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First POST: Today's Big Disaster

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, February 13 2014

Comcast's bid to buy Time Warner Cable could be a huge disaster for consumers and Internet users in America; the connections between online resistance, state surveillance, and data-driven political targeting; more roundups of The Day We Fight Back; and much, much more. Read More

Sublime to Absurd: The HealthCare.gov Debate, From Procurement Reform to Cats and Jon Stewart

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, October 23 2013

Many commentators in the past few days have criticized the media coverage of Healthcare.gov's launch problems, highlighting what they see as a lack of technical understanding. Meanwhile, the issue has sparked a complex, passionate discussion among some experts on Twitter debating the root of the problems, comparisons with the Obama campaign's Narwhal system, the difference between campaign and government technology, the inherent flaws in the procurement process and how to improve government technology. Three of the key figures in the ongoing Twitter debate, storified below, over the past few days were Clay Johnson, technologist, founder of Blue State Digital and a 2012 Presidential Innovation Fellow, writer and consultant Clay Shirky, and Harper Reed, CTO of Obama's 2012 election campaign. While among them and others the discussion has been a wonky, almost philosophical conversation about the role of technology and government, rooted in their experiences, Rep. Darrell Issa Wednesday opted for a more sensational approach when he decided to cite Johnson's Oct. 7 blog post calling the contractors "sloppy" to create "8 Cats Who Called 1-800-ObamaCare but Still Couldn’t Get Healthcare." Read More

First POST: Drip, Drip

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 11 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The NSA releases new documents showing it violates its own privacy rules on a daily basis; cryptoparties are springing up again in Germany; gun control supporters are recalled in Colorado; and much, much more. Read More

New Report on NSA's Privacy Violations Fuels Movement for Surveillance Reform

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, August 16 2013

Photo: Jeff Schuler/Flickr

A startling new report published late Thursday evening that reveals for the first time thousands of instances where the National Security Agency overstepped its legal authority by illegally collecting the phone and e-mail communications of U.S. citizens is likely to put privacy and surveillance issues on the front-burner next month when members of Congress return to Washington D.C. from the August recess. Read More

This Week, Congress To Critique Obama On Tech in Government

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, July 8 2013

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director Office of Management and Budget (middle) is in charge of Obama's new management agenda

President Obama on Monday touted his administration's use of technology and data analysis for a more efficient government ahead of a mid-week House hearing that is likely to be critical of his administration's performance. Read More

DATA Act, Promising to Increase Federal Spending Accountability, Rises Again

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, May 17 2013

Rep. Eric Cantor & Rep. Darrell Issa at Data Demonstration Day (Flickr/Majority Leader)

Rep. Darrell Issa (R.-Calif) plans to reintroduce the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act, which aims to open up and standardize the federal government's spending data. The House passed an earlier version of the bill in April of 2012, but it had not moved forward in the Senate. The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which Issa chairs, has now posted a discussion draft of a new version of the legislation. The committee will begin marking up the legislation this coming Wednesday, according to Daniel Schuman, policy counsel at the Sunlight Foundation. Read More

Benghazi Becomes #Benghazi as Oversight Committee Streams Hearing Online

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, May 8 2013

The House Oversight Committee is streaming its Wednesday proceedings live as committee members hear testimony from State Department personnel concerning the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks. The hearing is being broadcast live over YouTube and, as of this writing, has more than 2,800 simultaneous viewers. Read More

Redditors Suspicious Of Congressman Issa's No New Internet Regs Proposal

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, November 29 2012

Congressman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)'s Legislative Director Laurent Crenshaw and Issa at a PDF cocktail party this June

Several Redditors reacted skeptically Wednesday to California House Republican Darrell Issa's town-hall visit to the online forum advocating a new bill that would put a two-year moratorium on new Internet regulations. Read More

A Platform for Open Bill Markup Is Now Open Source

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, September 12 2012

When House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa announced that he was rolling out a platform for collaborative bill markup, called MADISON, in conjunction with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), his staff assured techPresident that it would be released as open source — sometime.

That time has come. Yesterday, the Open Gov Foundation, an outgrowth of Issa and Wyden's partnership that was announced at Personal Democracy Forum earlier this year, posted the code for MADISON to GitHub.Read More

Timeline Update: January 17, 1994--Carl Malamud Launches Free Online Access to SEC EDGAR Records

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, August 17 2012

Soon after launching the Politics and the Internet timeline, we saw a tweet from long-time tech publisher and visionary Tim O'Reilly, retweeting a plug from Rep. Darrell Issa, but adding "Alas, omits @carlmalamud's work RT @DarrellIssa: An interactive history of the Internet & politics..." I immediately responded that it was an unintentional oversight, as Malamud is truly the modern open data movement's founding father. Here's the update to the timeline, which was just added. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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