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First POST: Climate Changes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, September 23 2014

Google ends its support for ALEC; how network-centric organizing powered the big People's Climate march; is it time to retire the term "blogosphere"; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Germany Releases Open Data Action Plan Amidst Grassroots Enthusiasm and Pirate Party Turmoil

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, September 22 2014

German Open Data portal

The German government on Wednesday unveiled its open data action plan to implement the open data charter established by the G8, now G7, countries. But while German open government advocates welcomed its release, for them it does not go far enough. Even as the open data movement is taking new hold in Germany on the local level with encouragement from the new Code for Germany effort, in the national Pirate Party, the supposed German net party, internal leadership disputes are overshadowing its digital agenda. Read More

First POST: Splits

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, September 16 2014

USA Freedom Act divides Internet activists; Julian Assange's Reddit "Ask Me Anything"; New York's pro-net-neutrality protest; and much, much more Read More

Civic Tech and Engagement: In Search of a Common Language

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 5 2014

Marten van Valkenborsch, Construction of the Tower of Babel (c. 1600)

We need much clearer language to describe civic tech. Too often, people working in this field struggle to put into words what it is they are striving for. It's not enough to assume that, like the Supreme Court and obscenity, we know good civic tech when we see it. And if we can't say why something is good (or even great), how can we know what to design for? Indeed, how do we even know if we're after the same design goals? Read More

Philadelphia, Portland and Code For America work on building a better RFP

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, September 4 2014

While Healthcare.gov is now often used as short-hand for government procurement challenges and questions are being raised about New York City's contracting process for a project to reinvent pay phones as Wi-Fi hot-spots, cities such as Philadelphia and Portland, along with Code for America, are among those working with city officials and companies to redefine and reinvent the Request for Proposals process. Read More

New US Digital Service Looks to Avoid IT Catastrophes

BY Alex Howard | Wednesday, August 13 2014

USDS' Mikey Dickerson at the 2009 MySQL Conference (Photo by Jorge Bernal)

At a time when the public's trust in institutions is at historic lows, the federal government's use of technology has an unusual place in the national discourse. After the first Internet president's administration was responsible for the high-profile failure of Healthcare.gov, the issue seemed ripe to drive significant reform on Capitol Hill. Even if some 10 million adults gained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act after "Obama's trauma team" made successful fixes to Healthcare.gov, negative public perception has lingered, and for good reason. Under the radar, other projects have continued to sputter, like a $300 million dollar Social Security government IT boondoggle that still has not delivered a working system for submitting disability claims. The crash of the FCC's dated website under the weight of 1.1 million comments this summer didn't help, either. At the same time, the confidence of the technology community has been damaged by revelations of dragnet surveillance and surreptitious backdoors planted in software. Now, the executive branch has launched two new initiatives aimed squarely at these issues, 18F and the just-announced US Digital Service, Alex Howard reports. Read More

First POST: Polarization

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 5 2014

How social media is making Israeli-Palestinian polarization worse; Brigade's plans to be an online "civic network," Turbovote's expansion across Florida campuses; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Astonishing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 31 2014

Debating how (or if) Twitter should police abusive behavior; Facebook launches Internet.org; an update on the Detroit Water Project; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Power Brokers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, July 21 2014

Why Microsoft's Bradford Smith is so influential in tech policy; the split between DailyKos and Netroots Nation; how the GOP is wooing conservative and libertarian techies; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Turning On

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, June 4 2014

How Google is making encryption more mainstream; new data on online harassment; how bloggers are changing Vietnamese society; and much, much more. Read More