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The Rise and Fall of Social Media in American Politics (And How it May Rise Again)

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 6 2012

Four years ago for us here techPresident, Election Day was a moment to reflect on the Internet's impact on the campaign, and in particular how so many voters had ventured onto the playing field of politics by using new interactive media, self-publishing tools like blogs and YouTube, and nascent social networks like Facebook. But if you've spent any time reading techPresident this cycle, you've noticed that we've more or less stopped paying close attention to social media metrics. The reason is, they didn't make a difference to the race. The question is why. Read More

Election-Day App Makers, More Tools Have Arrived

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, October 18 2012

Google's Civic Information API is now live in 15 states for Election Day polling locations, and early voting information for 13 states will be added tonight, according to an e-mail from Patrick Ruffini, president of Engage, to the Voter Information Project. The API allows developers to build applications to display information such as polling places, early voting locations, candidate data and election official information. Read More

San Francisco Hackathon To Focus On Improving Public Transportation

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, October 5 2012

San Francisco is a laggard in the field of public transportation when compared to many other big cities of the world. Unlike Hong Kong, London or New York City, it's often not possible to take a bus or subway to get ... Read More

WeGov

In Wake of Public Outcry, Iran Lifts "Indefinite" Block on Gmail After One Week

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, October 1 2012

One week after announcing that access to Gmail and Google search would be blocked indefinitely in the Islamic Regime of Iran, regime officials restored access to the popular online platforms while claiming that they had unintentionally blocked them while trying to filter the crude anti-Islam film, "Innocence of the Muslims." Meanwhile, the Ministry of Telecommunications launched its own official email service, which requires users to register. Read More

Can New Apps and APIs Make Voting More Trendy?

BY Nick Judd | Friday, September 21 2012

Today is National Voter Registration Day, and people browsing the Internet can expect to find a slew of ad campaigns and marketing geared towards making the vote seem more enjoyable. Trendier, even. Like the iPhone 5, but without Apple Maps.

Behind the scenes of this registration effort, there's a growing group of technologists who are building sets of tools to bring registration, and more of the nuts and bolts of civic participation, to the web — actually putting together what developers would need to wrap the vote in an Apple-like customer experience.

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TurboVote, a Netflix for Voter Registration, Partners With Google

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, August 27 2012

TurboVote, a New York City non-profit that's trying to make voter registration as easy as ordering DVDs from Netflix, announced Monday that Google is making its service part of its politics and elections portal. Read More

City CIOs See Inspiration for Civic Hackers in New Federal Portal for City Data

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, August 3 2012

With the launch of a new U.S. City Data Portal housed online by the federal government, a group of the nation's largest city chief information officers are hoping that some day developers will take the records New York City keeps on restaurants and combine it with other cities' comparable data to create new applications that could be of use to both the public and people in government. Read More

Google Now Allows Advertisers To Target Ads By Congressional District

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, August 3 2012

Google rolled out a new service this week that enables advertisers to target their audience specifically by congressional district. The new functionality adds a level of granularity that isn't available through Facebook, ... Read More

Google Launches Free SMS Service for Gmail Users in Parts of Sub-Saharan Africa

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, July 20 2012

Mobile phone users in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria can now send emails via SMS on basic mobile phones that do not have Internet access. Google has launched a free service called Gmail SMS, which allows users to send emails as text messages free of charge, and to receive them for standard local SMS charges. 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.

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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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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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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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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

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