Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

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

WeGov

Is This the End of Iceland's Crowdsourced Constitution?

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, April 3 2013

Icelandic citizens who drafted the constitution last year. (Skrifstofa Stjórnlagaráðs / Flickr)

When Iceland faced a fiscal catastrophe in 2008, residents took to the streets with pots and pans to demand change from the government.  Leaders in the country took the spirit of the crowd to heart. In 2011, Iceland announced that it would be crowdsourcing its next constitution, an effort that ultimately resulted in a full draft bill.  Yet amid Iceland’s election season and the turmoil to determine the country’s future, the crowdsourced constitution has now been effectively scrapped. 

Read More

WeGov

Controversy Over Egyptian Comedian Facing Gov't Prosecution Morphs into a Twitter War

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, April 2 2013

Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef (credit: Hossam El Hamalawy / Flickr)

When the Egyptian prosecutor's office summoned a famous comedian and political satirist for questioning, accusing him of insulting the president and Islam, a war of words ensued on Twitter. On one side was the U.S. State Department, in the form of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, squaring off against the Egyptian president's office and Ikhwanweb, the Muslim Brotherhood's official media wing, which has an active Twitter account. On the sidelines ordinary 'netizens queued up to cheer and jeer. Read More

A Modest Proposal: Start Facebook.org

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, March 25 2013

By Derzsi Elekes Andor via Wikimedia Commons

The news that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is working with a group of tech entrepreneurs to start a new independent political group aimed at influencing US policy on immigration and other issues prompts the following question: when is this giant social network going to start taking its own civic responsibilities more seriously, especially as it comes to how Facebook implicitly influences political processes all over the world? Read More

WeGov

Israelis and Palestinians Launch Online Campaigns Ahead of Obama's Visit

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, March 19 2013

Logo for Operation Unbreakable Alliance on the Israeli government's Facebook page.

With Barack Obama set to land in Israel tomorrow for his first official visit as president, Israelis and Palestinians have taken to the Internet to campaign for their causes and to express approval or disapproval of what the Israeli government has dubbed Operation Unbreakable Alliance . Read More

WeGov

Alec Ross, Leaving State Department for Private Sector, Talks "21st-Century Statecraft"

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, March 11 2013

State Department Senior Adviser for Innovation Alec Ross will leave government Tuesday and immediately start work on a new policy analysis and advisory shop to governments, investors, and other kinds of institutions — a company that plans to advise its clients on geopolitics in a globally networked world. In a protracted email exchange and a phone interview, Ross explained to techPresident where he thinks "21st-century statecraft" now stands and discussed his future plans. Read More

Silicon Valley Libertarians Cling to Their Guns: "Gun Control is Technology Control"

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, February 19 2013

Calguns Foundation Chairman Gene Hoffman on his semi-automatic AR-15: "It's normal." Photo: Sarah Lai Stirland

Gene Hoffman, an affable Silicon Valley entrepreneur, speaks rapidly and logically, and his hands whiz expertly around the weapon as he attaches the lower receiver into the rest of his LCW-15, a type of AR-15 rifle. At 38, he is the CEO of Vindicia, a digital subscription payments processing firm. But he's also chairman of the non-profit Calguns Foundation, which is part of a national network of gun-rights activists that are defending Second Amendment rights in court and fighting legislative battles in statehouses.

"It's weird for me to hear about technologists in the wake of Sandy Hook saying that we should ban guns -- gun control is simply technology control," Hoffman says.

I am in Hoffman's office to understand how he, and Calguns, have come to sit at the center of a network of activists that are baffling efforts to roll back the nation's gun culture and stem the spread of deadly assault weapons. Here is what I found out.

Read More

WeGov

Social Media Has Been a Mixed Blessing for the Arab Spring

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, February 15 2013

Cairo graffiti (image: Hossam El-Hamalawy/Flickr)

Two years ago, social media was the star of the Arab Spring. Today it is still important, but there is ample evidence to support the theory that it is also harmful. Read More

That Zucks? Facebook Founder's First Political Fundraiser To Be Besieged By Activists

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, February 13 2013

California activists are capitalizing on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's fundraising swing through Palo Alto Wednesday, bringing attention to the Republican's record on reproductive health services. Read More

WeGov

Kenya's First-Ever Presidential Debate Became a Significant Social Media Event

BY Sara Jerving | Wednesday, February 13 2013

Screenshot of debate organizers' Facebook page

Kenya held its first presidential debate in the country's history this Monday. Millions tuned in as candidates answered questions posed by moderators. In an interesting twist, the organizers selected both the moderators and the questions from suggestions submitted by ordinary citizens via social media platforms, SMS and email. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

NYC Politicians and Advocacy Groups Say Airbnb Misrepresents Sharing Economy

A coalition of New York election officials and affordable housing groups have launched an advocacy effort targeting Airbnb called "Share Better" that includes an ad campaign, a web platform, and social media outreach. GO

First POST: Data Dumps

The Internet Slowdown's impact on the FCC; Uber drivers try to go on strike; four kinds of civic tech; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Positive Sums

How Teachout won some wealthy districts while Cuomo won some poor ones; DailyKos's explosive traffic growth; using Facebook for voter targeting; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Emergence

Evaluating the Teachout-Wu challenge; net neutrality defenders invoke an "internet slowdown"; NYC's first CTO; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

De Blasio Names Minerva Tantoco First New York City CTO

Mayor Bill de Blasio named Minerva Tantoco as first New York City CTO Tuesday night in an announcement that was greeted with applause and cheers at the September meeting of the New York Tech Meet-Up. In his remarks, De Blasio said her task would be to develop a coordinated strategy for technology and innovation as it affects the city as a whole and the role of technology in all aspects of civic life from the economy and schools to civic participation, leading to a "redemocratization of society." He called Tantoco the perfect fit for the position as a somebody who is "great with technology, has a lot of experience, abiltiy and energy and ability to create from scratch and is a true New Yorker." GO

First POST: Fusion Politics

The Teachout-Wu Cuomo-Hochul race as it comes to a close; more criticism for Reddit as it prepares a major new round of funding; First Lady Michelle Obama as an Upworthy curator; and much, much more. GO

More