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WeGov

On Their Terms: A Digital Project to Give Inuit Say in Developers' Arctic Ambitions

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Thursday, September 12 2013

It's walrus season in Nunavut. (j.slein/flickr)

A new project in Canada’s north is attempting to bridge the digital divide facing Inuit communities. In doing so, it hopes to give them a say as developers move to take advantage of their resource-rich land. The idea is to provide high-speed Internet access to Inuit living in northern communities, where extremely low bandwidth access makes surfing the net a slow and cumbersome task. “These people, who most need access to these networks, have the worst cost-per-bandwidth in the civilized world,” says Cohn. Read More

WeGov

The Hunt for Open Data in China

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, September 11 2013

No data in this stack of hay. (Perry McKenna/flickr)

Like water and oil, ‘open data’ and ‘China’ that take a bit of engineering if you want them to mix. Stories like those of human rights advocate Xu Zhiyong, arrested for rallying citizens to demand public disclosure of their officials’ wealth, are more the norm. But rather than ask for information, a group of young techies are going out and finding it, despite the challenges in its use and the risks of digging too deep. Read More

WeGov

Getting Social About Water To Save Lives

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, September 5 2013

Every year more than 750,000 children under the age of five die after contracting diarrheal disease. Many of those deaths could be prevented if only the children had access to safe drinking water. A new smartphone app called mWater will try to tackle that problem through what they call social water monitoring. USAID thinks there's something to the idea: they just invested US$100,000 in their pilot project in Tanzania.

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WeGov

Malaysia Crowdsources 2014 Budget

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, September 4 2013

Prime Minister Razak (Wikipedia)

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, is crowdsourcing the 2014 National Budget. A dedicated website has been set up for the initiative, where citizens can log in through their Facebook or Twitter accounts and submit their suggestions and requests. Other users can then thumbs up or thumbs down a suggestion.

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First POST: Twitterization

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, September 3 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The download on Peter Hamby's must-read report on Twitter's impact on 2012 campaign coverage; Jeff Bezos gives some clues to his plans for the Washington Post; Ethan Zuckerman thinks citizen science could help reduce NIMBYism; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

[Op-Ed] Doing Crowdsourcing Justice

BY Daren C. Brabham | Thursday, August 29 2013

Certainly there are limits to crowdsourcing information that need to be acknowledged, as the article “The Downsides to Crowdsourcing” points out. Crowdsourcing’s arrival in the public sector brings with it plenty of fanfare and exciting promises, and, sure, also a lot of hype and hot air. But let us not throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to crowdsourcing. Read More

WeGov

The Downsides to Crowdsourcing

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, August 26 2013

Crowdsourcing often makes its way into techPresident coverage, whether in a story about crisis mapping or election reporting. It has been a real boon for NGOs and government offices alike. Still, there are limits to the usefulness of crowdsourced information that must be acknowledged.

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WeGov

Bribespot Thailand: Effective Anti-Corruption Tool Or Mere Outlet For Disgruntled Victims?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, August 23 2013

Screenshot of Bribespot Thailand

An anti-corruption intiative originally from Lithuania has been repurposed in Thailand. Bribespot Thailand officially launched two weeks ago, and already has more than 80 official reports of bribes demanded. The nonprofit hopes the initiative will empower citizens to report bribery in the public sector immediately, and to raise the Thai authorities' awareness of the scope and pervasiveness of petty corruption.

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WeGov

Crisis Mapping Becomes De Rigueur Tropical Storm Response in Philippines

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, August 21 2013

Screenshot of the Google map of the three day accumulated rainfall

When the Philippines suffered severe flooding last August, crisis responders used Twitter hashtags and a Google Doc to track calls for help and successful rescues. This year, in the wake of Tropical Storm Maring, Filipinos are using an official portal, through which anyone can submit a rescue request online or by text message which is then mapped. The same hashtags active last year are organizing the conversation this year, too: #rescuePH, #floodPH, #reliefPH and, in the event of a successful rescue, #SafeNow.

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NYC Debates Hosts Are Crowdsourcing Questions

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, August 12 2013

Sponsors of tonight's official debate between New York City Comptroller Candidates candidates, former Governor Eliot Spitzer and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, are encouraging voters to use Google Moderator to submit and vote on questions for the candidates. The hosts are also seeking Google Moderator questions for the August 21 Democratic mayoral debate. Read More

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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

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