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Why It's Worth Noticing the White House's Big, Wet Kiss With Drupal and GitHub

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, December 6 2012

Between pictures of the president using Twitter and Vice President Joe Biden at Costco, the White House blog recently featured a little note advocating the use of open source in government. It is interesting to see how Barack Obama uses social networks, and a post about Biden at Costco feels a little bit like the White House just scooped The Onion — a shirtless photo would have been too much to hope for, but the author may have been able to slip in at least one Pontiac reference. But the White House making a point of name-checking open-source software touchstones is also worthy of note. Read More

WeGov

Getting it Right: Gov.uk

BY David Eaves | Monday, October 22 2012

For possibly the first time in my life, I’m actually excited about a national government website. It would appear that in the United Kingdom, the designers, the developers and the content creators of a government have finally beaten the managers. And the result? Not only is it stunning, but it actually stands to be compared against the websites that citizens regularly use. Citizens will compare government websites not to one another but to sites like Google or Facebook, and Gov.uk easily stands up to that comparison. Read More

Tools You Use: Seamus Kraft on WordPress in Congress

BY Personal Democracy Plus | Monday, July 9 2012

The House Oversight Committee launched its new website on WordPress with this video.

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers, techPresident is asking some of the folks out there on the leading edge of digital politics and government to point out just one tool or service that has become a mainstay, a must-use or just incredibly helpful in their work. There's one rule: It can't be something the person has built or the person's company is selling. We're asking folks to pay some karma forward here and highlight an innovation coming from elsewhere that makes their work easier. Seamus Kraft is digital director for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In March, the Oversight Committee relaunched its website with the popular open-source content management system WordPress. Read More

Changing Winds for Open Data at the National Weather Service

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, May 25 2012

Preview of weather.gov

The National Weather Service is going to update its weather alerts for the 21st century. Weather data has long been held up as a prime example of how government data can spur private enterprise, as an entire industry has evolved to interpret and package meteorological data coming from government sources. Now, the Weather Service is updating how it offers up that data for a next-generation weather industry. Read More

Government Website Watch: The SEC's Home Page Gets a Refresh

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, May 11 2012

The Securities and Exchange Commission redesigned its homepage earlier this week, but compared to the efforts of other federal agenices, the changes seem mostly cosmetic. The New York Times first noted the change earlier this week. In contrast to the old homepage, the new one has a front-page image slideshow, improved navigation through a drop-down menu, revised informational categories and larger graphic buttons. Read More

An Ode to New York State's Voting Information Mess

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, December 1 2011

Ari Spool at Impose explains, without quite meaning to, why things like TurboVote exist: Oh, you don't live in East Amherst, NY? Then maybe you don't even HAVE to vote this year! Just kidding. There are things for ... Read More

The Europe Roundup: Debating "Life Hacking" on EU Websites

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, November 22 2011

EU | Debating "Life Hacking" on EU Websites: Useful Tips and Comments Did you know that Google and other searches can make your life much easier when you're trying to find relevant information in the messy EU websites? ... Read More

New Mobile Site Shows Californians Where Not to Find the Fish

BY Nick Judd | Monday, October 3 2011

A new, location-aware mobile version of a page on the California Department of Fish and Game's website shows visitors which nearby coastal areas are protected by state law and thus off-limits for boating, fishing and the ... Read More

Project To Offer Free, Hosted Websites for Governments Launches This Week

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, July 28 2011

The government software firm Firmstep announced Tuesday that they've begun offering free hosted websites for city and state governments using an adaptation of the Drupal 7 content management system. If you work on web ... Read More

Healthcare.gov Design Lead Says Work Began With a Tweet

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, July 26 2011

Healthcare.gov Design Lead Ed Mullen shared a post on his blog last week about how he got involved with the project — and says it all started with a tweet. After starting to stew over the potential of health ... 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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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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