Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

@Congressedits Hopes to See More Wikipedians in Congress

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, July 14 2014

In the future, could members of Congress list their Wikipedia edits on their homepage along with their voting records and constituent services? That is the vision of Congressedits, a Twitter feed that within only the past few days has helped popularize the idea of anonymously tracking government and instutional edits to Wikipedia pages around the world. Read More

New Tool Aims to Counter Congressional Gridlock with Virtual Support

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, March 26 2014

Ted Henderson, a former congressional staffer and the founder of the mobile app Capitol Bells, was frustrated by the legislative gridlock on issues such as climate change and gun control. Read More

WeGov

In Brazil, Hacking From “Inside the Leviathan's Belly”

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, January 7 2014

Behemoth and Leviathan, by William Blake (Wikipedia)

Last month Brazil's lower house of Congress, the Chamber of Deputies, passed a resolution creating a Laboratória Ráquer—a space permanently designated for hackers—inside Congress. This is the first such hacker space in the world, according to Opening Parliament.

Read More

First POST: Jackpots

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 25 2013

How a blog post about being poor set off a cascade of solidarity; why Google's new Civic Information API is a big deal; the rise of the "protest selfie"; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: This Town

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 4 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribersIs Washington too obsessed with itself to gauge public opinion on Syria correctly?; Al Gore's incredibly shrinking climate change group; and the best executive director monthly report you've ever seen; plus much, much more. Read More

How Much Did Anonymous Really Get From Congressional Staffers?

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, July 23 2013

A recent release of email address and password combinations apparently used by congressional staffers to manage mass emails to constituents raises concerns about security, but likely won't lead to much change in the use of third-party services by members of Congress, according to Brad Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation. People claiming to be affiliated with Anonymous announced last week that they had obtained and released emails and passwords for 2,000 congressional staffers in a move designed to attract attention to their displeasure over online surveillance by the National Security Agency. But the passwords were not paired up with email address when they were released, rendering them of less use to actually breach security, and The Hill reports that they appeared to be login information for the widely used iConstituent email newsletter service. Read More

NRCC Wants to Make Vine Attack Ads a Thing With S. Carolina Congressional Race

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, April 12 2013

The NRCC has launched what it says is the first political attack ad in the form of a six-second Vine video in the House race in South Carolina's First District, where Elizabeth Colbert Busch, sister of Stephen Colbert, is running against former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. Read More

LegiStorm Is Now Tracking Your Tweets, Congressional Staffers

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, April 5 2013

A new service from LegiStorm promises to aggregate tweets from congressional staffers along with those of lawmakers themselves, the company announced on its DevBlog last week. The service, called StormFeed, "makes available every tweet and press release of Congress in real time." Politico reports that this has drawn the ire of some Congressional staffers — some of whom were already irked at the way LegiStorm makes their salaries and job titles, which are public record under disclosure laws, easily available. Read More

One Person, One Vote? Here's How Many Voters Each "Representative" Really Represents

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 9 2013

For all the chatter about how many Facebook likes or Twitter followers politicians have, I've never seen a news organization or website pay any attention to how many voters each Member of the House of Representatives has. It turns out that some Members are much more popular than others, based on their actual vote totals in 2012. Read More

What Congress.gov Means for a Congressional API

BY Nick Judd and Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, September 19 2012

The Library of Congress today unveiled beta.congress.gov, a new web platform offering legislative information that is expected to eventually replace the existing THOMAS system and the congressional Legislative Information System.

House leadership has promised to offer access to the underlying data that fuels THOMAS and has repeatedly expressed a commitment to doing it. They just haven't committed to doing it during this Congress. And the lack of action on something that seems to them to be eminently doable has advocates kind of frustrated.

Gayle Osterberg, Director of Communications for the Library of Congress, seemed to indicate in an email that the Library of Congress is ready to cooperate. They just need Congress — meaning the House and Senate both — to give them the go-ahead.

Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

More