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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

WeGov

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

[Op-Ed] Civic Tech and Engagement: How City Halls Can Help Construct Stronger Neighborhoods

BY Susan Crawford | Tuesday, July 29 2014

Boston's new District Hall, a public-private partnership for civic innovation

Last week, the UN reported that more than half of humanity now lives in cities; by 2050 two-thirds of people will, up from just 30% in 1950. Given the grave challenges facing the world's booming urban areas—including global warming, economic dislocation, and crumbling basic infrastructure, among other torments—tomorrow's mayors will need to take bold steps to ensure their constituents live in dignity and safety. But public distrust of dysfunctional, faceless government is profound, resources are limited, gaps between groups are widening, and many are unaware of the role of government in their lives—which makes citizens less likely to support major initiatives. One way to fill the drained reservoir of public trust in municipal government, writes Susan Crawford, is to make city hall more visibly—and continuously—responsive. Digital technology can help: by using data to optimize the use of limited city resources and communicate clearly (with a friendly voice) across a range of platforms, a city can make life noticeably better for its citizens. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

First POST: Spoilers

How the GOP hasn't fixed its tech talent gap; the most tech-savvy elected official in America, and the most tech-savvy state-wide candidate; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hot Spots

How Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is making inroads in China; labor protests among Uber drivers spread to more cities; new data about the prevalence of online harassment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Reminders

Why the RNC hasn't managed to reboot how Republican campaigns use voter data; new ways of using phone banking to get out the vote; how the UK's digital director is still ahead of the e-govt curve; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Patient Zero

Monica Lewinsky emerges with a mission to fight cyber-bullying; Marc Andreessen explains his political philosophy; tech donors to MayDay PAC get pushback from Congressional incumbents; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Front Pagers

How Facebook's trending topics feed is wrecking political news; debating the FBI's need for an encrypted phone "backdoor"; democratizing crisis data; and much, much more. GO

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