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First POST: Astonishing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 31 2014

Debating how (or if) Twitter should police abusive behavior; Facebook launches Internet.org; an update on the Detroit Water Project; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Angry News Feed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, July 23 2014

How Facebook's News Feed may be accentuating negative political polarization; new tools for visualizing political corruption; how posting your cat's photo online gives away your location; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Fingerprints and Fire Insurance

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 18 2014

How the NSA and GCHQ targeted WikiLeaks, Anonymous and Pirate Bay; why collecting Americans' phone metadata is just like fingerprinting and buying fire insurance; how the paper lobby is hoping to keep the government from going online; and much, much more. Read More

Detroit Ledger Tracks Detroit's Civic Foundation Complex

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, December 17 2013

Screenshot from Detroit Ledger

Detroit filed the largest municipal bankruptcy ever in July, but for years now private foundations have attempted to fill the city’s public service gap with their own money, and their own agendas. Foundations like Ford, Knight, Kresge, and Skillman are investing hundreds of millions dollars to address the city’s failing schools, starving economy, and rescue its orphaned art collection. While foundational cash is preferable to a public service vacuum, it raises questions about access, influence, and accountability. Read More

Detroit Residents Can Now Track Buses in Real Time

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, September 5 2012

Detroit's brochure explains how its new text-messaging bus arrival time information system works

Code for America and Detroit enable real-time bus arrival information via text messaging. Read More

From Detroit, a Dispatch on Bridging the Digital Divide

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, April 11 2012

Detroit at night, 2008. Photo: Ed Schipul

As more and more people become a part of what a 2011 McKinsey report called "the $8 trillion global economy," broadband access and digital literacy in many areas of the United States remain low. In search of ways to avoid leaving Americans behind as the economy moves online, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation awarded an $810,000 grant in September 2009 to Community Telecommunications Network, a Detroit, Mich. nonprofit. After three years of work, a new report shows how hard that can be. Read More

Code for America Will Send Geeks for a Year of Service in Philly, Detroit, and Macon

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, September 7 2011

Programmers and other technologists will spend a year in city halls in Philadelphia, Penn., Macon, Ga., and Detroit, Mich. next year as part of the Code for America fellowship program, the organization announced ... Read More

News Briefs

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In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

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NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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