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What Tech Can and Can't Do to Eradicate Ebola

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, October 20 2014

Open Street Map assists WHO and MSF in Sierra Leone (Screenshot)

Over the weekend, a group of technologists met in New York City to discuss the limits and potential uses of data in combatting the spread of Ebola in West Africa. Read More

WeGov

FireChat Wasn’t Meant For Protests. Here’s How It Worked (Or Didn’t) at Occupy Central

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, October 10 2014

Occupy Central is also known as the Umbrella Movement (hurtingbombz/flickr)

On September 28, the third day of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests known as Occupy Central, one of the movement’s leaders, 17-year-old Joshua Wong, posted a message on Facebook to fellow protestors asking them to download an app called FireChat in case the government decided to shut down phone and wifi connections. A week later, even though the government had not cut off connectivity, downloads had more than quadrupled at 450,000. But so far, there's been little reporting on whether FireChat actually enables useful communications among protesters. Read More

WeGov

[Op-Ed] Policing With Consent Would Require Throwing Away Our Freedoms

BY Guðjón Idir | Wednesday, October 8 2014

Keith Bristow, Director of the UK's National Crime Agency, asks the public to agree to more surveillance (Chatham House/flickr)

Guðjón Idir, the Executive Director of the Icelandic Modern Media Institute, explains why the UK's request for "policing with consent" demands trading in our freedoms. Read More

WeGov

[Op-Ed] Like Island, Like Party: How Kim Dotcom's Internet Party Resonates In Iceland

BY Birgitta Jonsdottir | Monday, October 6 2014

The Internet Party has a simple but grand agenda.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, a Representative of the Pirate Party in Iceland, writes in with her thoughts on Kim Dotcom's Internet Party and its recent loss in the parliamentary elections in New Zealand. Read More

The Dangers of Off-Grid Social Networking in Hong Kong and Beyond

BY Sascha Meinrath | Thursday, October 2 2014

FireChat doesn't need the Internet but it is most certainly not risk-free (Melies The Bunny/flickr)

Sascha Meinrath, who has been dubbed the "community Internet pioneer," provides a list of reasons why off-grid tools like FireChat need to be used with a dose of caution. Read More

WeGov

Occupy Central and China's Policy of Give and Take

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, September 30 2014

The movement has inspired a variety of Internet logos (Top: Angelo Costadimas | Left: Sam Inglis | Right: Tania Willis)

Since exploding on the international stage on Friday, the ongoing pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong known as Occupy Central has galvanized up to 80,000 people by some estimates and has made enough noise to capture attention and support from those as far away as Los Angeles, London, Paris and Perth. But inside mainland China, except for a few folks who shaved their heads to show solidarity, people there have remained noticeably quiet. The government's diligent censorship of Occupy Central coverage in China can explain part of the silence but not all of it.

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In Detroit Water Project, Tech-Driven Philanthropy Takes Off Without Touching Down

BY Denise Cheng | Friday, September 19 2014

Disaster images like this one of Michigan Central Station has led to outpourings of offers to "fix" Detroit (Thomas Hawk/flickr)

Denise Cheng, an independent researcher affiliated with MIT's MIT Center for Civic Media, was surprised to learn that new philanthropy organizations like the Direct Water Project operate remotely. She explores the ins and outs of a new breed of tech-driven, direct philanthropy. Read More

WeGov

Can Technology Help Swing Scotland’s Referendum Towards Yes?

BY Jon Worth | Wednesday, September 17 2014

Lady Alba for Yes versus PatronisingBTLady for No (screenshots)

Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom since 1707 and the old cultural ties to the rest of the British Isles are one of the main arguments made against independence in tomorrow's referendum vote. Yet if the Yes to independence side is to succeed – the polls narrowed in the final month of the campaign to within a couple of percent after a sudden surge in support for independence – it will be something much more modern that will win the day: the use of online technology in a top-down data driven manner and networked grassroots way.

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A Competition to Make the City More Resilient

BY Susan Crawford | Tuesday, September 2 2014

New York City meets Hurricane Sandy (credit: John Chandler/flickr)

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York nearly two years ago, it left devastation in its wake. Homes and livelihoods were lost, and the storm caused $19 billion in estimated damage. Small businesses were particularly hard hit. ... Read More

WeGov

In China, Local Governments Play Whac-a-Mole With Taxi Apps

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, August 29 2014

Beijing yellow cabs from the 1980s (credit: This is Beijing!)

It seems these days that car-hailing apps exist only to give cities grief. In New York, car sharing start-ups like Lyft ignore labor, safety insurance laws and in China, the situation is no different except in one regard: taxi hailing apps in China are proliferating at a faster rate than in the U.S. In China, however, the taxi system is very much in its infancy and local Chinese governments are struggling to control the proliferation of new apps that flout the law. Read More