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What The Other Silicon Valley Immigration Group Is Doing This Month

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 16 2013

A bipartisan coalition of political advocacy, business and tech groups are moving ahead to launch a social media blitz next week designed to persuade members of the Senate to vote in favor of immigration reform ... Read More

In an Election-Year Push, Tech Entrepreneurs Lobby Congress for Tax Breaks and Immigration Changes

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, June 6 2012

Engine Advocacy in San Francisco is asking its 10,000 list members to call their members of Congress to support the StartUp Act

A bipartisan group of House members led by Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) introduced a new bill earlier this week that would address the technology industry's long-time demand for more access to high-skilled foreign labor and tax breaks that would boost startup investments, research, and development.

These are things that people in Silicon Valley have wanted for years. What's different this year is that it's an election year in a dismal economy. It also doesn't hurt that entrepreneurs and deep-pocketed venture capitalists have found themselves more and more frequently in the company of candidates looking to court their campaign donations and lawmakers sympathetic to their concerns. Tech companies have already scored wins in Washington D.C. this year in the fierce debate over copyright policy and with the passage of the JOBS Act earlier this year.

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With Newfound Influence, Will Internet Organizers Hack Politics As Usual?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, January 30 2012

MPAA Chief Chris Dodd should perhaps talk to the public via Reddit, rather than the "tech industry." Photo: Flickr/Wil Wheaton

The recent mass protests both online and off against anti-piracy legislation moving through Congress provided a tantalizing hint of the possibilities that can emerge when the powerful companies of Silicon Valley combine forces with grassroots organizers empowered with the tools of the web. Individuals from the usually disparate worlds of non-profits, venture capital, politics and programming and elsewhere united briefly for one day, took direction from more experienced activists and used the tools at their disposal to pull whatever levers they could to get their message across to legislators. Will the extraordinary success of the protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) change the one industry that has resisted the disruptive influence of the internet, the industry of lobbyists on K-Street? Or will the moment pass — to be regarded in history as quirky exception to the general rule in which lobbyists almost always emerge triumphant? Read More

Geeks Gear Up To Fight Online IP Bills, PIPA, SOPA

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, January 11 2012

Picture: Isaac Mao

Activists advocating an open Internet and worried that the Senate could fast-track a controversial online intellectual property protection bill are coalescing on the web and getting together to set up meetings with their ... 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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