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First POST: Corrosion

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, August 9 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Two encrypted e-mail providers go down; Mitch McConnell's alliance with the Tea Party gets messy; charity: water gets its 15 minutes of fame; and much, much more. Read More

City CIOs See Inspiration for Civic Hackers in New Federal Portal for City Data

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, August 3 2012

With the launch of a new U.S. City Data Portal housed online by the federal government, a group of the nation's largest city chief information officers are hoping that some day developers will take the records New York City keeps on restaurants and combine it with other cities' comparable data to create new applications that could be of use to both the public and people in government. Read More

Civic Technologists Get Plaudits in GovTech's "Doers, Dreamers and Drivers" Awards

BY Raphael Majma | Thursday, March 1 2012

The magazine Government Technology has awarded 25 individuals and groups as a part of their Top 25 Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers in Public Sector Innovation program. The magazine releases an annual issue that recognizes “people who cut through the public sector's infamous barriers to innovation - tight budgets, organizational inertia, politics as usual, etc. - to reshape government operations for the better.” This year’s list includes a few folks that may be familiar to techPresident readers, including Jennifer Pahlka, the founder and executive director of Code for America, Bryan Sivak, Maryland's chief innovation officer, and Chicago’s social media director, Kevin Hauswirth, John Tolva, its chief technology officer, and Brett Goldstein, its chief data officer. Read More

San Francisco's Plan: Open Government, Open Data, Open Doors to New Business and Better Services

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, January 24 2012

In San Francisco, city officials have pulled together a core nexus of driven leaders, civic hackers, and big-name investors in the hopes that greater access to the city's inner workings can spur more web 2.0-style startups that solve problems government has, or maybe that citizens have because of government. Is this enough to make local government work better? Read More

Watching Where the Plows Go

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, January 12 2012

The snow is moving in Chicago, and so is the City of Chicago's "Plow Tracker", the first part of its online snow-fighting portal to go live. Read More

In Chicago, The Snow Day as Civic Experiment

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, January 4 2012

Chicago in Feb. 2011. Photo: Brendan Riley / Flickr

The City of Chicago on Tuesday unveiled Chicago Shovels, a suite of web applications designed to keep Chicagoans in the know when the snow banks start to pile up. Read More

Quote of the Day: Cities' 'Cyborg Future'

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, October 13 2011

I have been accused in this first couple months of promoting democracy by spreadsheet. The [Chicago open] data portal has been called a junk drawer. I think we need to think hard about -- the cynic says, get rid of ... Read More

New Digital Tools for Travelers Mean New Questions About Public Space

BY Nick Judd | Monday, September 19 2011

Rights of Way: How much does your commute say about you, and who gets to know? Photo of a 7 Train in Queens, N.Y. by Rafael Castellon / Flickr What we're seeing is the rise of something Chicago Chief Technology Officer ... Read More

Chicago CTO Says Senior Municipal Staff are Changing the Way Cities Work

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, June 28 2011

Chicago at night. Photo: Rhys Asplundh / Flickr Mayors across the United States are tasking senior staffers with changing the way their cities work, Chicago Chief Technology Officer John Tolva said during an interview ... Read More

Chicago Opens the Data, and Apps Begin to Follow

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 16 2011

Not long after the City of Chicago began releasing datasets online, apps are beginning to follow in their wake: Meet Was My Car Towed, a simple web application that lets you input your license plate number and find out ... Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed 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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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

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