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In Pursuit of a Tech Answer to Gerrymandering, Good-Government Groups Must Wait Another Ten Years

BY Nick Judd | Monday, February 6 2012

This 1812 cartoon from the Boston Gazette is widely credited as the origin of the term "Gerrymander." Source: Wikimedia Commons

This year, advocates for more public inclusion in the redistricting process put an idea to the test: That open-source software and voter outreach efforts could make people more aware and more involved. The idea here was that new tools would make maps easier to draw and even easier to understand, creating, at worst, evidence that lawmakers involved in redistricting were not drawing the right maps, and, at best, alternatives. Read More

Citizen-Sourced Redistricting Efforts Are Reaching the Finish Line

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, September 8 2011

FixPhillyDistricts.com Philadelphia's City Council is expected to propose on Thursday a new set of political borders to last the city through the next ten years — and the results will be a barometer of success for ... Read More

Gathering Support to Fix Philly's Political Borders

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, August 9 2011

A citizen-led effort to take the reins in redrawing Philadelphia's political lines has already attracted a surprising amount of support, and one city official's promise to listen. In response to widespread pressure to ... Read More

Playing Citizen-Redistricter in the District

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, March 25 2011

The 2010 U.S. Census data that will power redistricting efforts across the U.S. dropped yesterday. It's cliched, but true, to say that we, normal folk, have more powerful tools to work with and interpret that data than ... Read More

Lines, Lines, Everywhere Lines

BY Nick Judd | Friday, February 4 2011

The U.S. Census Bureau is beginning to release local census data describing the people who live in each state of the union, which means that states across the country will set to work redrawing the lines that determine ... Read More

Wasilla's Up with Alaska's Redistricting Process?

BY Nick Judd | Monday, January 24 2011

This is Portage Glacier near Whittier, Alaska. It has nothing at all to do with the redistricting process in that state. Photo: Alaskan Dude / flickr Alaska has joined the ranks of states trying to use the web to make ... Read More

Online Training for Gerrymanderers-to-Be

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, January 19 2011

Turns out this year there are not one but two ways to change who is going to represent you in government in 2012: Get involved in a nascent campaign for a politician, or start one to cut undesirable politicians out of ... Read More

Your Tips: The Technology of Political Redistricting

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, September 29 2010

Philadelphia city council districts before (left) and after (right) their redrawing following the 2000 Census; image courtesy of RedistrictingTheNation.com. Read More

News Briefs

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Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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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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