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WeGov

The Trolls on Putin's Payroll

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, June 3 2014

Self-explanatory (Wikipedia)

“If it looks like Kremlin shit, smells like Kremlin shit, and tastes like Kremlin shit too — then it’s Kremlin shit,” says Moscow-based writer and columnist Leonid Bershidsky, about Internet trolls-for-hire who have been paid to post laudatory comments about Putin and Russia on English-language news articles. Buzzfeed's Max Seddon reports on the leaks that reveal Russia's offensive strategy to win friends and influence people abroad.

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First POST: Power Shifts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, June 3 2014

#ResetTheNet starts to gain momentum; how Facebook could tilt an election; #BringBackOurGirls gets banned in Nigeria; and much, much more. 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

WeGov

Weekly Readings: Out-Innovated

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, June 2 2014

China goes all out to block Google; online outrage against violence against women in both China and India; Russia's newfound allergy to digital currency; is Africa out-innovating Silicon Valley?; and much more. Read More

First POST: Saving Face

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, June 2 2014

The NSA's facial recognition data collection program; why to keep an eye on the Email Privacy Act; Zephyr Teachout and her battle with NY Governor Andrew Cuomo; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Face Off in Chile: Net Neutrality v. Human Right to Facebook & Wikipedia

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, June 2 2014

Photo: Wikipedia

Is Internet access a human right, as important as access to education, healthcare and housing? Mark Zuckerberg thinks so, and it inspired him to launch internet.org, an initiative to connect “the next five billion.” So does the United Nations, which declared Internet access a human right in 2011, one that should not be denied even in times of conflict as a means of quelling unrest. And yet the latest blow to cheap and easy access to the Internet (and by the Internet we mean Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia) comes not from an authoritarian state cracking down on an unruly population, but from a government playing by the rules of net neutrality.

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Not All Bold-Faced Names in Silicon Valley Support Ro Khanna. Here's Why.

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, June 2 2014

Investor Andy Rappaport, in the blue office shirt, beard and glasses, held a fundraiser for Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) last week

Andy Rappaport, a Bay Area financier and technologist, is bucking the trend among the well-heeled and backing Silicon Valley incumbent Democrat Rep. Mike Honda. Here he explains why. Read More

WeGov

Amidst "Apocalyptic" Floods, People of the Balkans Use Facebook for Relief and Rescue

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 30 2014

One of the many photos flagged as fake.

The floods that have ravaged the Balkans this month have been called “apocalyptic” and the resulting damage, officials say, is likely worse than the damage incurred during the three year conflict between Bosniaks, Serbs and Croats in the 1990s. At least 74 people died because of the flooding and nearly 900,000 were forced from their homes. The governments in Serbia and Bosnia, as well as foreign media, have been criticized for failing victims and the region as a whole. Meanwhile, social media, and Facebook in particular, has been heralded as a tool for “information-sharing, social activism, voluntary work, and even a watchdog mechanism.”

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WeGov

How Do They Do It? International Mentors Share Tactics at the engine room SkillShare

BY the engine room | Friday, May 30 2014

Photo CC BY 2.0 by C!…

Last week we held an online skillshare on how to successfully manage a mentorship process. The focus was on tactics and experiences supporting advocacy organizations who are exploring how to use technology and data in their work. We were lucky to have four experienced mentors, and the expertise and interest of K-Monitor who is in the process of setting up a mentorship program with 10 NGOs in Hungary.

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First POST: Rumblings

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, May 30 2014

Edward Snowden and the NSA duke it out; Google pushed for improvements in the USA Freedom Act; tech moguls come out as backers of Lawrence Lessig's SuperPAC; and much, much more Read More

News Briefs

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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