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Right2Water Citizens’ Initiative Gets Unsatisfactory Response: A Failure For Participation in the EU?

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, March 26 2014

The Right2Water campaigners [Flickr: gruenebayern (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)]

"Water and sanitation are a human right! Water is a public good, not a commodity!" This is not a sign that could be seen in a street protest, but the title of a petition that recently gathered 1.6 million online signatures among European citizens and was presented to the European Commission earlier this year. This was also the first official effort of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), a petition instrument created by the EU in order to give citizens a way to push requests and issues that they care about to the attention of the EU institutions. But, as the European Commission issued an official response that proved non-committal and unsatisfactory to the committee, the issue also seem to now extend to the effectiveness of the ECI itself. Read More

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

An Accidental Ally For the European Union: “Thank you, Mr. Snowden,” says European Commission VP Reding in Hangout Debate

BY Antonella Napolitano | Thursday, January 9 2014

Screenshot of the hangout debate with European Commission VP Viviane Reding

The year 2013 was a "Year for the Citizens" in the European Union where the institution pledged itself to "encourage dialogue between all levels of government, civil society, and business." But in many countries citizens were more hostile than open to communicating with an institution often perceived as distant and intrusive. That's probably one of the reasons why the European Commission is launching a series of online initiatives to create a space for debate with the most important members of the European institutions. Last Tuesday, the Vice President of the European Commission Viviane Reding hosted an online debate on Google hangout, joined by five journalists and activists from all over Europe.

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EU Needs One Telco Market to Rule Them All, Says EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, May 30 2013

EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes called on the European Parliament to pass legislation to guarantee net neutrality and end mobile roaming costs within the next year as part of an effort to achieve a true European single market and engage EU citizens politically. Read More

European Parliament does not refer ACTA to Court of Justice, Final Vote Set in June

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, March 28 2012

Yesterday, the European Parliament's International Trade Committee (INTA) voted against the referral of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the highest court in matters of European Union law. The European Commission, the EU's executive body, already indicated it would refer the agreement to the Court a month ago, in order to assess whether ACTA is incompatible with the European Union’s fundamental rights. The commission's referral won't delay the parliament, the EU's legislative body, from voting to ratify the treaty. Read More

First POST: All Shook Up

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, March 22 2012

Photo: Flickr/DonkeyHotey

Today's news: A round-up of reactions to Romney Adviser Eric Fehrnstrom's comment about campaigns being like Etch-A-Sketch; Nielsen shares its findings about the demographics of the presidential candidates' online audience; a look at Harry Potter activism; more on Kony 2012; and New York City wants to run its own TLD. Read More

The European Citizens' Initiative: a New Way to Shape up Debates?

BY Antonella Napolitano | Thursday, March 15 2012

The deliver of the Avaaz.org petition against ACTA. Photo European Parliament /Flickr

Starting next April 1st, European citizens will have another tool to be part of a public debate in a more substantial way, thanks to the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), a form of petition that will allow them to propose legislation to the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union. Will it be a new way to shape up political debates in the European Union? Read More

As Public ACTA Debate Begins, Controversy Remains

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, March 5 2012

A March 1 workshop on ACTA held by Parliament's trade committee. Photo: European Parliament

The European conversation over a controversial trade agreement has become laden with "organized misinformation," EU Commissioner for Trade Karel de Gucht said Saturday. De Gucht's comments come after his attendance at a March 1 workshop hosted by the parliament's trade committee, the primary venue for discussion of ACTA in the EU's popularly elected body. It was an opportunity for opponents of the treaty to weigh in on its provisions. Read More

Momentum Builds in Europe Against Controversial Treaty on Copyright, Counterfeiting

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, February 13 2012

Anti-ACTA protest in Frankfurt, Germany. Photo:Stopped / Flickr

Last Saturday, thousands of people rallied all over Europe to protest against the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a controversial treaty that would set new international standards for dealing with copyright infringement and other copyright claims. Read More

The Europe Roundup: More Protests and Halts to ACTA Ratifications

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, February 7 2012

Anti-ACTA protest, Slovenia. Photo: Šiško

In Europe, protests against the ratification of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement are not stopping, while some EU countries are instead halting the ratification of the treaty. In the UK, the Supreme Court is using Twitter to update on the Supreme Court's judgments in real time. 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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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

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