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WeGov

EU Net Neutrality Vote Disappoints Everyone

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, March 19 2014

McKayla is not impressed with the EU Net Neutrality law (Pete Souza / Wikipedia)

A draft law on net neutrality passed an European Parliament committee Tuesday 30 to 12, with 14 members abstaining. Although the draft law purports to protect net neutrality, it contains vague language that would allow ISPs to charge websites more for higher quality of service, provided it does not degrade other online services. This gives both industry groups and consumer watchdog groups something to complain about.

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WeGov

Gaming to Unite a Divided City in Cyprus

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, February 5 2014

The Last Divided Capital (Dan Nevill/Flickr)

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Nicosia became the last divided capital in the world. Located on the island of Cyprus, the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sections are separated by a United Nations buffer zone. A new online game allows young Nicosia residents on both sides of the divide to experience—virtually—their city as a whole, and helps them understand their shared history.

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WeGov

EU's First Anti-Corruption Report: What Role for Whistleblowers and Civil Society?

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, February 5 2014

Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malström (credit: European Parliament on Flickr - CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

There are no corruption-free zones in Europe. The bottom line of the first EU Anti-corruption report might be somewhat predictable, but it also represents a first and significant (albeit small) step to launch a debate inside the EU institutions. Read More

WeGov

"Burying" Data Until Convenient Undermines The UK's Open Data Efforts

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, January 27 2014

They don't have to bury it forever, just long enough (Marshall Astor - Food Fetishist/Flickr)

Revelations that the UK government held back crucial information about the effects of alcohol pricing on health, until a policy decision about it had gone by, have left some questioning the United Kingdom's open data program.

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WeGov

A “World First”: France's Data.Gouv.Fr Opens Platform To Citizen Submissions

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, January 7 2014

Data.Gouv.Fr is an open book, and you can help write it. (Flickr/muffin9101985)

The French task force for open government data, Etalab, launched the new open data platform in December, one that is open to submissions from anyone. This marks “a world first for a government open data portal,” write Rayna Stamboliyska and Pierre Chrzanowski, of Open Knowledge Foundation France.

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WeGov

The Five Star Movement Launches an Electronic Parliament

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, July 12 2013

A screenshot of the electronic parliament platform (image: http://www.parlamento5stelle.com/)

On July 10, the Five Star Movement (M5S) introduced its long awaited "electronic parliament" platform, Five Star Parliament, which allows citizens to vote, comment and even write pieces of legislation. M5S is an anti-government political party led by former comedian Beppe Grillo. They put out the site just weeks after 15 members of the Italian parliament had launched their own, Tu Parlamento. Five Star Parliament is currently available only to those living in Lazio but will soon launch in Lombardy and Sicily, then nationally. Read More

WeGov

Twitter a Mirror for the Turkish Press, and the Reflection Isn't Pretty

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, June 3 2013

Istanbul protestor (credit: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

While comparisons between what is happening in Istanbul now and what happened in Cairo's Tahrir Square between January and February 2011 are perhaps inevitable, they are most definitely not accurate. This is not a Turkish spring, although it might be the Turkish version of the Occupy movement. But Turkey is not Egypt and Erdogan is no Mubarak. Prime Minister Erdogan has been elected three times by popular vote and Turkey is a democracy with an ostensibly free press. How, then, to explain the near-farcical failure of the Turkish media to cover the largest spontaneous demonstrations in the country's recent history? Read More

WeGov

New Mobile App Tags Racist Graffiti For Removal

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, May 28 2013

Innocuous French graffiti via Wikipedia

Racism is reportedly on the rise in France, but an anti-racism organization has developed a mobile app that allows users to upload photos of racist graffiti and geo-locate them, making it easier for authorities to find and remove the offending tags from public buildings. LICRA, the International League Against Racism and Anti-semitism, says the app will be available June 11, and that they will work with local authorities to get the graffiti removed.

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WeGov

Denmark to Close Down on Openness in Government Administration

BY Jon Lund | Wednesday, April 24 2013

Copenhagen (credit: JamesZ_/Flickr)

A clear majority of Danish parliamentarians supports the new Freedom of Information Act, which would increase the right of government to keep internal documents and correspondence between members of the legislative and executive branches of government secret from the public. The law could prevent the media from exposing political scandals. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, and it is the civil servant culture. Read More

WeGov

Estonian President Submits Crowdsourced Proposals to Parliament

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, April 11 2013

Tallinn, capital city of Estonia (credit: Dennis Jarvis/Flickr )

This Tuesday, April 9, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves of the Republic of Estonia presented the parliament with 16 proposals generated by civilians though the online platform Rahvakogu, or People's Assembly. As he handed the proposals over, Ilves requested that legislators take them seriously. The proposals cover topics related to Estonia’s electoral laws, political party laws, such a party financing, and civil participation. As opposed to other ongoing solicitations for citizen-generated proposals and feedback, the Citizen’s Initiative Act in Finland for example, People’s Assembly will apparently be a one-time housekeeping event not a necessary permanent institution. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

Civic Hackers Call on de Blasio to Fill Technology Vacancies

New York City technology advocates on Wednesday called on the de Blasio administration to fill vacancies in top technology policy positions, expressing some frustration at the lack of a leadership team to implement a cohesive technology strategy for the city. GO

China's Porn Purge Has Only Just Begun, And Already Sina Is Stripped of Publication License

It seems that China is taking spring cleaning pretty seriously. On April 13 they launched their most recent online purge, “Cleaning the Web 2014,” which will run until November. The goal is to rid China's Internet of pornographic text, pictures, video, and ads in order to “create a healthy cyberspace.” More than 100 websites and thousands of social media accounts have already been closed, after less than a month. Today the official Xinhua news agency reported that the authorities have stripped the Internet giant Sina (of Sina Weibo, the popular microblogging site) of its online publication license. This crackdown on porn comes on the heels of a crackdown on “rumors.” Clearly, this spring cleaning isn't about pornography, it's about censorship and control.

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wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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