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Updated Guidelines Encourage Federal Agencies to Publish "License-Free" Data

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, December 12 2013

A group of open government advocates and advocacy organizations have come together to issue updated guidance on how federal agencies can make their documents available in an open and accessible way, seeking to go beyond and clarify open data guidance that the Obama administration had published in May. Read More

First POST: Twitterization

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, September 3 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The download on Peter Hamby's must-read report on Twitter's impact on 2012 campaign coverage; Jeff Bezos gives some clues to his plans for the Washington Post; Ethan Zuckerman thinks citizen science could help reduce NIMBYism; and much, much more. Read More

House Republicans Release More Data Catnip for Developers

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, January 10 2013

The Government Printing Office has begun providing access to legislation from the 113th Congress in four compressed XML files — one for bills, one for resolutions, one for joint resolutions, and one for continuing resolutions.

This consolidates access to information about legislation in the House of Representatives. It is an incremental step forward for technologists who build tools that make it easier to explain to the rest of us what Congress is doing.

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The Case for Political Software as a Commodity, Not a Weapon

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, July 13 2012

It's the people, stupid. That's the message that some progressives have for colleagues like Netroots Nation's Raven Brooks, who called for a boycott of the political software startup NationBuilder, and Matt Browner Hamlin, who says he'll stop recommending the software to clients, all because NationBuilder has struck a deal to provide software to Republican candidates for state legislatures. Read More

Transparency Advocates Frustrated With House Appropriators' Plan To Make A Plan

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, May 30 2012

Open government advocates are up in arms over what appears to be another attempt by government bureaucrats to stall the move to enable bulk data downloads of legislative information online. Read More

Conservatives Group-Write Anti-Gun Control Missive

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, May 8 2009

The person who passed along a note on this topic framed it by saying something along the lines of "it's not every day you see conservatives doing neat new stuff online!" Fair enough. GovTrack's Josh Tauberer is ... Read More

Daily Digest: Questions, Cats, and Chaos Avoidance

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, January 14 2009

Quizzing RNC Hopefuls: The race to be the next Republican National Committee chair is heating up, and it remains particularly fascinating because no clear front-runner has emerged. With two weeks left before the vote ... Read More

Daily Digest: From Local Gadfly to Internationally Known

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, October 1 2008

The Web on the Candidates The Email Heard 'Round the World: The LA Times' Erika Hayasaki has the back story on Anne Kilkenny. Anne Kil-who? Oh, you know, the Alaskan who wrote an email critiquing her fellow Wasillan ... 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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