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Bringing Blogging's Energy to the Department of, Well, You Know

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, July 20 2010

Energy Secretary Steven Chu -- seen here touring the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, in 2009 -- is now blogger Steven Chu. Read More

Disaster Victims Given a Mobile Way to Say They Need Help

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, July 19 2010

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, aka FEMA, has set up a way for people in disaster zones to register for assistance using their mobile phones. Read More

State Dept. Guides Staff on Being Diplomatic Online

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, July 12 2010

The U.S. State Department in Washington DC; photo by NCinDC Read More

Headed West to Twitter, Katie Stanton Reflects on Washington

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, July 9 2010

Stanton on a State Department trip to China in May, led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (To Stanton's left is Under Secretary of State Robert Hormats.) Read More

Uncle Sam's App Store

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, July 2 2010

USA.gov has gotten an overhaul just in time for July 4th. GovExec's Aliya Sternstein has all the tasty details of the redesigned and relaunched site, meant to serve as a central online doorway to all the information and ... Read More

White House Announces New Cookie Policy. Of Some Sort.

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, June 25 2010

Hours ago, the Obama White House issued a new policy on how the federal government thinks about online "cookies," and other aspects of the modern digital experience with privacy implications. From the OMB memo ... Read More

It's Health Data Day

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, June 2 2010

O'Reilly Radar's Alex Howard has a run down of what's on the table today as the Department of Health and Human Services and Institute of Medicine holds a Community Health Data Forum. Read More

Government Websites Gone Bad

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, April 13 2010

Credit: Time.gov A correspondent who is savvy on the ways of both technology and government writes in to note that he's found a federal government website that he judges to be even more in need of a redesign than the F ... Read More

News Briefs

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Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

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wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

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The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

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tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

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Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

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monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

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