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WeGov

Top EU Candidates Express Support of European Data Privacy, Skepticism of U.S. Policies

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, May 22 2014

Martin Schulz and Jean-Claude Juncker listen to a question. (screenshot/ARD)

The two top candidates for the presidency of the European Commission both expressed strong support for European data privacy principles and skepticism of American government and corporate technology influence in a debate broadcast Tuesday evening on German public television ahead of the European elections that are underway from Thursday to Sunday. 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

First POST: Georemixing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 22 2014

Ethan Zuckerman on the global politics of YouTube georemixes; Facebook's flip-flop on user privacy; California's push to take "do not track" requests seriously; and much, much more. Read More

#PDF14 Preview: Featuring Heidi Sieck, of Democracy.com

BY Sonia Roubini | Thursday, May 22 2014

Heidi Sieck is the Chief Operating Officer of Democracy.com, the new social platform for politics, connecting candidates, political organizations and voters from national to local level. Heidi has a twenty-five year ... Read More

WeGov

How Much Influence Did Social Media Have On India's Election?

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, May 21 2014

Selfie + inked finger = "Fingie" (credit: @SirPareshRawal/Twitter)

India's 2014 election is being called a #TwitterElection because it is the largest democratic election in the world to date and so much of it took place online. While there seems to be a number of correlations between the online activities and victories of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which swept up 427 seats in India's Lok Sabha or lower parliament, and of Narendra Modi, India's new prime minister, just how much of their success can be attributed to their social media savviness? Read More

WeGov

What Martial Law in Thailand Means For Freedom of Speech

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 21 2014

Some of the "cute soldiers" on Twitter (Screenshot)

Thailand's military chief declared martial law across the country at 3 a.m. Tuesday, just two weeks after the Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was ousted from her post. Citizens seem to be taking the news in stride, taking pictures of and with the soldiers; there is even a Twitter hashtag that encourages people to post pictures of cute soldiers. However, soldiers have taken over TV and radio stations, and have asked social media sites for assistance censoring inflammatory posts.

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WeGov

Estonia's Online Voting System Is Not Secure, Researchers Say

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, May 21 2014

Personal computer used to build election client for distribution/Photo by Estoniaevoting.org (CC BY-SA 4.0)

“I gave my e-vote. This is not only convenient, but a vote of confidence to one of the best IT systems in the world, a vote of confidence to the Estonian State,” tweeted Toomas Hendrik Ilves , the president of ... Read More

WeGov

Facebook Rolls Out Voter Megaphone Internationally

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 21 2014

(Facebook)

Facebook is rolling out a revamped version of its "I'm a Voter" tool internationally after a successful test run in the recent Indian elections, beginning with the European Parliament elections that run from Thursday to ... Read More

Announcing the #PDF14 Google Fellows!

BY Sonia Roubini | Wednesday, May 21 2014

We’re now able to announce the 2014 set of Google fellows for Personal Democracy Forum 2014! This year, PDF and Google teamed up to offer registration and travel fellowships to fifteen women in civic technology. We looked specifically for women who are working to keep the Internet open, researching ways that the Internet makes democracy stronger, or some exciting combination of the two. We’re very pleased that our fifteen fellows will be joining us at #PDF14. See Google's post about the fellows here. Read More

First POST: Decay

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 21 2014

The USA Freedom Act surveillance reform bill is getting watered down; Data.gov's 5th anniversary is no cause for celebration; Iran cracks down on "Happy" YouTube video sharers; 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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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

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