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After a Lackluster Election Year, Votizen Acquired by Causes.com

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, January 11 2013

Left to right: Now on the same team: David Binetti, Matt Mahan and Jason Putorti. Photo: Causes.com

Votizen made a splash in 2011 when it debuted as part of San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's election campaign. The tool was one of the first platforms to explore social voting — asking supporters of a candidate or cause to reach out to eligible voters from among their friends on social networks. But while major political parties and issue campaigns picked up some of Votizen's competitors, their platform's growth chart looks kind of flat: A modest 100,000 users and 200 paying customers as of shortly after election day.

So maybe it should be no surprise that Votizen will no longer be flying solo. On Thursday, the social activism and online petitioning website Causes.com announced it would acquire the company under undisclosed terms. All user activity from 2012 will be wiped from the platform — but Causes.com will pick up all eight of the company's staff in the deal.

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Campaigns & Elections Magazine Announces "CampaignTech Innovators"

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, April 5 2012

Campaigns & Elections magazine has announced its 2012 CampaignTech Innovators in the areas of campaigns, advocacy, Capitol Hill and nonpartisan innovation. Candidates are nominated by their peers. The winners "all demonstrate a visionary approach to the future of digital politics and advocacy," according to Campaigns and Elections. The recipients will officially receive the awards on April 19 at the CampaignTech Conference in Washington D.C., and most of the names will be familiar to regular techPresident readers. Read More

Votizen and DemDash: Can They Make Voting Social?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 4 2011

Can we make voting for candidates and advocating for issues more social? And more specifically, can we make the whole process of supporting and endorsing candidates in advance of an election, or promoting a position on a ... Read More

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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