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Commenters Chew Over Fed's Mortgage Form Mock-Ups

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, May 20 2011

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is asking citizens and industry to design a new simplified single mortgage disclosure form. Earlier this week, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched an innovative ... Read More

Citizens, Lend CFPB Your Design Chops

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, May 18 2011

Over at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, that agency-in-the-works headed up by Elizabeth Warren, they're rolling out a especially creative approach to citizen feedback. Over on ConsumerFinance.gov, they're ... Read More

2012, Now with More Serifs

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, May 12 2011

The Obama campaign's new Gotham font, which has serifs that its 2008 version didn't. In a roundup of their tour of Obama '12's Chicago headquarters, Politico's Ben Smith and Byron Tau bring us back this on the ... Read More

This New House.gov

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, April 21 2011

The new House.gov, now in a public testing period. The House of Representatives is previewing what its online home will soon look like. Out with the old, in with the new House.gov. After a period of public feedback, the ... Read More

Energy.gov Gets a Facelift for the Short Term

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, January 10 2011

A facelifted Energy.gov, unveiled today. Read More

Democrats, the Logos

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, September 15 2010

The Morale Boost of a Website Reboot

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, September 8 2010

Last June, Peter Levin was pulled from the private sector into the Department of Veterans Affairs (a.k.a. the VA) to figure out how the agency could harness technology to better serve the country's many veterans. Read More

SwiftRiver: Keeping Your Head Above Data

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, September 1 2010

From the folks behind the crowd-sourcing reporting system Ushahidi comes an announcement that a brand-new version of SwiftRiver has launched. SwiftWha? Here's the scoop: Read More

News Briefs

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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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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

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