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First POST: Precrime

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 24 2014

How the US government determines who to put on its "known or suspected terrorist" list, no-fly list and selectee list; Israelis sharing Gaza casualty news over social media; Twitter's diversity report; 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

WeGov

When Cute Cats Aren't Enough to Save Vimeo (or Reddit, Imgur, & 100+ Other Sites Blocked in Indonesia)

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, May 14 2014

In his 2008 talk on the Cute Cat Theory of Digital Activism, Ethan Zuckerman said “if you're not getting porn in your system, it doesn't work.” The idea is that popular platforms flush with cute cats and other innocuous, user-generated content are robust enough to support more controversial content, like pornography and social and political activism. Governments around the world, however, are throwing cute cats to the wind in their quest to rid the Internet of pornography (as impossible as that must seem to people who use the Internet). The most recent victims of the porn crackdown: Vimeo, Reddit and Imgur, which are now all blocked in Indonesia.

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WeGov

#HackJak: Jakarta's First Gov-Sponsored Open Data Hackathon Tackles Budget and Public Transportation

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, April 29 2014

TransJakarta Network map (Wikipedia)

Indonesia's capital city, Jakarta, held its first government-sponsored open data hackathon on April 26 and 27. More than 100 participants collaborated on 53 projects using either Jakarta's 2014 budget or public transportation route information.

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WeGov

Weekly Readings: Off-Grid

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, April 28 2014

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. Read More

First POST: Secret Sharers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 27 2014

Jimmy Carter on Edward Snowden; Airbnb partners with Portland as a "shared city"; open data engagement strategies from around the world; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Indonesian Tweeter Most Recent Target of Draconian Internet Law

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, February 6 2014

Screen shot of Benny Handoko's Twitter profile

After joining Twitter in 2008, former construction worker Benny Handoko amassed nearly 54,000 followers. On February 5 a South Jakarta court sentenced him to a year of probation for tweeting libelous statements about an Indonesian politician. The case, one of the first to be taken to court under the Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) Law because of a tweet, has reignited a debate about the controversial Internet law, which has been in place since 2009.

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WeGov

Good Faith Efforts To Improve Democracy in Indonesia?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, January 24 2014

Photo: Flickr/KCIvey

Democracy in Indonesia has two things going for it this year—a new organization called Ayo Vote, which hopes to mobilize young people and get them to the polls, and a government sponsored website where voters can peruse the CVs of their potential representation.

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First POST: Taking Over

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 26 2013

How privacy concerns will fit into the next populist wave in US politics; Glenn Greenwald and Paul Carr spar; why the number of lobbyists in Washington is probably double what you think; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: NewCo News

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 18 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: More details on Pierre Omidyar and Glenn Greenwald's still unnamed NewCo investigative journalism site; one bankrupt Rhode Island town is trying crowdfunding for its parks; and the best reading from last week's 'book surge' break that you might have missed. Read More