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Tom Slee and the Omidyar Network: Six Degrees of Skepticism

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, September 16 2013

Is the Omidyar Network the new Standard Oil?

Tom Slee has penned a tough critique of the Omidyar Network's philanthropy, titled "Six Degrees of Omidyar," arguing that its venture capital investments "time and time again" have damaged "commons-based sharing" projects, pointing to investees like microfinance fund Unitus, Global Giving, CouchSurfing, Code for America and Change.org. As with all of Slee's writing, the piece is worth reading. But I think he's painting with far too broad a brush and has cherry-picked his evidence. Read More

WeGov

In South Korea, Activists Say Transparency Must Catch Up to Technology

BY Sam Petulla | Friday, February 22 2013

Seoul at night (credit: Sam Petulla)

South Korea is one of the most wired societies in the world, but its civil society is weak, the result of decades of military rule. Censorship is common, as are government attempts to limit digital freedom of expression. With help from Google, Creative Commons and the free culture movement, democracy activists are hoping transparency can match technology. Read More

Democratic Promise: Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

BY Micah L. Sifry | Saturday, January 12 2013

Aaron Swartz at a Boston Wikipedia Meetup, August 2009, By Sage Ross.

Aaron Swartz, a leading activist for open information, internet freedom, and democracy, died at his own hand Friday January 11. He was 26 years old. There is no single comprehensive list of his good works, but here are some of them: At the age of 14 he co-authored the RSS 1.0 spec--taking brilliant advantage of the fact that internet working groups didn't care if someone was 14, they only cared if their code worked. Then he met Larry Lessig and worked closely with him on the early architecting of Creative Commons, an immense gift to all kinds of sharing of culture. He also was the architect and first coder of the Internet Archive's OpenLibrary.org, which now has made more than one million books freely available to anyone with an internet connection. "We couldn't have come this far without his crucial expertise," Open Library says on its about page. He also co-founded Reddit.com, the social news site, and Demand Progress, an online progressive action group that played a vital role in the anti-SOPA/PIPA fight. He also contributed occasionally to Personal Democracy Forum, writing this article on why wikis work and this essay on "parpolity" or the idea that nested councils of elected representatives could be used to represent a whole country, for our 2008 book, Rebooting America. He was a fellow traveler. Read More

Medvedev Thanks Angry Birds Maker for Distracting His Employees

BY Becky Kazansky | Friday, June 17 2011

While at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg today, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev offered words of encouragement to the video game industry: "Before talking politics, I would like to thank Mr. [Peter] ... Read More

A Freed Change.gov Gets Wigitized, iPhone Apped

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, December 3 2008

Get the Change.gov widget Change.gov the website is so yesterday. Today, it's Change.gov the widget, iPhone app, and mobile tool. We noted a few days ago that online home of the Obama-Biden Transition Project had ... Read More

Change.gov Swaps Traditional Copyright for Creative Commons

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, December 1 2008

In what can only be seen as a major coup for those of us who have been hoping that the Obama Administration would embrace a saner and more sensible thinking on questions of copyright than is the norm in Washington, ... Read More

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In China, Local Governments Play Whac-a-Mole With Taxi Apps

It seems these days that car-hailing apps exist only to give cities grief. In New York, car sharing start-ups like Lyft ignore labor, safety insurance laws and in China, the situation is no different except in one regard: taxi hailing apps in China are proliferating at a faster rate than in the U.S. In China, however, the taxi system is very much in its infancy and local Chinese governments are struggling to control the proliferation of new apps that flout the law. GO

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The Uncertain Future of India's Plan to Biometrically Identify Everyone

Since its launch in 2010, people in India have raised a number of questions and concerns about the Aadhaar card —formally known as Unique Identification (UID)— citing its effects on privacy rights, potential security flaws, and failures in functionality. GO

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