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WeGov

Breathing New Life into Data with the "Scrapeathon"

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, January 6 2014

The logo for Data Publica's Scrapathon (credit: Data Publica)

At the heart of most civic-oriented hackathons, those short 24-hour or so gatherings to code and create innovative apps for public good, is data. But many hackathons suffer from a lack of quality data or knowledge on where to find it, a problem that Benjamin Gans says he and his team at a for-profit data crunching company, Data Publica, noticed after attending and hosting a number of their own hackathons. They have coined the term "scrapathon" or scrapeathon to describe the new data scraping events they have begun hosting to give data a new and more purposeful life. Read More

WeGov

How To Win Friends & Influence People on Twitter: The International Organizations Edition

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, December 17 2013

A new Twiplomacy study came out last month, and this time the communications firm Burson-Marstellar tackled international organizations. The study found big differences in terms of followers and retweets between the most popular international organizations on Twitter and the average international organization. For example, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (@CERN) and the United Nations Children's Fund led the crowd in terms of retweets, averaging 100 a tweet. The median average of retweets is only four. So what are those organization doing right?

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WeGov

The App That Builds Trust Into Citizen Media

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, December 12 2013

What did I tell you about not believing everything you see on the Internet? (Flickr/@Doug88888)

Don't trust everything you find on the Internet.

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WeGov

New Report Says Canadian Politicians’ "Digital Offices" Need a Makeover

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Wednesday, December 11 2013

A new report by the nonprofit Samara explains how Canada's politicians are not doing well in connecting online.

Canada has seen steep drops in political participation of late, as well a general decline in political engagement, according to Samara, a Canadian non-profit dedicated to improving political participation. The organization believes their MPs’ lackluster online presence has something to do with it; they released a report last week, detailing their survey of websites for Canada’s MPs. Read More

WeGov

Buenos Aires, A Pocket of Civic Innovation in Argentina

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, December 10 2013

Last week, Buenos Aires' Open Government launched an interactive timeline of its 100-year-old subway sytem (Credit: Screenshot)

In only a few years, the government, civil society and media in Buenos Aires have actively embraced open data. The Buenos Aires city government has been publishing data under a creative commons license and encouraging civic innovation through hackathons. NGOs have launched a number of tech-driven tools and Argentina's second largest newspaper, La Nación, has published several hard-hitting data journalism projects. The result is a fledgling but flourishing open data culture in Buenos Aires, in a country that has not yet adopted a freedom of information law. Read More

WeGov

International Human Rights Day in Vietnam Marked By Launch of Blogger Network

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, December 10 2013

Vietnam Flag (Wikipedia)

Today a coalition of Vietnamese bloggers launched the Network of Vietnamese Bloggers (NVB), a new advocacy and watchdog group that will hold the Vietnamese government accountable for their United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) obligations and commitments. The launch was set for December 10 to coincide with International Human Rights Day.

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WeGov

Putting the International Spotlight on Killer Robots

BY Carola Frediani | Tuesday, December 3 2013

Campaigning in London to create a worldwide ban on killer robots (image: Stop Killer Robots/flickr)

Imagine an unmanned robot surveying enemy land and deciding, based on algorithms rather than human control, when it should and shouldn't drop a bomb or release a cascade of bullets. These "killer robots," once a topic restricted to an elite group of scientists, military analysts and visionary science writers has now reached a global audience through the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, a movement that, very strikingly, seeks to preemptively ban them. Most weapons bans are reactive, taking place after it has exacted a massive toll. Read More

WeGov

2013 Corruption Perception Index Is In And It's Not Pretty

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, December 3 2013

"Complaint box for corruption." (Flickr/watchsmart)

Transparency International just released their Corruption Perceptions Index 2013, and the prognosis is not looking good. Of the 177 ranked countries, more than two-thirds scored less than 50 out of a max score of 100. Not a one got a perfect score, with Denmark and New Zealand tying for first with scores of 91. On the other end of the spectrum, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia squeaked out measly eights.

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WeGov

Philippines Gov't Launches Portal To Transparently Handle Foreign Aid

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, November 25 2013

Hygiene kits and water in the Philippines (Flickr/U.S. Embassy in Manila)

Foreign funds are flooding into the Philippines in the wake of Super-typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Yolanda. Three days ago the World Bank increased its aid package to nearly US$1 billion. The Asian Development Bank will provide up to US$523 million in assistance. To ensure the funds are used in a responsible manner, the Philippines Department of Budget and Management launched the Foreign Aid Transparency Hub, or FAiTH.

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WeGov

Study Says Social Movements "Should Never Be Called a Twitter or Facebook Revolution"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, November 22 2013

A report on Digital Activism and Non-Violent Conflict was released this month by the Digital Activism Research Project. It found that the role of hacking and cybercrime in digital activism is grossly overstated by the media and that Facebook and Twitter are the leading platforms for activism on a global scale, but that other tools do well on a smaller, regional scale. The study found no causation or correlation between specific tools and positive outcomes.

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