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Organizing for America: "A Start-up With the Assets of Google"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 16 2013

OFA's Jon Carson addressing RootsCamp 2013 (Photo by Roshni Karwal)

To hear Jon Carson tell it, Organizing for America, the continuation of President Obama's massive 2012 political machine, was nothing but a one-man shop on January 20, 2013, just him sitting "in a Potbellies restaurant" near the White House charting out its future. Except for one thing. "We were a start-up that inherited the assets of Google." That is, as Carson, OFA's executive director, made clear at an open session last Friday morning at RootsCamp 2013, OFA isn't really a start-up at all, just a new bottle for all the campaign's old wine. And a much smaller bottle at that. For while OFA did inherit digital assets like the @barackobama Twitter account and its massive email list, it had to start from scratch raising money to pay for a staff and figure out what kind of role it could play as a loyal handservant to Obama in a post-campaign setting. Read More

Organizing for Action Tries To Guilt Members Into Donating

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, April 1 2013

President Obama's advocacy group Organizing for Action stepped up its campaign to raise money online last week by blasting the subscribers of its e-mail list at least seven times over the course of five days asking them ... Read More

Organizing for Action Is Ramping Up

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, March 21 2013

Organizing for Action isn't wasting time letting the lessons of 2012 languish. The campaign is ramping up and just sent out a list of positions that it's looking to fill. Among those wanted: e-mail strategists and ... Read More

URL Related to Obama's "Organizing for Action" Now Goes to NRA Website

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, January 29 2013

A Web domain using the name of President Obama's grassroots lobbying group Organizing for Action now points to the National Rifle Association's web site. Derek Bovard, a computer technician in Castle Rock, Colo., registered the domain name organizingforaction.net after seeing a report about the formation of the lobbying group on Fox News last Friday. Bovard, a Republican who voted for Mitt Romney in the last election cycle, says that he bought the domain for $10 and would be willing to part with it for $10,000. Read More

Looking For Organizingforaction.com? Sorry, Domain's Taken

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, January 28 2013

Obama supporters have developed a reputation for being tech savvy, but they may have dropped the ball on this one. Organizing for Action, the advocacy group founded to enable Obama 2012 campaign supporters to lobby ... Read More

"Organizing for Action" Takes Shape, But How Much Power Will Its Volunteers Have?

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, January 22 2013

Picture: Courtesy of Obama Campaign Legacy Conference

"Organizing for Action," the successor organization to Obama for America tasked with pushing the president's agenda, is built on the idea that it can still be greater than the sum of its parts.

With 2.2 million volunteers in 2012 pushing Barack Obama's re-election campaign over the finish line, the promise is certainly there: A nationwide organization, converted from electoral ambitions to policy advocacy, mobilized while the feeling of momentum is still fresh in its members' minds. But while the organization hosted a weekend launch event to kick off "OFA 4.0" — or 3.0 if, like Obama officials, one skips an iteration — it's still unclear how volunteers will tap into the technology infrastructure that helped them to win in November 2012.

The campaign will continue to own all of the campaign infrastructure, a former campaign official told techPresident. If that includes software and data, then Organizing for Action will be leasing from Obama for America access to some of the technology that leveraged the work of those millions of volunteers.

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White House Takes Us Behind The Scenes Of 'We The People' Petition Program

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, March 23 2012

The White House on Thursday released an online video to show the public how it incorporates feedback from its online petitioning tool "We The People," into staffers' policy formulating process. Read More

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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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tuesday >

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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monday >

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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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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