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MileMesh Looks to Make Hoboken a Beacon for U.S. Mesh Networks

BY Sam Roudman | Wednesday, December 11 2013

Hoboken, jewel of the Hudson. Credit: Flickr http://bit.ly/IFB50v

When Hurricane Sandy slammed the northeast in October of 2012, it was particularly unkind to the city of Hoboken, New Jersey. The storm knocked out power throughout most of the city for a week. Many of the town’s 50,000 residents crowded two blocks spared from the outage by a separate grid to juice up their phones and computers from power strips slung out of residents' front doors onto their stoops. Even after power returned, Internet and mobile service remained unreliable. Now a group of volunteers are trying to build out a mesh network that would be more resilient. “We’re not starting a company, we’re not starting a project,” says Anthony Townsend, who has experience providing public wifi hotspots through his work with NYCwireless, “we’re trying to start a movement.” Read More

NYC Unveils Sandy Funding Tracking Portal Amid Calls for Transparency

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, December 3 2013

New York City on Monday unveiled the first iteration of an online platform designed to track the city's dissemination of federal disaster recovery and resilience funds in connection with the aftermath from Superstorm Sandy. While advocates expressed concerns that not enough of the data was available in a disaggregated, accessible and downloadable format, city officials told techPresident they are working to make as much underlying data available as they could through New York City's Open Data portal. Read More

After Sandy, Are FEMA and the Red Cross Helpmates to Neighborhood Volunteers, Not Their Leaders?

BY Joe Maniscalco | Friday, November 16 2012

The Internet didn't create the outpouring of citizen-to-citizen care that has so often beaten traditional relief agencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Red Cross to Hurricane Sandy-ravaged communities all over the tri-state area - but it certainly helped to channel it. The rise of grassroots organizing channeled through online resources in times of crisis has been so profound that FEMA and the Red Cross aren't even pretending they can do a better job than web-adept citizens groups like Occupy Sandy when it comes to immediately moving people or supplies - or even that they are supposed to. Read More

For Hurricane Sandy Relief, a Text-Messaging Solution

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, November 15 2012

In Hurricane Sandy's wake, many developers have come up with websites or applications created to help. But when volunteers are on the ground in hard-hit areas like the Rockaways section of New York City, they are often unable to access the Internet or use their mobile phones. A group of volunteers have responded to this challenge by developing Occupy SMS, a text-messaging tool for aid communication. Read More

Why Didn't Facebook Waive "Sponsored Post" Fees for Hurricane Sandy Relief?

BY Lea Zeltserman | Wednesday, November 7 2012

South Ferry subway station under water, the day after Hurricane Sandy (credit: MTAPhotos)
As the full scope of the disaster wrought by Hurricane Sandy sank in, volunteers in New York and New Jersey dropped everything to help the thousands evacuated from homes that were flooded, freezing and without electricity; many put out urgent calls for supplies and volunteers on Facebook, but their posts failed to reach a wide audience because the social media site did not suspend its fees for promoting posts — even as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal lowered their paywall in order to give people in the disaster-struck region access to information. Read More

Post-Sandy, Facebook, Change.org Show Rising Opposition to NYC Marathon This Sunday

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 2 2012

Has New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has steered his city in all kinds of admirable ways since Hurricane Sandy first appeared on the horizon a week ago, seriously misread the mood of his fellow Gothamites with his decision to let the annual New York City Marathon proceed as scheduled this Sunday? The race, which draws between 40,000 and 60,000 runners each year, is the largest in the world--and judging from some fast-moving page on Change.org and Facebook, many people are wondering if the usually uplifting event may put too heavy a burden on already strained and breaking city services. Read More

After #Sandy, WNYC Radio Shows How Pro-Am Crowdsourcing Can Fill In the Picture

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, November 1 2012

With millions of residents of the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut tri-state area without power since Superstorm Sandy swept through the region Monday, a complete picture of the devastation and loss remains out of reach. But radio, especially the two-way, interactive, crowd-sourced journalism practiced by WNYC's Brian Lehrer, is helping filling in the gaps. Read More

Mapping New Yorkers' Reports of Hurricane Sandy Damage

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 31 2012

The city releases data on 311 calls on its open data portal every afternoon between 2 and 3 p.m. This afternoon, that data release included calls placed Monday and early Tuesday as Hurricane Sandy whipped up floodwaters, shut off power and blew over trees throughout the city. The data paint a sobering picture of the damage. Arranged by complaint type, New Yorkers as of early Tuesday had placed 5,102 reports of damaged trees, warned of malfunctioning traffic signals 1,074 times, notified the city in 642 instances of an overflowing or otherwise broken sewer drain, and complained of broken street lights 325 times. That's just the bulk of 8,564 reports placed between Sunday and Tuesday for which data is available. It's likely that later data releases will raise that number even higher. Read More

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Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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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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