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A Man, an Icon, a Message: Milton Glaser v. Climate Change Skeptics

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, August 6 2014

Screenshot itsnotwarming.com

Can an icon save us from catastrophic climate change? That is the hope behind a new campaign launched last month by Milton Glaser, the designer who created the “I (heart) NY” logo. The campaign seeks to derail the current climate change “debate” in favor of a stronger message: “It's not warming it's dying.” To accompany that message, Glaser created a starkly simple icon of a green circle nearly entirely eclipsed by a black shadow.

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First POST: Differentiation

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, August 6 2014

A second national security leaker surfaces; Russian criminals amass a horde of passwords and email addresses; President Obama contradicts his FCC chair on net neutrality; Snoop Lion and the New York Times editorial board have an online party; and much, much more. Read More

The Day Obama's Facebook Page Went Down, and Other Campaign Security Lessons From 2012

BY Sonia Roubini | Tuesday, August 5 2014

In Fall 2011, during the Obama 2012 campaign, the Barack Obama Facebook page with 34 million "likes" disappeared. Visitors to Facebook.com/BarackObama were automatically directed back to the Facebook homepage, and online searches for the page came up blank. Recalling the incident, Laura Olin, the campaign’s social media manager recently told techPresident that before it happened, she had considered “the possibility of someone hacking accounts and posting inappropriate things, but not the page disappearing altogether." She added, "Facebook said that the problem was internal, but it wasn't clear if someone had disappeared the page intentionally or if it had been a mistake.” As we head into the heat of the 2014 midterm elections, and with 2016’s national campaigns beginning to coalesce, the problem of cyber-security for online political campaigns is just simmering beneath the surface. As is the question of how the press will cover the issue. There are real threats out there, and also plenty of room for confusion. Read More

First POST: Polarization

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 5 2014

How social media is making Israeli-Palestinian polarization worse; Brigade's plans to be an online "civic network," Turbovote's expansion across Florida campuses; and much, much more. Read More

Google Street View Cars Measure Methane Gas Leaks

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, August 1 2014

Screenshot of the three EDF maps: Boston, Indianapolis, and Staten Island

Cities degrade. Potholes may jar us and delays due to construction may irritate us, but it is impossible to perceive the full extent of a city's decay. Environmental Defense Fund, however, has partnered with Google Earth Outreach to make visible one environmental hazard of aging infrastructure: natural gas leaks. Earlier this month they published maps of leaks in Boston, Indianapolis and Staten Island. The project was the first for which Google Earth Outreach deployed Street View cars for environmental research purposes.

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First POST: Hacks

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, August 1 2014

The CIA admits hacking its Senate overseers' computers; lobbying dollars from the taxi industry outpaces transportation networking companies 3500-1; tech money SuperPAC tries to counter dark money campaign spending; and much, much more. Read More

Beyond @Congressedits, Capitol Hill Looks for Entry to Wikipedia

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, July 31 2014

As he recently told techPresident, the creator of Congressedits did not aim to make Members of Congress look bad, but said he hoped that they would recognize the importance of Wikipedia as a public space and engage more with its community. "If staffers and politicians identified as Wikipedians, that would be super. You could imagine politicians' home pages with a list of their recent edits, that they would be proud of the things that they are doing." On Capitol Hill, there is in fact interest in making that vision a reality, starting off with an initial conversation that could create a framework for more Wikipedians in Congress. Read More

First POST: Astonishing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 31 2014

Debating how (or if) Twitter should police abusive behavior; Facebook launches Internet.org; an update on the Detroit Water Project; and much, much more. Read More

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In the Philippines, Citizens Go Undercover With Bantay to Monitor Public Offices

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, July 30 2014

The results of the Red Tape Index, the first monitoring study by Bantay.ph

The Philippines, a country of almost 100 million, is considered among the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia, despite a boost in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in the past few years (from 134th in 2010 to 94th in 2013 out of 175.) Corruption involves all levels of government, but benefits also from a mindset of tolerance, says Happy Feraren, the co-founder of Bantay.ph, an anti-corruption educational initiative that teaches citizens how to monitor the quality of government services, sometimes by going undercover. Read More

First POST: Costs

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, July 30 2014

Estimated the costs of the NSA surveillance scandal; shifts in the politics of net neutrality; new tools for encrypting mobile phone communications, and much, much more. Read More

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In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

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NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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