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Two Congressional Staffers Move to Twitter's @Gov Team

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, June 19 2012

Bridget Coyne, digital director for Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sean Evins, a staffer on the House Administration Committee, are moving to the Twitter Government and Politics team, according to a tweet from @gov. Politico had reported Evins' move last week. He told Politico Influence that he would be "acting as a liaison between Twitter and elected officials and helping them better communicate with their constituents." Read More

What Congress Might Do With All Those Emails

BY Nick Judd | Friday, June 15 2012

The Republican House leadership is experimenting with tools that might make it easier for members of Congress to more easily understand what all the emails they get in a day really mean. There are also tools that track messages headed outbound towards Congress, like PopVox, that hope to give perspective on what representatives are hearing from the outside looking in. In this video, Dan Beckmann from the technology firm ib5k describes how his company's platform, Correlate, is designed to solve one aspect of the problem. It is now in use by Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer — a Democrat — and may appear elsewhere within House leadership soon, Beckmann says. Read More

For Transparency Advocates, the Honeymoon with House Republicans May Be Over

BY Nick Judd | Friday, June 1 2012

When John Boehner promised at the start of his turn as House Speaker to make the House of Representatives far more transparent, and to use technology to do it, advocates for an easier-to-understand Congress were cautiously optimistic. But House Republicans are poised to take a move that transparency advocates see as kicking the can down the road on the single most crucial thing the 112th Congress could do to open up the business of lawmaking. Read More

Let's All Talk About Congressional Email

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 5 2012

What is the flood of emails pouring into Congress doing to national politics? Matt Glassman, an adjunct professor of political science at Catholic University, thinks it might be creating reasons for individual members to focus less on local politics and more on attention-getting national issues. Read More

Republicans in Congress More Effective on Twitter, Study Finds

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, March 22 2012

Image: Shutterstock

Congressional Republicans use Twitter more effectively than Congressional Democrats, according to a political analysis of Twitter conducted by Edelman and Simply Measured. The study analyzed 456 Congressional Twitter handles from September to December 2011. Read More

Which Member of Congress Has the Biggest Vocabulary?

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, February 28 2012

Using the Sunlight Foundation's* Capitol Words API, independent analytics consultant Dan Kozikowski has put together a look at the vocabulary of each member of Congress and mapped the results on a Google map.

By his analysis, the most loquacious legislator in the House of Representatives is Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat of Texas, who holds a bachelor's degree from Yale and a law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Kozikowski also looked for words said only once in Congress by members of each party since 1996, which is as far back as the data available through Sunlight goes. (Sunlight gets its data from the Congressional Record.)

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Issa's Still Sour On SOPA

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, December 13 2011

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) issued a statement today restating his opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act. Its chief sponsor, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), has introduced a manager's amendment that would alter the controversial anti-piracy legislation; Issa doesn't think it's enough. Read More

Capitol Hill's Dec. 7 Hackathon Means Government's Getting Geekier

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, November 28 2011

Photo: Elliott P. / Flickr Software developers, Capitol Hill staffers and transparency advocates will brainstorm about what's to come in this field at Congress’ first-ever hackathon on Dec. 7 at the Capitol Visitors ... Read More

New iPad App Hopes to Modernize Lawmaking on the Hill

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, November 17 2011

For years, BlackBerries have been the signature gadget that every Hill staffer has to have. PopVox's "MarkUp," app, which debuted in Apple's iTunes store Thursday, might be one more reason for the iPad to stake a claim ... Read More

New Survey Finds Republicans Tweet More Often, But to Whom?

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, September 29 2011

More House Republicans send messages on Twitter than Democrats, according to figures compiled by students at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The Medill students compiled a look at how members of ... 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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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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