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At 18F, The U.S. Looks to Fail Fast on Government IT Projects Instead of Failing Big

BY Alex Howard | Thursday, April 3 2014

The state of govt IT today: Long lines in Columbia, SC waiting to sign-up for HealthCare.gov

Can a new small office inside the General Services Administration start to revolutionize how the U.S. government does information technology? That's the premise behind 18F. Longtime open government observer Alex Howard offers this in-depth report. Read More

First POST: Collections

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 13 2014

The collection of phone meta-data would not have stopped any terrorist attacks since 9-11, says a New America Foundation study; Christie's aides are hardly the only political hacks using personal email to avoid public records laws; Matthew Burton explains how the CFPB's experience can help other govies make better web products; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Touchy

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 24 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:The NSA scandal is having repercussions now in Germany; How to successfully launched a government website; Why "big government" can't be agile; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Step Right Up

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 18 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: A first look at AskThem, a new portal for citizen questions of public officials and figures; an embarrassing data dump for the Indiana GOP; the NSA's spying empire in one handy map; and much, much more. Read More

For CFPB, "Open" Also Means "On GitHub"

BY Nick Judd | Monday, April 9 2012

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced that from here on out, if it contracts with a third party to build software, that code will be shared with the public at no charge.

In a blog post on April 6, the CFPB's Matthew Burton announced that the agency will also use open source software and release its own software products as open source. Code that might expose "sensitive deals that would put the Bureau at risk for security breaches" is excluded, but otherwise, Burton points us to CFPB's GitHub repository for a soon-to-be-growing list of code coming out of the nascent federal entity.

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ConsumerFinance.gov, and a New Approach to Regulation, Begin Operations Today

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, July 21 2011

New features on consumerfinance.gov Elizabeth Warren has become something of a hero for political progressives for her work to start the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the new agency responsible for helping ... Read More

'Draft Warren' Campaign Already Raking In the Bucks Online

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, July 19 2011

A Progressive Change Campaign Committee fundraising effort to draft Elizabeth Warren launched yesterday has already raised $40,000. David Catanese reported yesterday that the PCCC had raised $15,000 in only four hours, ... Read More

Commenters Chew Over Fed's Mortgage Form Mock-Ups

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, May 20 2011

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is asking citizens and industry to design a new simplified single mortgage disclosure form. Earlier this week, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched an innovative ... Read More

Posting Calendars Ain't Easy, at Least at the CFPB

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, March 25 2011

Posting the calendars of elected officials was one of the earliest calls to come out of the open government movement, but the Consumer Financial Protection Board's Matt Burton suggests one possible reason pick-up has ... Read More

Warren Brings Her Consumer Watchdoggery to the Web

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, February 3 2011

The Consumer Financial Protection Board introduced itself to the Internet today. // Image credit: Anthony Russomano Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed 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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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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