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WeGov

New Zealand - The World's Laboratory for Progressive Digital Legislation

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, September 18 2013

The wanted Mr. Kim Dotcom (mikesolita/flickr)

One nice advantage of having a large world with lots of diverse states is the range of experiments it offers us. Countries (or regions within them) can try out ideas, and if they work, others can copy them! For example, in the world of drug policy, Portugal effectively decriminalized virtually all drugs. The result has been dramatic. And much of it positive. I wonder if we might see a similar experience in New Zealand ten years from now about technology policy. At a glance, New Zealand would probably be the place I'd send a public servant or politician wanting to know more about how to do technology policy right. So why is that? Read More

WeGov

Beyond Property Rights: Thinking About Moral Definitions of Openness

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, August 6 2013

Should our definition of "open" information stop at whatever a property owner says, or are there ways to expand the definition to encompass uses that may embody moral rights in addition to property rights? These aren't abstract questions, as WeGov columnist David Eaves discovers in a conversation with one of India's leading Internet activists, Sunil Abraham. Read More

WeGov

Open Data Goes Mainstream With G8 Charter

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, June 26 2013

Last week marked a major turning point for open data. With a G8 communique, open data took a big leap out of the CIO's office and the world of advocates and entered more forcefully into the more general world of public policy. Read More

WeGov

What Traffic Lights Say About the Future of Regulation

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, June 12 2013

London traffic lights (credit: Flickr/@doug88888)

Journalists stirred up a small scandal in Florida when they revealed that traffic signals had been adjusted to show shorter yellow lights, raising revenues thanks to tickets, even though research indicated that might make the roads less safe. The critical question at the core of all this is, what is the purpose of the red light camera? Is it to make intersections safer by recording, punishing and thus deterring drivers who recklessly run red lights? Or is it a means for government — or a private company — to raise revenue? Which goal should this technology serve? Read More

WeGov

How Technology Is and Isn't Helping Fight Corruption in India

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, May 28 2013

Sunil Abraham (photo: David Sasaki/Flickr)

Launched in 2010, I Paid a Bribe has become a staple example of a tool that uses the Internet to help regular citizens fight corruption. A platform that allows people in India to report where and when they were asked to bribe a public official, it quickly drew international acclaim. But technology isn't a cure-all. In an interview with David Eaves, Center for Internet & Society founder Sunil Abraham explains how I Paid a Bribe — and other Internet-driven efforts — help, and where they might hurt, anti-corruption initiatives. Read More

WeGov

Russia's OGP Concerns Show That Transparency Matters

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, May 22 2013

Last week, Russian officials announced they have withdrawn their letter of intent to join the Open Government Partnership. The Moscow Times has a statement to the Russian paper Kommersant from a presidential spokesman, saying, "We are not talking about winding up plans to join, but corrections in timing and the scale of participation are possible." So Russia may still be in. Just not soon. And maybe never. Confused? You're not alone. I actually find it fascinating that the Kremlin acts like "openness" and transparency matter. Here's why. Read More

WeGov

In Jakarta, Open Environmental Data Meets Freedom of Information Law

BY David Eaves | Friday, May 10 2013

At a recent meeting of environmental advocates, a new idea emerged: that open access to environmental data should become an international standard. David Eaves writes that this is a signal that the open data movement is growing up. Read More

Optimism, Fear, and the Knight News Challenge

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, April 9 2013

Reading through the list of Knight News Challenge semi-finalists I was left feeling both optimistic and concerned. Optimistic because there are a number of great ideas people have put forward. Indeed the sheer number of submissions to the challenge - 828 - itself speaks to a deep well of people that want to find ways to improve the interaction between citizens and government. As a serious policy and government geek it is always nice to find peers. On the flip side I get a little depressed because programs like the news challenge remind me of the problems of both money, and scale, that plague any change initiative, but particularly in government. Read More

WeGov

How Open Is China's Homegrown "Open-Source" Initiative?

BY David Eaves | Friday, March 29 2013

China is not the first emerging power to see open source as a way to enhance its autonomy and diminish the leverage of foreign stakeholders. Brazil has which began to aggressively invest in and implement open source solutions around 2003, also saw it as a strategic choice. Yes, reducing software costs of government played a role, but it too wanted to boost the develop its IT sector - which it sees as being strategically important - as well as reduce its dependency on American software companies. The question of course, is how effective will these strategies be? Read More

WeGov

Open Data Day: Lessons for Hacktivists

BY David Eaves | Thursday, March 14 2013

International Open Data Day 2013 in Ghana (credit: Mobile Web Ghana/Flickr)

Now in its third year, Open Data Day events is far bigger than we ever dared imagine. More interesting still is its impact, both expected and unexpected. Read More

News Briefs

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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