Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Triple Play Special

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, February 14 2014

More on Comcast-TimeWarner; TED and TEDWomen's policy against bringing up abortion?!; and is social media making it harder for NGOs to get attention for their causes?; and much much more. Read More

First POST: Fight Club

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 11 2014

More than 6,000 websites and organizations are "fighting back" against NSA mass surveillance today; Not included among them, Wikipedia, which was critical to the anti-SOPA/PIPA coalition; a new mobile app Secret seems in tune with the new privacy zeitgeist, or is it?, and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Collections

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 13 2014

The collection of phone meta-data would not have stopped any terrorist attacks since 9-11, says a New America Foundation study; Christie's aides are hardly the only political hacks using personal email to avoid public records laws; Matthew Burton explains how the CFPB's experience can help other govies make better web products; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Broken Heroes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, January 9 2014

Chris Christie's political career threatened by a traffic scandal of his staff's own making; Cory Doctorow and Albert Wenger fear that 2014 may be the year we lose the open web; Upworthy shares what was most shared in 2013; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Kludgeocracy

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 17 2013

Some shocking remarks from a top Silicon Valley VC about the government shutdown; more details on Pierre Omidyar's new online journalism endeavor with Glenn Greenwald; Code for America is thinking about how to help cities go "beyond transparency"; and much, much more. Read More

Democratic Promise: Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

BY Micah L. Sifry | Saturday, January 12 2013

Aaron Swartz at a Boston Wikipedia Meetup, August 2009, By Sage Ross.

Aaron Swartz, a leading activist for open information, internet freedom, and democracy, died at his own hand Friday January 11. He was 26 years old. There is no single comprehensive list of his good works, but here are some of them: At the age of 14 he co-authored the RSS 1.0 spec--taking brilliant advantage of the fact that internet working groups didn't care if someone was 14, they only cared if their code worked. Then he met Larry Lessig and worked closely with him on the early architecting of Creative Commons, an immense gift to all kinds of sharing of culture. He also was the architect and first coder of the Internet Archive's OpenLibrary.org, which now has made more than one million books freely available to anyone with an internet connection. "We couldn't have come this far without his crucial expertise," Open Library says on its about page. He also co-founded Reddit.com, the social news site, and Demand Progress, an online progressive action group that played a vital role in the anti-SOPA/PIPA fight. He also contributed occasionally to Personal Democracy Forum, writing this article on why wikis work and this essay on "parpolity" or the idea that nested councils of elected representatives could be used to represent a whole country, for our 2008 book, Rebooting America. He was a fellow traveler. Read More

As Controversial Cybersecurity Legislation Moves Through House, Activists Make a Quiet Start

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, April 18 2012

Image: The growing Internet citizenry is using sarcasm, wit and Twitter to draw attention to a controversial cybersecurity bill

After Internet businesses and activists forced the halt of the Stop Online Piracy Act, it seemed as if a new political force had come alive to advocate on Capitol Hill for an Internet with hard limits on government surveillance and a structure that favored free access to information over centralized control. But faced with new cybersecurity legislation that civil liberties groups say would contribute to exactly the opposite, the headline-grabbing protests that defeated SOPA are nowhere to be seen. So what's happening? Read More

Activists Plan Protests Against House Internet Surveillance Bill "CISPA"

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, April 11 2012

Image: Shutterstock/Arena Creative

Many of the same organizations that planned the Internet-wide protests that killed the Stop Online Piracy Act are gearing up to launch another high profile demonstration against a controversial piece of cybersecurity legislation that is speeding towards the House floor.

Read More

Editorial: How @Google And Friends Can Build Local Internet Power

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, March 26 2012

Poster from Google's Take Action page against SOPA/PIPA

Just over two months ago, somewhere around 10 million people emailed, called, faxed and otherwise cajoled their Members of Congress to express their opposition to the Stop Online Privacy (SOPA) and Protect IP (PIPA) Acts. An approximated 115,000 websites either went "dark" or joined the campaign in related ways, with Google, Wikipedia, Firefox, Wordpress, and Tumblr all playing leading roles. In two days, legislation that had been moving through Congress like a dose of salts was withdrawn from consideration, with dozens of Members suddenly announcing their opposition, including many who had originally supported the bills. The Internet had won, at least this once. Micah Sifry asks, now what? He writes: "We urgently need a conversation about one other huge piece of the puzzle: What's going to happen with all those email addresses Google and the other anti-SOPA groups collected from people who responded to their call to action on January 18th?" Read More

With Internet Companies In the Fight, Battle Over SOPA Legislation Continues This Week

BY Miranda Neubauer and Nick Judd | Monday, December 12 2011

Photo: ToGa Wanderings / Flickr

After a coalition of advocacy groups and Internet companies worked together to raise awareness about the Stop Online Piracy Act beginning Nov. 16, they are now gearing up for another push to online action this week as the House Judiciary Committee is expected to mark up the bill on Thursday.

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

More