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WeGov

More Evidence That MOOCs Are Not Great Equalizers

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, March 17 2014

A survey by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania reveals that the majority of students enrolled in Coursera's massive open online courses or MOOCs are employed, degree-holding men.

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WeGov

The UAE Wants to Speed Up Government Service Delivery With Drones

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 25 2014

Screenshot of Netflix's (fake) "Drone2Home" program

Earlier this month Netflix released a short mock commercial poking fun at Amazon's plans to create a drone delivery service called Prime Air.

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WeGov

Twitter Angling For More International Users

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, December 6 2013

Twitter on any phone, even the 'dumb' ones (Flickr/Angga Satriya)

Twitter is following Facebook and Google's lead in creating an avenue for feature phone users to access their service, even without an Internet connection. They have partnered with the Singapore-based company U2opia Mobile, Reuters reports.

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WeGov

Global Web Index Points to Social Media's Political Power But Shows Risks of Online Surveillance and Unequal Access

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, November 22 2013

(Web Foundation)

A new Web Index released by the World Wide Web Foundation finds that Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States rank highest in a measure of how the web contributes to development and the fulfillment of basic human rights and spurs political mobilization in 81 countries, but raises concerns about the growing risks of state surveillance and unequal online access to information online. Read More

WeGov

Social Change Is What Happens When You're Busy Making Other Plans

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, November 19 2013

Cover image courtesy of Ken Banks

During his time as a fellow at Stanford University in 2007, Ken Banks noticed a growing number of students going to school to study social innovation and social entrepreneurship. “Then they leave the gates of the building and go 'Right, what can I fix?'”

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WeGov

Will The Shift To E-Gov't Decrease Corruption in Kenya?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, November 7 2013

"Complaint box for corruption." (Flickr/watchsmart)

Today Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the first e-government service center in Nairobi. The Huduma—which is Swahili for service—Centers are supposed to be “one-stop shop[s]” for government services like seasonal parking tickets, student loan applications, reporting corruption and drivers licenses, among others.

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WeGov

Rwandapedia: Their Story, Their Way

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, November 7 2013

Rwandan Flag (Wikipedia)

Last week at the Transform Africa Summit, a conference centered on development and ICT, Rwanda launched a digital archive called Rwandapedia, a collection of cultural and historical information about the country. The site as it is now focuses on the past 20 years, after the genocide in 1994. However, much like the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Rwandapedia is a platform through which anyone can submit stories and material, and will eventually encompass a much deeper history.

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WeGov

Piggybacking on Corporations to Distribute Humanitarian Aid

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, November 6 2013

The ubiquitous Coca-Cola logo (Wikipedia)

Why is it that you can by a Coke nearly everywhere in the world, even in the most remote developing country, but in many of those same locations one in nine children die from preventable illnesses like dehydration from diarrhea before their fifth birthday? That was what the founders of the organization ColaLife wondered when they came up with the idea for Kit Yamoyo, an anti-dehydration kit that piggybacks on existing Coca-Cola distribution networks to get the solution to those in need.

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WeGov

The World Bank's Lo-Tech Open Data Experiment

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 30 2013

Although the open data movement is associated with the Internet and tech-savvy types, an estimated 65 percent of the world's population remains entirely offline. As part of their ongoing push to open up development data, the World Bank has tested initiatives in remote communities to see how open data could be used offline. They wanted to put the assumption that open data is too difficult to understand (especially without the advantage of computer literacy) to the test.

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WeGov

"Dumbphones" To Get A Bit Smarter With Wikipedia Zero

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, October 28 2013

Times have been tough for Wikipedia. Earlier in October the Wikimedia Foundation disabled a ring of more than 250 fake accounts used by a public relations firm to write and edit company pages. The scandal has prompted at least one writer to wonder if Wikipedia is getting worse. Other have pointed to the fact that there are 20,000 fewer active contributing editors now than in 2007, and blame the “crushing bureaucracy” and “abrasive atmosphere” created by the current collective, which is 90 percent male. In spite of the recent bad press, the beleaguered site has announced a new pilot program called Wikipedia Zero, which will provide access to 70 million new users without computers, smartphones or data plans.

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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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