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Meet the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, August 23 2012

The White House this morning announced the 18 techies and experts who will spend six months working on one of five projects using technology to try and improve government as part of the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows program. Read More

Indonesian Website Names and Shames Corrupt Officials

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, July 3 2012

The Wall Street Journal reports on a new website that names and shames Indonesian officials convicted of corruption. Transparency International ranks Indonesia as one of the most corrupt countries. Korupedia was launched by Indonesian activists and journalists. Read More

In House Appropriations, Little Movement to Support Online Transparency

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, June 6 2012

In a statement released Wednesday, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives promised to immediately direct a task force to start work on making it easier to find information about congressional bills online.

Separately, the Sunlight Foundation* reports that another appropriations subcommittee voted Wednesday to defund a Federal Communications Commission program that would provide online access to information about spending on political television ads. The information is already available in hard-copy form by making an in-person request at television stations; the FCC recently passed rules requiring broadcasters in the 50 biggest television markets to make that information available for disclosure online as well.

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Open-Source Software for Governments in Spain

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, May 30 2012

Two autonomous regions of Spain have recently made strides towards promoting open-source software for governmental use. Read More

White House Rolls Out New Plan for Digital Government

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, May 23 2012

The White House on Wednesday rolled out a new strategy document on digital government that sets out government-wide goals and priorities for dealing with citizens online, creates a new center at the General Services Administration to encourage agencies to get onboard, and calls for new government-wide standards for IT procurement.

White House Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel and Chief Technology Officer Todd Park unveiled the strategy Wednesday at TechCrunch Disrupt, a technology conference held in New York City. In their remarks, they framed the strategy as a sweeping reinvention of the way the government interacts with citizens online designed to make it ever easier for people inside and outside of government to improve service delivery for Americans over the web.Read More

New York City Just Radically Changed Who Manages Its IT Projects

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, April 24 2012

For the first time, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's New York City now has a single person responsible for overseeing all of its information technology operations.

Rahul N. Merchant, a former executive at financial services and technology firms, starts today as New York City's first chief information and innovation officer, the city announced. Merchant will report directly to the mayor and will be responsible for the city's IT infrastructure, making him in effect the alpha and omega for city IT across all agencies. Previously, one city department — the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications — was responsible for maintaining many core IT projects, such as a city wireless network and an ongoing project to consolidate data servers, but agency IT operations were more independent. Merchant will oversee information technology development and management across all city agencies.

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Watching Where the Plows Go

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, January 12 2012

The snow is moving in Chicago, and so is the City of Chicago's "Plow Tracker", the first part of its online snow-fighting portal to go live. Read More

In Chicago, The Snow Day as Civic Experiment

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, January 4 2012

Chicago in Feb. 2011. Photo: Brendan Riley / Flickr

The City of Chicago on Tuesday unveiled Chicago Shovels, a suite of web applications designed to keep Chicagoans in the know when the snow banks start to pile up. Read More

Florida Town Goes From MS Frontpage to Responsive Design Theme

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, January 4 2012

For the Gov 2.0 people we've been neglecting so terribly as the presidential campaign has heated up: Phase 2's blog has a Q&A with a consultant who built a new site for Lake Clarke Shores, Fla., using the a distribution of the open-source Drupal content management system called OpenPublic. The Q&A documents how the city's website went from something built on Microsoft FrontPage to a brand-new Drupal instance with a responsive design. Read More

All Eyes On Estonia, a Tech-Savvy State With a Balanced Budget

BY Nick Judd | Monday, October 24 2011

Both BBC News and Der Spiegel took time last week to run paeans to Estonia, a famously wired post-Soviet democracy that appears to have its fiscal house in order even as large countries, with citizens living higher on ... 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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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

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