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

New Organizing Institute to Move from Collecting Election Data to Organizing Election Officials

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, June 18 2013

The New Organizing Institute, a progressive nonprofit that trains campaigners and is no led by former Obama for America data director Ethan Roeder, is launching a new initiative next week aiming to "fix that" for local elections. NOI will announce a national network where local election administration officials can congregate to share solutions to common issues. It's a transition for a team at NOI that had previously been managing the Voting Information Project, which collects data on polling places, election districts and voter registration deadlines and prepares it for third parties in machine-readable format. In the 2012 election cycle, backed by the Pew Charitable Trusts and partnered with Google, VIP made information available in all 50 states. Read More

U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board To Meet Next Wednesday

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, June 13 2013

A long dormant independent agency that was at least nominally supposed to exercise a modicum of oversight over the booming intelligence-industrial complex is scrambling to meet up next Wednesday, but the public will ... Read More

Google To Justice Department: Let Us Publish National Security Requests

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, June 11 2013

Google's Chief Legal Officer David Drummond on Tuesday published an open letter addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller asking for permission to publish the number and scope of national security-related requests that it receives. In effect, the company is asking the government to lift a gag, imposed in the name of national security, on disclosing the extent to which the search-engine giant passes along user information to the federal government. Read More

WeGov

Google Follows UN Lead In Recognizing Palestine

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 3 2013

Screengrab from Google Palestine

Palestinian Googlers might have noticed something different about their search engine homepage on Thursday. Google has changed the subheading of the Palestinian edition, Google.ps, from the “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine.” This acknowledgement by the search giant follows the United Nations decision in November 2012 to recognize Palestine as a non-member state, in spite of objections by the US and Israel.

Read More

WeGov

Google Launches Mobile Micropayments in Africa

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, April 30 2013

A Nairobi matatu (bus) (Wikipedia)

Google just announced the launch of rebranded electronic payment system BebaPay in Kenya, home to the popular and successful mobile money system M-Pesa. With the BebaPay card, Google tackles the notoriously chaotic bus system in Kenya. The BebaPay card standardizes fares and provides riders with receipts, protecting them from unscrupulous conductors charging hiked up fares or not providing change. And it costs consumers next to nothing: the card is free and there are no transaction fees, although cell phone operators can charge to transfer money to the card. With all those perks, many are asking, “What’s the catch?”

Read More

Google's Eric Schmidt and WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Get One Another's Jokes

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, April 23 2013

Eric Schmidt. Photo: LeWeb12

As part of research for their new book, Jared Cohen and Eric Schmidt met WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2011. The full conversation, according to a transcript and recording WikiLeaks has published online, ranged from the technical details of WikiLeaks' methods for avoiding censorship in China to Assange's political theories about control of, and access to, information. Their brief conceptual stop in Rwanda — which, Assange suggested, would have gone differently had WikiLeaks been around — was one of many. Read More

WeGov

Google’s Eric Schmidt on the Future Digital Police State

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, April 22 2013

YouTube sensations have no idea (Youtube video screengrab)

When Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt traveled to North Korea in January, techPresident picked up on his daughter’s astonishing observations of a staged photo-op of students “engaging” with the Internet. They took the trip as part of his research for the book “The New Digital Age,” co-written with Jared Cohen, which goes on sale Tuesday. Schmidt and Cohen elaborated on their experience in a long Wall Street Journal essay this past weekend. They concluded that, while the Internet is not an incorruptible, unimpeachable force of good, “no country is worse off because of the Internet.”

Read More

Book Review: Evgeny Morozov Doth Protest Too Much

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 9 2013

By Chatham House, via Wikimedia Commons

According to Evgeny Morozov, the world has gone crazy and he's one of the few sane people left. His strange new book, "To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism," goes so far to build up straw men for his attacks that he suggests contemporary technologists would have ensured Rosa Parks could never have committed her legendary act of civil disobedience. And it gets worse ... Read More

WeGov

How Open Is China's Homegrown "Open-Source" Initiative?

BY David Eaves | Friday, March 29 2013

China is not the first emerging power to see open source as a way to enhance its autonomy and diminish the leverage of foreign stakeholders. Brazil has which began to aggressively invest in and implement open source solutions around 2003, also saw it as a strategic choice. Yes, reducing software costs of government played a role, but it too wanted to boost the develop its IT sector - which it sees as being strategically important - as well as reduce its dependency on American software companies. The question of course, is how effective will these strategies be? Read More

Google Adds Real-Time Transit Data to Google Maps for Three Cities

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, March 28 2013

(Source: Google)

Google yesterday added live-departure information for seven New York City subway lines and Salt Lake City buses and trams, as well as live service alerts for Washington D.C.'s Metrorail, to Google Maps. Read More