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First POST: Impacts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, February 9 2015

Why it's a bad idea to ban strong encryption; lessons from the rollout of Google Fiber in Kansas City; lessons from the first five years of Code for America; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Participatory Budgeting Working in Brazil, Study Finds

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, January 27 2014

Accounting ledger (melstampz/Flickr)

A study released at the end of last year shows that Participatory Budgeting (PB) in Brazil “generate[s] meaningful change” and has a quantifiably positive impact on cities.

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WeGov

The Buenos Aires Net Party: Weaving a Bridge Between the Click and the Vote

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, January 13 2014

The Net Party wants to change government from the inside out (credit: El Partido de La Red)

If you had strolled past the Legislature Palace of the City of Buenos Aires some time in October of last year, you might have seen a towering Trojan horse made of wooden slats taken in tow by a SUV and a group of activists from the nascent El Partido de La Red or Net Party. Rather than housing a lethal subset of the Grecian army, the statue carried ideas from the citizens of Buenos Aires on improving their city government. The Net Party is the city’s newest party and first dabble into direct democracy. Read More

WeGov

Can the Internet Improve Democracy? Thoughts on the 2013 World Forum for Democracy

BY WeGov | Friday, December 6 2013

Just another gathering? (Credit: Wikimedia)

The list of online democratic platforms has swelled in just the last few years. Germany's Pirate Party, Italy's Five Star Movement and Iceland's Citizens Foundation are just a few examples of civic groups that have expressed dissatisfaction with the status quo and have attempted to solve the inadequacies and inefficiencies of government through technology. Over Thanksgiving weekend, the Council of Europe held its second annual World Forum for Democracy, gathering over thousands from civil society, government and the media to discuss the effect of the Internet on democracy. What exactly did the forum accomplish? Did it have a productive impact on the discussion of democracy and the Internet? Two practitioners who attended the forum weigh in. Read More

WeGov

Making All Voices Count: Getting Governments to Respond to Citizen Feedback

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 2 2013

Government transparency and civic engagement are all well and good, of course, but it's only when governments respond to citizen feedback that palpable change can take place in societies. That is the driving idea behind Making All Voices Count, an initiative backed by a consortium of civil society organizations which will provide funding for projects tackling “citizen action and government responsiveness" in order to "close the feedback loop." This initiative will pack a punch: they have $45 million bucks behind them. They are soliciting the first round of proposals now, due by November 8, so we contacted director Marjan Besuijen to learn more.

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WeGov

How Did A Spanish Lawmaker's First Experiment in Direct Democracy Fare?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, September 18 2013

Screenshot of Congreso Transparente

A Spanish lawmaker reached out through the Internet to ask citizens how he should vote on Spain's new transparency bill, which was passed in parliament on September 12. Joan Baldoví promised voters he would vote along with the majority of respondents. It was the first time a Spanish politician has experimented with direct democracy.

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Geeks "UnCaucus" for the Next Mayor of Providence

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, May 24 2010

The "UnCaucus" is a collection of Rhode Island geeks, activists, and other creative types who have come together to vet the men and women who want to be the next mayor of Providence -- and to help them ... Read More

Participatory Government's Growing Pains? Evolving from Direct Democracy to Citizen Lobbying

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, March 23 2009

Apps for Democracy, the programming contest that may well have put Vivek Kundra within spitting distance of the Oval Office, is talked about as one of the success stories of Internet-enabled participatory democracy. And ... Read More