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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 >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.


Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.


monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.


friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.


The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.


wednesday >

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media and India's General Election

The biggest democratic election in the world to date is taking place in India from April 7 to May 14, and, for the first time in India, the results might hinge on who runs a better social media campaign. The Mumbai research firm Iris Knowledge Foundation has said that Facebook will “wield a tremendous influence” but Indian politicians are not limiting their attentions to India's most popular social media platform. In addition to virtual campaigning are initiatives to inform, educate and encourage Indians to participate in their democracy.