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First POST: Firsts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 24 2015

Political reporters use Yik Yak to pep up stories about Ted Cruz's campaign announcement; The New York Times, Buzzfeed and National Geographic may agree to let Facebook host their news on its servers; Google fiber users to soon get targeted television ads; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Cowed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, March 23 2015 for president; Meerkat fever; who does Facebook work for (probably not you); Medium, "the billionaire's typewriter"; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Checking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, March 20 2015

US pressures Germany to not offer asylum to Snowden; study shows the extent to which political advertising overshadows political news coverage; new site gives a minute-by-minute breakdown of most popular US gov't websites; Upworthy co-founder apologizes for breaking the Internet; and much, much, more. Read More

First POST: Complications

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 19 2015

Obama administration sets record for censoring or denying access to files requested under FOIA; hype over Meerkat; French gov't starts to block websites that promote or advocate terrorism; the theme for Personal Democracy Forum 2015; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Hoodwinking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, March 18 2015

Marco Rubio on net neutrality; advocating for an easier path for third-party presidential candidates; the state of the free software movement; the sentencing of a blogger in Tunisia; and much, much more. Read More

Secrecy in the So-Called "Most Transparent" Administration in US History

BY Jason Ross Arnold | Wednesday, March 18 2015

How much has changed, really? (Eric Draper/White House)

We used to hear more from President Obama about his aspirations to lead the “most transparent” administration in American history. From the 2008 campaign through early 2013, administration officials – including the big guy – continued to beat the most transparent drum, promising the (clear) sky, and insisting they had already delivered, or were on the cusp. The White House has since toned down the lofty, boastful messaging. Perhaps they were chastened by all of the bipartisan criticism and late-night television mockery of the administration’s actions in light of its claims. But Obama’s pledge to create an “unprecedented level of openness” still stands proudly at the top of the White House’s open government webpage, a sign that it remains a priority (or a monument whose removal would be too embarrassing a concession). Sunshine week provides a perfect opportunity to evaluate the record: where between most transparent and “most closed, control-freak” should we place Obama-Biden?

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[#PDF15 Theme] Imagine All the People: The Future of Civic Tech

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 17 2015

Edward Snowden and John Perry Barlow, "A Conversation Across Cyberspace" at PDF 2014.

Announcing the theme for this year's Personal Democracy Forum, our twelfth since 2004: "Imagine All The People: The Future of Civic Tech." We want to take you into a future where everyone is participating, a future that we build together using technology appropriately, powering solutions to shared civic problems. The future is what we make it; at this year's PDF we'll gather to hear from the people who are making civic tech that genuinely matters, and fighting to ensure that everyone gets to benefit. Register now to attend--this is the last week to save $100 on conference registration, our early bird rate has been extended through Sunday March 22nd.

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New Organization, Data Justice, to Work on Society's Big Data Problem

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, March 17 2015

Lady Justice (LonPicMan/Wikipedia)

Yesterday saw the public launch of Data Justice, a new organization dedicated to promoting economic justice in our data-driven society. Simultaneous with the announcement, the organization released its first report, “Taking on Big Data as an Economic Justice Issue,” written by Data Justice director Nathan Newman.

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First POST: Modern Times

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 17 2015

Oregon is automatically registering people to vote; study says almost 9 in 10 Americans have heard something about gov't surveillance; a spam filtering service had full access to Hillary Clinton's email, unencrypted; and much, much more. Read More

Interest is Rising in Cooperative Alternatives to the "Sharing Economy"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 17 2015

Trebor Scholz, Sara Horowitz, Nathan Schneider, Saket Soni, Caroline Woolard, Douglas Rushkoff (l-r) at Civic Hall

If last week's turnout at Civic Hall is any indication, a lot of people--technologists as well as organizers--are interested in figuring out how the 21st century economy can be built on more cooperative and less exploitative principles than the libertarian "gig economy" exemplified by companies like TaskRabbit and Uber. Folks came out for a panel discussion called "Think Outside the Boss: Cooperative Alternatives to the Sharing Economy," which was triggered by a thought-provoking essay by New School for Social Research scholar Trebor Scholz in Medium. Watch the video below the jump... Read More