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First POST: Open Letters

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 9 2013

(Most) big tech companies come out swinging against the NSA's bulk surveillance programs; Change.org hits the 50 million-user mark; an analysis of Facebook profiles and search data suggests that millions of American men, especially in the south, are still in the closet; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Privatization

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 2 2013

The latest ups and downs of HealthCare.gov; PandoDaily.com absurdly accuses Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras of "privatizing" the Snowden Files; and will robot watchmen and drone deliveries be coming to your neighborhood soon? Read More

WeGov

Italy, a Test Lab for Participatory Democracy

BY Carola Frediani | Wednesday, November 6 2013

Beppe Grillo Rallying the Crowd at Piazza Dante in Naples. (Avanguardie.info Web Magazine/flickr)

Online platforms for participatory democracy are flourishing in Italy and they are being initiated by civil society and local governments alike. Some of these tools are limited to 'social reporting,' where citizens are asked to recount problems and disruptions; others strive for empowering people with some sort of liquid democracy that allows people to debate and even propose legislation. But all of these platforms grew out of a deep dissatisfaction toward Italian politics and politicians. Now, a variety of tools to enable bottom-up decision making are being tested by local municipalities in Italy and being developed by small groups of volunteers. 
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First POST: Greenwald's Day

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 28 2013

Edward Snowden explains why he chose to reach out to independent journalist Glenn Greenwald; Clay Shirky explains why HealthCare.gov is a management failure; David Karpf shares his doubts about Change.org's new direction; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Reverberations

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 7 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The NSA vs the Tor Project; was Healthcare.gov just overwhelmed by unexpected demand; China's "maker" movement; the Supreme Court still "doesn't get" email; and much, much more. Read More

Oakland Neighbors Crowdfunding Private Security

BY Sam Roudman | Friday, October 4 2013

College Ave in Rockridge, Oakland; (c) David Corby 2006

Oakland California’s Rockridge neighborhood has generally been better known for its fresh pasta and pricey Craftsman homes than for brazen daylight robberies. But that changed last month when three men held up a line of drivers waiting at the Rockridge BART station to pick up passengers in order to use the carpool lane on their morning commute. What’s a violated yet technologically savvy community to do? In Rockridge, the answer has been to crowdfund private security services, with the aim of compensating for an understaffed police department in the city with the highest robbery rate in America. Read More

WeGov

Australians Save Shuttered Climate Council By Crowdfunding AUD $800K in Three Days

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, September 30 2013

Australia gets hotter and drier (ed 37 ~~ / Flickr)

Australian citizens were outraged after Australia's new prime minister Tony Abbot shuttered the government-funded Climate Commission, which conducts independent studies on the effects of climate change. Instead of merely expressing their anger and disappointment, however, citizens have put their money where their mouths are, funding the “new” nonprofit organization Climate Council in less than a week through an impressive crowdfunding effort.

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First POST: Smorgasbord

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, September 23 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: New details on how the NSA's public review panel is being managed by the people its supposed to oversee; Ecuador wants to reimagine itself as a peer-to-peer network; Kate Losse accuses Dave Eggers of appropriating her Facebook memoir; a nifty new Twitter search tool from the Knight Lab at Northwestern; and much, much more. Read More

Citizinvestor Reframes its Civic Crowdfunding Strategy

BY Sam Roudman | Thursday, September 5 2013

Citizinvestor's reframed attempt to gather public ideas

Civic engagement isn’t just about soliciting responses from citizens, it’s about framing them: the better the frame, the greater the response. It can be a subtle lesson, but it is one that recently led civic crowdfunding platform Citizinvestor to alter the way in which it solicits potential projects from the public. Apparently, people are more apt to say they like an idea than to sign their names to a petition. Read More

Is Sharing Political? Peers.org Thinks So

BY Sam Roudman | Wednesday, August 28 2013

Some vegetable sharers Peers will mold into a coalition. Credit: Peers.org

According to some, the sharing economy is more than technological advancements that allow the crowdfunding of a college roommate’s short film or a single dad to make extra cash driving revelers on the cab poor streets of San Francisco. It’s a movement. But is a common economic practice grounds for a political coalition? Peers, a new organization looking to advocate for individuals who benefit from the sharing economy, is betting yes. Read More