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

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

WeGov

Slovenian Pirates Might Be Tested Sooner Than Expected

BY Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, January 16 2013

Photo of Slovenian Pirates from the Pirate Times

The Pirate Party of Slovenia (Piratska stranka Slovenije) started, as in most countries, as a movement focused on digital issues and it has been around for three years now. But countrywide protests against austerity and political corruption — and, possibly, upcoming elections — might force them to test their strength sooner than planned. Read More

WeGov

In Egypt, the Government Issues Official Announcements on Facebook

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, December 17 2012

Cairo protester's sign says "no to the constitution" (credit: Hossam El Hamalawy)

Last week the Egyptian government announced draconian tax increases and subsidy reductions that caused a huge wave of protest. Within hours, the president revoked the announcement — in the middle of the night, on Facebook. Read More

Did That Really Happen? A 2012 Tech-Politics News Quiz

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 17 2012

It's Friday afternoon and some folks think the world is supposed to end today, so we thought, while we wait for the apocalypse, why not make it fun to relive the highlights of the last year? What really did or didn't happen in the world of tech-politics last year? This quiz covers the hard questions. So, for your pleasure and amusement, try to match your wits against ours. No cheating. Answers at the bottom of the post. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

GO

thursday >

NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

GO

More