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At 18F, The U.S. Looks to Fail Fast on Government IT Projects Instead of Failing Big

BY Alex Howard | Thursday, April 3 2014

The state of govt IT today: Long lines in Columbia, SC waiting to sign-up for HealthCare.gov

Can a new small office inside the General Services Administration start to revolutionize how the U.S. government does information technology? That's the premise behind 18F. Longtime open government observer Alex Howard offers this in-depth report. Read More

With Code.Nasa.Gov, Agency Steps Up Hunt for Its Open-Source Software Projects

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, January 17 2012

With a new initiative, NASA explores its open-source projects. Image: Artist's concept of KOI-961 star system. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Not everyone agrees that the Obama White House has done everything around open government that it said it would do. But earlier this month, NASA lengthened the list of things that federal agencies could do. In addition to releasing data, like those that are gleaned from the Kepler space observatory, NASA now has code.nasa.gov, a central repository intended to eventually link out to every last open-source project maintained by people within the U.S. space agency. Read More

White House Appoints Steven VanRoekel as New U.S. CIO

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, August 4 2011

Steve VanRoekel A former Microsoft executive and Federal Communications Commission managing director, Steven VanRoekel, will become the next U.S. chief information officer, the White House announced today. VanRoekel ... Read More

Quote of the Day: 'One Click Away'

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, August 2 2011

Consumer companies are one click away from extinction, so they have to innovate constantly. Yet in enterprise IT, which is far inferior to consumer IT, victory is considered winning that contract. Once companies win ... Read More

British MPs Take a Close Look at Government IT 'Oligopoly' of Major Vendors

BY Nick Judd | Friday, July 29 2011

Writing for The Guardian, Michael Cross digs in to a report on British government IT that finds the folks across the pond are over-reliant on large contractors for their IT needs: The central charge is that governments ... Read More

Vivek Kundra's Tips for Smarter Government

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, July 14 2011

At the Sunlight Foundation* blog, Daniel Schuman recaps ten principles for improving federal transparency that federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra delivered during testimony before a House Committee on ... Read More

Do Lawmakers' Texts During Public Meetings Become Public Documents?

BY Nick Judd | Monday, June 27 2011

The New Hampshire Union Leader's Beth LaMontagne Hall reports on some navel-gazing in Manchester, N.H., over texting during public meetings: During the June 12 Board of School Committee meeting, [Mayor Ted] Gatsas ... Read More

The Googlization of Wyoming

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 23 2011

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead announced yesterday that all 10,000 of his state employees are now on Google Apps for Government, a version of Google's cloud-based office platform tweaked to meet government standards: Not only ... Read More

An iPad or 50 Amid a Sea of BlackBerrys

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, May 31 2011

iPads, iPhones, and other non-Blackberry personal tech devices are gaining traction in official Washington, reports the Washington Post's Michael S. Rosenwald -- though your call on whether the fact that 50 iPads or ... Read More

Where Did You Put Barack Obama's Hologram?

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, April 15 2011

White House photo by Pete Souza At a Chicago fundraiser last night, President Obama had some harsh things to say about the state he found government technology in when he became president in remarks overheard and ... 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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