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WeGov

Internet Search Engine for Muslims Filters 'Forbidden' Content Via Crowdsourcing

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, July 9 2013

Halalgoogling search results

The Internet is a dangerous place, especially for a Muslim trying to avoid haram (forbidden) content. A new search engine aims to make the Internet a safe, clean and virtuous place for Muslims around the world by filtering out unwanted sites and content. The Beta version of Halalgoogling launched on July 7.

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WeGov

Samoan Gov't Climate Change Initiative Includes Crowdsourced 3D Map

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 3 2013

Now imagine it in 3D. Samoa via Wikipedia

Villagers in Samoa are using a three dimensional map to help make decisions about environment initiatives and disaster prevention. The 3D map is the product of a workshop organized by the forestry division of Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The project is an example of participatory 3D modeling (P3DM), a crowdsourced mapping method relying heavily on local knowledge.

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WeGov

Tu Parlamento: Italy Launches Platform to Give Citizens a Digital Seat in Parliament

BY Rebecca Chao | Thursday, June 27 2013

The platform aims to get citizens more involved in policy making (image: tuparlamento.it)

Last week, without much fanfare or publicity, 15 members of the Italian Parliament launched Tu Parlamento, a Liquid Feedback platform that allows Italian citizens to comment on proposed bills. it is an initiative led by Laura Puppato, a senator of the Democratic Party. Read More

WeGov

Twitris: Taking Crisis Mapping to the Next Level

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, June 24 2013

Twitris – the techy marriage of “Twitter” and “Tetris” – is a platform that aims to help civil society win the “game” of big data, creating layers and layers of analysis that provides a holistic picture of an event. Read More

WeGov

Crowdsourced "Danger Maps" Track Air, Soil and Water Pollution in China

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, June 14 2013

Sunset in the smog, Shanghai, China (Suicup/Wikipedia)

Chinese citizens are exposing sources of pollution and other environmental problems by contributing to the partially crowdsourced website 'Danger Maps'. So far, the Chinese government is letting them get away with it.

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WeGov

Crowdsourcing Waste Management Solutions in Montenegro

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, May 21 2013

Perast, Montenegro via Wikipedia

For once we aren't talking about the worldwide scarcity of toilets, just good old-fashioned household waste. Montenegro has a garbage problem so bad even the tourists are complaining about it. A new mobile app sponsored by the Agency for Environmental Protection, NGO Ozon and United Nations Development Programme in Montenegro will hopefully get citizens involved in reporting illegal garbage dumps. Read More

WeGov

Chilean Anti-Corruption Resource: A Crowdsourced Database of Social and Political Connections

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 17 2013

Screenshot from the Esto es Poderopedia video via Vimeo

In countries where a small minority of social circles have a majority of the political and economic power, personal relationships can affect major decision-making, a serious concern of anti-corruption activists. A new web platform stores personal profiles of key players in Chilean business and politics, complete with biographies and personal and professional connections through family, education, social circles, employers and coworkers, to make tracking social relationships and conflict-of-interest easier. Called Poderopedia (from the Spanish word for power), the project sounds kind of like LinkedIn, but the creation and management of profiles is being crowdsourced out to journalists, activists and concerned citizens.

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WeGov

Online and On Foot, UN Collects Input On New Development Goals

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 10 2013

Screengrab of My World survey results

The United Nations is crowdsourcing input on the global development goals that will shape international policies – and the ebb and flow of billions of dollars in aid money – for up to fifteen years. The new development plan will replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015. More than half a million people have participated in the crowdsourcing project. Read More

WeGov

New App Detects Polluted Water

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, April 25 2013

Image of Mobosens technology from its website.

A new dongle for smartphones can be used to crowdsource a clean water project out to concerned citizens worldwide. The Mobosens dongle senses water quality and sends the information to the cloud where it is stored, aggregated and mapped. Users can also post and share data on social media, which adds to both the collective knowledge and the all-important awareness of an area’s water quality.

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WeGov

Mapping Initiative Provides Visualization of Infrastructure Disruptions in Syria

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, April 15 2013

Screenshot of Syria Digital Security Monitor map

Following months of serious Internet disruptions in Syria, including a total Internet blackout that most experts blamed on the Syrian government, the Canadian foundation SecDev launched a website to monitor such reported disruptions to critical infrastructure including Internet, telecommunication, electricity and water, and reported cyber threats in the hopes of increasing Syrian's online safety. The project relies on crowdsourced reporting and extensive monitoring of Syrian social media. Teaming up with Ushahidi, SecDev will create visualizations in the form of maps and timelines of reports of interruptions to the country's infrastructure.

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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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tuesday >

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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