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From Flags to Tags? Euromaidan Might Be a New Revolution, But Not a Twitter One

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, December 2 2013

Euromaidan Protest Kiev - December 1, 2012 /Photo by Nessa.Gnatoush (CC BY 2.0)

Nine years after the Orange Revolution, the citizens of Ukraine are taking to the streets again, this time to protest against a government u-turn in the EU integration process, which some attribute to pressure from Russia to maintain their trade relations. While the protest has a hashtag, it hasn't been reduced to being labeled a Twitter revolution. This time, social media's role is less about organizing and more about providing a free flow of information about the protest in a country that seems to have stepped back in media freedom. Read More

WeGov

Civic Monitoring Group Raises Concerns About Bosnia's First Post-War Census

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, November 20 2013

Popis Monitor on the street with their awarness campaigns (image: Popis Monitor)

A census usually tells a country what it looks like and how it has changed but in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country still simmering with divisions amongst its ethnic groups, it has rekindled tensions over national identity. The 2013 census – the first after a 22-year hiatus – took place last month. While international institutions praised the overdue survey, a requirement for entry into the E.U., and have given Bosnia a satisfactory review of its census procedures, activists from Popis Monitor, a citizen-based monitoring project, claimed that the process was compromised by a failure of the government to inform citizens about the census, particularly on questions of religion and ethnicity, as well as several irregularities during the census collection.

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WeGov

The Balkan Startup: If You Build It, Will They Come?

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, October 21 2013

The list of the 12 local projects that have joined The Balkans Startup Project

The late Douglas Engelbart, an early pioneer of the Internet also known as the guy who invented the computer mouse, used the term "bootstrapping strategy" for his own business as a way to "use what you build to boost your own effectiveness." Today, the Citizens Foundation of Iceland, an organization which provides open-source civic engagement platforms, is "boostrapping e-democracy" with The Balkan Startup Project. Read More

WeGov

In Italy, Online Tool Monitors Aid Money Post-Earthquake

BY Antonella Napolitano | Friday, September 6 2013

The main map on Open Ricostruzione website show the damages in the area and the donations received

On May 20, 2012, I was awakened suddenly at 4 a.m. in my apartment in Milan. It didn't take long for me to find out that most of Northern Italy had experienced the same that night. A 5.9-magnitude earthquake had hit nearby in Emilia-Romagna, the region just below Lombardy, causing severe damages in cities and villages and 27 deaths. While rescue and emergency efforts went relatively smoothly, rebuilding was entirely another matter. In Italy, the construction industry has often been at the center of corruption scandals and one of the most recent ones had started with an earthquake. But with the help of an online platform, those in Emilia-Romagna were determined not to repeat the mistakes of L'Aquila, where aid money allegedly disappeared into the pockets of corrupt politicians. Read More

WeGov

Senegal's “Soft Revolution” Makes Change in Digital Space

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, June 25 2013

Senegal Electoral Map

Senegalese activist and blogger Cheikh Fall explains how Sunu2012, a participatory platform that he developed to monitor the electoral process during Sengal's presidential election in 2012, reveals a growing “soft revolution” among young activists in Senegal. Read More

WeGov

PDF France 2013: “Au Code, Citoyens!”

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, May 15 2013

This year PDF France will take place in Paris on June 13, with the theme "Au Code, Citoyens!" ("To Code, Citizens!") The speakers' lineup includes some of the continent's leaders in the digital revolution. Read More

WeGov

Finnish Parliament Must Vote on Citizens' Petition for Same Sex Marriage Law

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, March 25 2013

Helsinki Cathedral in Midnight Sun (credit: Visit Finland/Flickr)

Over the course of a single day last week, Finnish advocates of equal marriage rights gathered 50,000 signatures for a petition that proposes granting legal recognition to same sex couples. According to the Citizen's Initiative Act, a modification of the Finnish constitutionthat was passed last year, this is the minimum number of signatures required for a legislative vote: the proposal has therefore been submitted to parliament. Read More

WeGov

Spaniards Demand Prime Minister's Resignation with Change.org Petition

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, February 20 2013

The Barcenas documents published by El País, as displayed on the Change.org petition.

"I demand the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the calling of elections, as well as the resignation of any member of the People's Party named in the documents who holds office publicly or in the party." That's not an opposition leader speaking but more than a million Spanish citizens who signed a petition on Change.org as a reaction to an unprecedented corruption scandal involving the highest ranks of the government. Read More

WeGov

Slovenian Pirates Might Be Tested Sooner Than Expected

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, January 16 2013

Photo of Slovenian Pirates from the Pirate Times

The Pirate Party of Slovenia (Piratska stranka Slovenije) started, as in most countries, as a movement focused on digital issues and it has been around for three years now. But countrywide protests against austerity and political corruption — and, possibly, upcoming elections — might force them to test their strength sooner than planned. Read More

Personal Democracy Forum Poland-CEE, February 1-2 in Warsaw

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, January 7 2013

Personal Democracy Forum is back in Europe and is going east! After our events in Barcelona, Oslo, Paris and Brussels, we are happy to announce our first conference focused on Central and Eastern Europe, happening this ... Read More

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RSS Feed wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

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