Lab Builds Environmental Monitoring Community, Online and Off

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, August 19 2014

Balloon photo of Gowanus grossness by Eymund Diegel Public Lab

Environmental monitoring can be expensive and difficult but tech is changing how we relate to the environment. Until recently, the mechanics of political influence in America created a segment of environmental activism that isn’t always about connecting people to the environment. But as smart phones have gotten into more hands, and more people get connected online, environmental activism has started to shift, or grow, as well. Read More

HandUp Chips Away at Homelessness

BY Sam Roudman | Monday, June 30 2014

A cross section of people trying to raise money with HandUp.

Poverty is a social problem, but can it benefit from a business solution? According to HandUp, a San Francisco startup that teams with service organizations to channel donations directly towards those in need, the answer is yes. Co-founder and CEO Rose Broome started thinking about the issue a year and a half ago, after coming across a woman sleeping in the streets of San Francisco on a cold evening. Read More

Urban Reviewer Maps New York's Forgotten Master Plans

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, June 19 2014

Cities are capable of forgetting just like people are. Take the city of New York, where for decades vacant lots created through destructive, federally funded Urban Renewal Plans sat unused, despite being earmarked for ... Read More

Muckrock Looks to Track the Trackers

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, June 12 2014

Majestic cellphone tower. Credit: Raymond Shobe, Flickr

Police have the ability to trace you from your cellphone, track you from your social media activity, and even collect or buy data on where you've been driving. But the degree of surveillance –knowledge of which police ... Read More

Towards More Effective Civic Innovation with Anthea Watson Strong

BY Sam Roudman | Monday, June 9 2014

Anthea Watson Strong at PDF. Credit: PDF Flickr

In a talk entitled “The Calculus of Civic Innovation,” Anthea Watson Strong discussed how tools for civic engagement might be made more effective. Read More

Defining the Sharing Economy, Dissecting its Merits

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, June 5 2014

What is the sharing economy? Today's PDF panel "Defining and Debating the Sharing Economy" yielded a broad spectrum of responses from its panelists. Very broad. Author Adam Greenfield said it didn't exist because true ... Read More

Adam Harvey Fashioning a Way Around Surveillance

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, June 5 2014

In 2010 when Adam Harvey began a project using fashion to sidestep facial recognition, the project wasn't always taken seriously. "I didn't think it was too far away from reality, but at that time privacy was not a ... Read More

Visions of the Sharing Economy Present and Future from NYU Conference

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, June 3 2014

An act of sharing unmediated by a P2P network. Credit: Ben Grey, Flickr

Friday's conference on the Collaborative, Peer and Sharing Economy (let's say CPSE for short, though CollaPSE is a tempting acronym) at NYU's Stern School of Business was an attempt to reckon with the so-called sharing economy, its potential and its contradictions. Everyone agreed that peer-to-peer networks are changing markets for lodging (Airbnb), transportation (Lyft and Uber), commerce (Etsy, Ebay), and potentially other parts of the economy like finance, and healthcare. Views over the extent of this change differed as panelists explored the new economy's potential as a business, its fraught relationship with regulators, and its capacity to transform society. Largely moderated by NYU Stern professor and sharing economy booster Arun Sundararajan, the conference provided an opportunity to see what those working within, or at least dealing with (as in the case of regulators) the CPSE thought of their own work. Although many speakers took the transformative potential of the CPSE as more of an article of faith than evidence, on the whole, the conference provided insights into how the economy might work, and the impact it might have. Here are a few highlights: Read More

Uber Drivers Organize Themselves in Seattle, Other Drivers Look to Do Same

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, May 27 2014

Seattle. Credit: Bala Sivakumar, Flickr.

About 9 months ago, Daniel Ajema, a 33-year-old law student moonlighting as a driver for Uber, ran into a fellow driver in a gas station parking lot. The man had just been fired for getting poor ratings from passengers. But as a private contractor, like every other driver for the app based transportation network, he had no recourse to the company. What could he do? Two Sundays ago, a couple hundred Uber drivers provided an answer, by forming a labor group with the help of the local Teamsters union, called the App-Based Drivers Association. The group won’t have the full powers of a union, for instance leadership can’t vote to make its entire membership strike. But with about a third of Seattle drivers signed on, the group hopes to use its leverage to advocate for greater transparency and responsiveness from the $12 billion company. Read More

Airbnb Gives Up New York Data, Won't Give Up Regulatory Fight

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, May 22 2014

Just over a week ago, Airbnb public policy honcho David Hantman wrote a note to users titled "Good News In New York." A wide reaching request for user data in New York by the attorney general had been defeated. "This is a great victory for our community," wrote Hantman. Over a week later, the victory is over. While Airbnb loses for now, the company and its opponents are readying for a larger battle about the New York law that regulates short term rentals. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

First POST: Creeping

Senator Al Franken's tough questions for Uber's CEO; how the NSA could make its phone metadata program permanent; global privacy groups launch a personal spyware catcher called Detekt; and much, much more. GO

Recreation.gov and other Govt Projects Move Toward Embracing New Digital Approach

A draft request for proposals for the revamping of Recreation.gov will include a requirement that reservation availability data be publicly accessible and that all proposals detail how they will enable third-party sales, as two members of the United States Digital Services have joined the government team overseeing the RFP, meeting some key demands of civic technologists and consumer oriented technology companies. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Ubermenschens

Surge-pricing in effect for Uber privacy violations; why "privacy" policies should be called "data usage" policies; pols silent on Uber mess; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Uber Falles

Uber exposed for plan to dig up dirt on journalist critics; sneaking a SOPA provision into the USA Freedom Act; high-speed free WiFi coming to NYC; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Differences

How to use Twitter to circumvent campaign coordination rules; the net neutrality debate keeps getting hotter; charting the gender balance at dataviz conference using dataviz; and much, much more. GO

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