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First POST: The Big Chill

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 6 2014

The NSA won't deny snooping on Members of Congress; the full size of the Koch brothers conservative political network starts to come into view; the emerging pieces of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign-in-waiting get mapped; and much, much more. Read More

Further Down the Ballot, Little Love for a "Social Voting" Tool

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, November 5 2012

Rachel Norton, a vice president of the San Francisco Board of Education, says Votizen's interface "leaves a lot to desired."

The idea that new tools could make voting social has taken off among high-level campaigns that understand the power of one-to-one connections online. But at the grassroots, where Votizen's co-founders hope to grow most of their clients, this seed of an idea has yet to sprout. Read More

U.S. Senate Could Save Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars If It Files Campaign Finance Reports Electronically, Says The FEC

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, February 17 2012

One little-noted item in President Obama's budget proposal this week was a recommendation to require U.S. senators to file their campaign finance reports with the Federal Election Commission electronically. The FEC estimates that the switch from paper to bits would save it $430,000 annually. Read More

Pre-Facebook IPO, Here's Where Shareholders Put their Political Cash

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, February 3 2012

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Says Its Mission Is To "Make The World More Open And Connected."

Facebook's initial public offering is in the works and the company is already gearing up to exert the kind of influence in Washington that one might expect from a publicly held firm. With a political action committee for the company already in place, here's a look at some of the politicians who might benefit from the rising fortunes of Facebook's early investors, based on those investors' past political contribution habits as reported by OpenSecrets. Read More

Bailout Datatorial: Follow the Money From Wall St. to DC, 1990-present

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, September 25 2008

I'm pleased to have played a small part in helping our friends at the Sunlight Foundation pull togetherthis nifty piece of 3-D (Dynamic, Data-Driven) journalism on the Wall Street bailout: a Google Motion Chart built on ... Read More

Edwards Pushes Net Neutrality

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, June 15 2007

John Edwards has just issued a strong statement in support of net neutrality today, writing a letter to the FCC stating that the issue "goes to the heart and soul of democracy." Read More

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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