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

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

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

More