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First POST: Shockwave from Boston

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, April 16 2013

For Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The digital and analog pursuit for justice begins in the aftermath of Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon, including a hunt for any and all images and video that might help reconstruct the scene. Attempting to make sense of the tragedy leads this morning's round-up of news about technology in politics from around the web. First Post is normally for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers, but today's is available to everyone. Read More

Chaos Spills Online From Blasts at Boston Marathon

BY Nick Judd | Monday, April 15 2013

As of this writing, the most reliable reporting finds that 22 people are injured and two are dead in the wake of two blasts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon. More can be quantified in Monday's tragedy, and in time the deluge of information might help understand how it happened. But for now, the best use of social media is to reconnect and reassure. Read More

First POST: Petitions

BY Nick Judd | Monday, April 15 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: A look at a Russian online petition initiative; revisiting Iceland's would-be "crowdsourced Constitution;" and more in today's round-up of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

TechPresident Podcast: "Open Government"

BY Nick Judd | Friday, April 12 2013

Can technology improve communication between citizens and government? We've been closely watching the Knight News Challenge, a $5 million experiment that aims to find out. Micah Sifry, Nick Judd and David Eaves talk through our recent reporting on what's been tried and tested where technology and government meet. Read More

TechPresident's Best Stories Of 2013 So Far

BY Nick Judd | Friday, April 12 2013

The growing gun control debate in Washington. Fears of online attackers from abroad compromising banks, government secrets, or critical infrastructure. The ongoing drone war in Pakistan. This news didn't just come from nowhere — people and politics are shaping these debates, and dozens of others, over a period of weeks and months. It's easy to get so immersed in the news of the day as to lose sight of its origins. That's partly why we've compiled our reporting on these issues and others — like the spread of efforts to make city governments more responsive using technology, or struggles for control of information on the Internet at home and abroad — in a new ebook, available in Kindle format, DRM-free EPUB, and PDF. It's $6.95, or free for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers (log in before purchasing and use the coupon code FREEBOOK13 to get the book at no cost). Read More

First POST: Legible

BY Nick Judd | Friday, April 12 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Transparency in Obama's new budget proposal; hardware to measure lobbying in Washington; and more in today's round-up of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

First POST: Competition

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 11 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: An open data app contest in Illinois ends as one in New York begins; Mark Zuckerberg's immigration policy shop prepared for battle; and your Bitcoin market report in today's First POST. Read More

First POST: Promises

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, April 10 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: AT&T makes a surprise PR move in response to Google Fiber's Texas rollout; Micah Sifry reviews Evgeny Morozov's book; and more in today's round-up of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

Google Fiber In Austin: Has Real Competition Returned to Broadband Internet Service?

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, April 9 2013

The same day Google and the City of Austin announce that Google Fiber will launch in the Texas tech mecca in mid-2014, AT&T promises to build a competing network at the same gigabit speeds. Does this mean the race is finally on for the future of broadband Internet in America? Read More

First POST: Upgrade

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, April 9 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Organizing for Action's key few weeks; moves in the top levels of the Democratic Party's technology scene; and more in today's round-up of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday > Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like 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 is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and And strangely enough, seems to want its early users to ask 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.


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.


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.


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.


wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.


The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.