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First POST: Power Brokers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, July 21 2014

Why Microsoft's Bradford Smith is so influential in tech policy; the split between DailyKos and Netroots Nation; how the GOP is wooing conservative and libertarian techies; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Weird Nerds

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, March 19 2014

The NSA can collect a whole country's phone conversations (not just metadata); Edward Snowden gets his 15 minutes of TED fame; the evolving etiquette of quoting public Tweets; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Done In By Data

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, January 10 2014

Are meaningful reforms of the NSA coming?; How Silicon Valley became "the man"; why municipal broadband should be embraced in New York City; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Accomplishments

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, January 2 2014

Must-reads from the end of the year; The New York Times calls for clemency for Edward Snowden; the Commotion 1.0 mesh networking toolkit launches; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Not Psyched

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, September 12 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Mark Zuckerberg and Marissa Mayer offer their responses to the NSA revelations; the "tech intellectuals" get their academic review; educational technology moves in on public schools; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Egypt

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, August 15 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Reacting to the massacres in Egypt; Bradley Manning apologizes; Pew Internet says the kids are all right; and much, much more. Read More

Ender's Game: The Problem With "The End of History" In Technology Debates

BY Nick Judd | Monday, April 29 2013

Why do some writers insist on treating the end of the 20th century like an intellectual black hole, capturing all ideas that enter and preventing new ones from escape? A more interconnected global society, influenced by Internet communications technology, is now part of the world — but a virulent strain of bad rhetoric seems set on preventing anyone from leveling a genuine critique about what that might mean. Read More

Book Review: Evgeny Morozov Doth Protest Too Much

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 9 2013

By Chatham House, via Wikimedia Commons

According to Evgeny Morozov, the world has gone crazy and he's one of the few sane people left. His strange new book, "To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism," goes so far to build up straw men for his attacks that he suggests contemporary technologists would have ensured Rosa Parks could never have committed her legendary act of civil disobedience. And it gets worse ... Read More

Liberation Technology: Three Studies Examine the Impact of Social Media on Popular Uprisings

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, July 17 2012

It's hard to deny that social media affected Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring uprisings, the student protest movement in Chile, Yo Soy 132 in Mexico and the social justice movement in Israel, but there's plenty of controversy over how and why social media mattered. Were Facebook, Twitter and YouTube mobilizing tools that brought people to the streets? Or were social media platforms just useful platforms for broadcasting information about revolutions that were actually mobilized through traditional grassroots means? On these questions, two papers and one book recently caught our attention. Read More

Worth Watching: Pariser, Vaidhyanathan, Morozov and Weisberg On Whether the Internet is Closing Our Minds

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, April 18 2012

They say that anyone who knows what's good for him will avoid arguing on the Internet.

But what of arguing about the Internet?

That's what four net-centric thinkers — MoveOn.org board president Eli Pariser, "Googlization of Everything" author Siva Vaidhyanathan, Slate's Jacob Weisberg and "Net Delusion" author Evgeny Morozov — did Tuesday at an Oxford-style debate organized by Intelligence Squared U.S. and held here in New York. At issue: "When it Comes to Politics, The Internet is Closing Our Minds.”

Pariser — author of "The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You" — and Vaidhyanathan argued in favor and won by moving 25 percent of attendees over to their position.

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News Briefs

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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

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