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First POST: Trafficking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, June 23 2014

Booker-Rubio bill to expand Wi-Fi spectrum launches; House members cryptoparty on the Hill; Chicago's new sensor network has fans and detractors; and much, much more. Read More

How the White House Petition Site is Becoming a Digital Public Square

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 23 2013

Click throughs on the White House response to the "Death Star" petition

Most of the time, there is a huge disconnect between government and public. For years governments in the United States and Europe have been throwing money (away) at so-called e-government initiatives aimed at engaging the public, with the primary result of fattening lots of consultants' and designers' wallets. Most "e-government" platforms are relative ghost-towns. Meanwhile, as the Pew Center on the Internet & Public Life keeps reporting, the level of public discussion of politics online keeps rising--just not in places where it connects in any meaningful way with actual decision-makers. The "We the People" site is an important and growing exception to that rule. Read More

WeGov

How "We The People," the White House e-Petition Site, Could Help Form a More Perfect Union

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 20 2012

With nearly one million people signing petitions on the White House's "We the People" e-petition site calling for their state to secede from the Union, it's tempting to dismiss the platform as a lightning rod for the most disaffected Americans. But people petitioning the government could also be invited into a new kind of civic dialogue, one that might build on what "We the People" already promises: an official reply from the powers-that-be. Freed from the demands of another election and blessed with some of the smartest technologists in the country, the Obama Administration could use "We the People" to begin the work of constructing a real digital public square, not just another e-Potemkin village. Will they? Read More

A Dispatch From a Project to Build Wired Neighborhoods

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 9 2012

A new report documents the efforts of a group advocating for online spaces for civic life to build Internet forums for diverse, low-income communities online. Much of the report focuses on the challenges and the opportunities for growing the forums, and how both offline and online outreach played a key role. It also raises an interesting question: In tight-knit communities that have long held together offline, why ask members to go online at all? Read More

Using an Online Forum, One Woman Describes Coping With a Sexual Assault

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, November 30 2010

"I want to tell you that my children and I are doing quite well considering that we had a gun held to our chests only three days ago," the message read, in a simple sans-serif font. A person named Alexandra Ellison ... Read More

eDem10: A Look at Best Methods for Democratic (and Undemocratic) e-Participation

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 6 2010

I'm in Krems, Austria for the two-day eDemocracy2010 conference (hashtag #eDem10), where I'll be giving a keynote talk tomorrow on "The Promise and Contradictions of e-Democracy, Obama-Style." The conference brings ... Read More

Let Congress Tele-commute: A Radical, Common-Sense Proposal to Transform Representative Government

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, February 19 2010

If you haven't noticed already, I like "crazy" ideas. That is, notions that may appear like they come from outside the ballpark, but have a germ of possibility and suggest, "There might be a better way to do things than ... Read More

Today's Obama-YouTube Q&A: Moving the Ball Forward [UPDATED]

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, February 1 2010

Today's YouTube event at the White House, starring President Obama, CitizenTube director Steve Grove, and a bunch of user-generated questions from the public, has to be judged a success, in my view. Read More

MoveOn.org Doing Real-Time Mass Dial-Test of Obama SOTU

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 27 2010

MoveOn.org, the five-million member e-organization of progressive activists, is doing something really interesting with its members tonight: thousands of them are going to be participating in a live online dial-test of ... Read More

Use Your iPhone to Sign a Ballot Initiative: Test Case Launches in CA

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 5 2010

If you can sign an electronic pad at the supermarket to pay your credit card bill, why can't you sign the touch-screen of your iPhone to sign a political petition? That question is now being put to the test by the ... Read More

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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