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First POST: Leaders

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 9 2014

Why the government shouldn't have a backdoor to your encrypted smartphone; 2016 hopeful Martin O'Malley on Wi-Fi as a human right; Mark Zuckerberg in India says the Internet access is a human right; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Wartime

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 24 2014

A bizarre online marketing effort targets actress Emma Watson; why the news media needs to defend the privacy of its online readers; Chicago's playbook for civic user testing; and much, much more. Read More

Civic Tech and Engagement: In Search of a Common Language

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 5 2014

Marten van Valkenborsch, Construction of the Tower of Babel (c. 1600)

We need much clearer language to describe civic tech. Too often, people working in this field struggle to put into words what it is they are striving for. It's not enough to assume that, like the Supreme Court and obscenity, we know good civic tech when we see it. And if we can't say why something is good (or even great), how can we know what to design for? Indeed, how do we even know if we're after the same design goals? Read More

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

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

First POST: Reminders

Why the RNC hasn't managed to reboot how Republican campaigns use voter data; new ways of using phone banking to get out the vote; how the UK's digital director is still ahead of the e-govt curve; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Patient Zero

Monica Lewinsky emerges with a mission to fight cyber-bullying; Marc Andreessen explains his political philosophy; tech donors to MayDay PAC get pushback from Congressional incumbents; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Front Pagers

How Facebook's trending topics feed is wrecking political news; debating the FBI's need for an encrypted phone "backdoor"; democratizing crisis data; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Tracking

Questions about whether Whisper is secretly tracking its users' secrets; the FBI's continued push against the new wave of encrypted phones; community service, high-tech-mogul-style; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hosts

Airbnb in hot water in NYC; Knight Prototype Fund backs some civic tech projects; pondering Google's position on net neutrality; and much, much more. GO

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