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First POST: Decay

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 21 2014

The USA Freedom Act surveillance reform bill is getting watered down; Data.gov's 5th anniversary is no cause for celebration; Iran cracks down on "Happy" YouTube video sharers; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Civics Lessons

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, May 5 2014

Code for America wants civic tech to work for everyone, not just City Hall; how Netflix faces an uphill battle for influence in Washington, DC; why Bitcoin is a scam; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Civics Lessons

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, May 5 2014

Code for America wants civic tech to work for everyone, not just City Hall; how Netflix faces an uphill battle for influence in Washington, DC; why Bitcoin is a scam; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Corruption, Shmorruption!

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, April 2 2014

The Supreme Court upends the rest of the campaign finance system; Mozilla's embattled CEO makes his case; peer-to-peer mobile bluetooth messaging service FireChat takes off in Taiwan; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Can You Hear Me Now?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, December 17 2013

Federal District Court Judge Richard Leon blasts the NSA's phone metadata collection program; Edward Snowden sees vindication in the preliminary ruling; the Internet Archive unveils an amazing visualization of the "geography of US TV news"; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Taking Over

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 26 2013

How privacy concerns will fit into the next populist wave in US politics; Glenn Greenwald and Paul Carr spar; why the number of lobbyists in Washington is probably double what you think; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Reverberations

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 7 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The NSA vs the Tor Project; was Healthcare.gov just overwhelmed by unexpected demand; China's "maker" movement; the Supreme Court still "doesn't get" email; and much, much more. Read More

Disclosure: I'm Joining Public Lab's Board, and Here's Why

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 28 2013

Department of Disclosure update: I'm pleased to announce that I've joined the volunteer board of the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science. Founded in 2011 by a collective of seven, Public Lab, as it's known in short, is a community that develops and applies open-source tools to environmental exploration and investigation, like balloon mapping and kitchen-table spectrometers. By democratizing inexpensive and accessible “Do-It-Yourself” techniques, Public Laboratory is nurturing a collaborative network of practitioners who are actively re-imagining the human relationship with the environment. Read More

Posting Calendars Ain't Easy, at Least at the CFPB

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, March 25 2011

Posting the calendars of elected officials was one of the earliest calls to come out of the open government movement, but the Consumer Financial Protection Board's Matt Burton suggests one possible reason pick-up has ... Read More

Can I Get a Witness...to Declare Their Financial Ties

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, March 9 2011

From the transparency-in-action files, observed: popping up on congressional committee websites now are the "Truth in Testimony" declarations that are newly required to be posted within a day alongside ... Read More

News Briefs

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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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wednesday >

NDI Launches Open Source DemTools for International Development

Yesterday the National Democratic Institute launched a suite of web-based applications created for their partner organizations, mostly pro-democracy groups and political parties around the world. These “DemTools,” which are ready-to-use but can also be customized, will give organizations in developing countries some of the capabilities that political activists and parties in the United States have had for years. Moreover, since the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is making the promise to host partner organization's applications in the cloud essentially forever, they hope these applications will help usher in a period of more sustainable tech.

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