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First POST: Zucked Up

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 20 2015

Mark Zuckerberg responds to criticism of "zero rating" Facebook access in India; turning TVs into computers; how Facebook is changing the way UK users see the upcoming General Election; BuzzFeed's split priorities; a new website for "right-of-center women"; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Hot Seats

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, April 8 2015

Campaign money-bombs; a pre-9/11 surveillance program; a million views of the John Oliver Snowden segment since yesterday; the fight for the soul of the #BlackLivesMatter movement; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Monkeying

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, January 22 2015

Net neutrality proponents call foul on the GOP's plans; seeks to be the right's; tons of civic tech news from mySociety, Chicago and Civic Hall in NYC; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Attending

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 13 2014

New revelations from Laura Poitras' film Citizen Four; how India's new real-time online attendance system for government officials works; tech critic Evgeny Morozov in hot water; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Optimized

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 7 2014

Why the DCCC should optimize for brand loyalty along with fundraising; a new guide to civic tech; why some in Iceland like New Zealand's Internet Party; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Messiness

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, September 8 2014

The latest in NY Democratic gubernatorial primary politics; how the Internet Slowdown protest is gearing up; Reddit as a "new type of community"; and much much more. Read More


The Uncertain Future of India's Plan to Biometrically Identify Everyone

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, August 28 2014

Biometric data collection in Howrah, India (Photo: Biswarup Ganguly)

Since its launch in 2010, people in India have raised a number of questions and concerns about the Aadhaar card —formally known as Unique Identification (UID)— citing its effects on privacy rights, potential security flaws, and failures in functionality. Read More

First POST: Unlocking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, July 28 2014

Why the GOP is having trouble catching up to the Dems on tech; how the cellphone unblocking bill shows the Internet's power (or not); civil rights groups "sell out" on net neutrality; and much, much more. Read More

Why Facebook's 'Voter Megaphone' Is the Real Manipulation to Worry About

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 3 2014

Two years ago, on the morning of the 2012 election in the United States, I got an email with an urgent subject line: "You should write the story of how Facebook blew an opportunity to turn out 300k voters." The sender, a veteran progressive online activist who would prefer to remain anonymous, was upset for good reason. The election was bound to be close, and as of 10am that morning he hadn't yet seen an "I'm Voting" button on his Facebook page, nor had another colleague of his. Nor was one on my own Facebook page. Given that when Facebook deployed a similar "I Voted" button in 2010, and added messages in users' News Feeds showing them the names and faces of friends who had said they voted, the cumulative effect boosted turnout then by at least 340,000 votes, these activists had good reason to be concerned. Facebook had announced that it was going to do the same thing in 2012, and this time around its American user base had grown enormously, from 61 million to more than 160 million. A social and visible nudge like an "I 'm Voting" button had the potential to measurably increase turnout, even more so as Facebook was including a useful tool to help people find their polling places. And yet on Election Day 2012 its deployment was far from universal. Facebook was conducting research on us. Read More


An Ushahidi-Powered Platform Shows "Free" Healthcare In India Comes With Hidden Costs

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, June 18 2014

Mother and child, India. (Thessaly La Force/Flickr)

Two and a half years after a pilot program called Mera Swasthya Meri Aawaz (My Health, My Voice) was launched to record and document the informal fees that plague India's “free” maternal health services in Uttar Pradesh, hundreds of reports have been collected and mapped. The Indian human rights organization Sahayog, which helped launched the initiative, tells techPresident that around 40 public health facilities in two Uttar Pradesh districts have been connected to informal fees, a kind of low-level corruption.

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