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First POST: Middlemen

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, May 6 2014

New ideas (and issues) for preserving net neutrality; how Governor Andrew Cuomo uses technology to hide his government's workings from the public; the USA Freedom Act moves toward a committee markup; and much, much more. Read More


UK National Health Service Sitting On Potential Treasure Trove of Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, October 17 2013

Make room for the data (Wikipedia)

We live in a world in which data is so valuable some people compare it to the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The data in this case is the vast stores of patient information held by the U.K.'s National Health Service. One of the world's largest public health systems, the NHS serves more than 50 million people. Those 50 million plus medical records are being moved to a new central database to facilitate better healthcare for patients, regardless of where they go to receive care. The central database could also be a treasure trove of data for researchers, if patients acquiesce to sharing.

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First POST: Traffic

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 3 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Government shutdown of web services irking journalists; Grover Norquist is a Guy Fawkes fan; Lavabit's embattled owner explains why he shut his service down; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Glitches

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 2 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Day one of is like the rollout of iOS7?; the government shutdown and tech; Iran's Twitter diplomacy goes both ways?; and much, much more. Read More

Millions Flock to Govt Online Health Exchanges Despite Govt Shutdown

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, October 1 2013

CNN's homepage, like news homepages across the world, is filled with headlines about the government shutdown. But since early Tuesday, visitors to the CNN homepage from the New York area at least have also been greeted with full-page ads encouraging them to enroll in the state-run health care exchanges. The New York State of Health web platform is one of the exchange websites that reported some access difficulties earlier in the day due to intense usage. As the Washington Post and others noted, at one point Tuesday the site showed the notice "Attention: Due to overwhelming interest in the NY State of Health — including 2 million visits in the first 2 hours of the site launch — the health exchange is currently having log in issues. We encourage users who are unable to log in to come back to the site later when these issues will be resolved." Read More

First POST: #DearCongress

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 1 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Public protest at the government shutdown starts to surface via the #DearCongress hashtag; the health insurance exchanges launch; Occupy Wall Street launches a debit card; and much, much more. Read More


Beijing Health Department Shuts Down Online Consumer Health Service

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 29 2013

Long lines for health services worse than rush hour traffic in Beijing via Wikipedia

The Beijing Health Department shut down an online medical appointment booking service only three days after it launched. The service had the potential to reduce waits and save patients exorbitant scalper fees. The Health Department claimed that the service misled patients and put their personal information at risk, but the department operates an online reservation service of its own and the new website, by the massive e-commerce site Taobao, threatened that service.

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What's Innovative, and What Isn't, in the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace

BY Nick Judd and Bailey McCann | Tuesday, March 19 2013

The new federal health care marketplace elevates government IT — but only so far. Credit

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The federal Department of Health and Human Services is giving an open-source face to the complex new world of health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Under that open-source face, though, will be complex systems procured and built just like many other government technology projects: Through multi-million-dollar firms that are part of huge companies and, in one case, a vendor owned by the same parent company as a major health care provider — a situation that presents the appearance of a conflict of interest. Read More


Spanish Physicians Mount Online Campaign to Protest Cuts to Immigrant Health Care

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, September 11 2012

Screenshot taken from Derecho a Curar website

In response to budget cuts that would eliminate free health care for undocumented immigrants, Spanish physicians created an online protest campaign under the auspices of Medicos del Mundo. Read More

House Dems Look to Go Viral With Health Care Push

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, July 10 2012

Nancy Pelosi/Facebook

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's newly minted new media director, Faiz Shakir, is out to challenge House Republicans' stranglehold on social media. House Democrats' latest work is an image shared on Pelosi's Facebook page that links a call for health insurance for firefighters to the Affordable Health Care Act. It uses a pullquote from John Lauer, a "hotshot crew" firefighter with a South Dakota-based outfit in the United States Forest Service that recently worked a massive blaze in Colorado. Lauer, who started a petition in support of health care for firefighters that has 126,241 signatures out of a goal of 150,000, was quoted in an A.P. article as saying, "You pray you don't get sick ... I wonder if people know we're uninsured." Read More