Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

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

First POST: Secret-Spilling Machine

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, February 24 2014

Some unanswered questions about Ukraine's #EuroMaidan protests; Julian Assange's ghostwriter speaks out on his subject's megalomania; Gawker's Nick Denton on the end of privacy; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Triple Play Special

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, February 14 2014

More on Comcast-TimeWarner; TED and TEDWomen's policy against bringing up abortion?!; and is social media making it harder for NGOs to get attention for their causes?; and much much more. Read More

First POST: Bitcoin Agonistes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 22 2014

Is Bitcoin going to change the world? One of the inventors of the web browser thinks so; Edward Snowden denies being a Russian puppet; the Ukrainian government geolocates protesters and sends them a scary SMS; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

In Kenya, Bloggers Say New Media Bill Makes Them Vulnerable to Prosecution

BY Neelam Verjee | Tuesday, January 21 2014

The new media law broadens the definition of "journalist" and gives courts authority to impose stiff fines (credit: CPJ)

Kenyan bloggers have sounded a warning that “draconian” media legislation introduced late last year among a storm of controversy could stifle the country’s vibrant online community. Bloggers and writers have expressed concerns about what they called “ambiguous” definitions of the term “journalist” and “journalism” in the Media Council of Kenya Bill 2013, saying that it marked the latest in a string of attempts to crack down on the country’s outspoken virtual community. Read More

WeGov

The Future of Election Monitoring

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, December 13 2013

What does an algorithm know about the difference between tamales and Tamale, Ghana? (Flickr/fcastellanos)

The Social Media Tracking Centre (SMTC) is an election monitoring process that pulls in information from multiple data streams—Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and blogs and websites—and can be used to generate visualizations and other analytics. It was first launched to monitor Nigeria's elections in April 2011, and then subsequently used in Liberia, Ghana and Kenya.

Read More

WeGov

Will The Shift To E-Gov't Decrease Corruption in Kenya?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, November 7 2013

"Complaint box for corruption." (Flickr/watchsmart)

Today Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the first e-government service center in Nairobi. The Huduma—which is Swahili for service—Centers are supposed to be “one-stop shop[s]” for government services like seasonal parking tickets, student loan applications, reporting corruption and drivers licenses, among others.

Read More

WeGov

At "Peak Open," Open Government Partnership Faces Default States of Closed

BY Alex Howard | Wednesday, November 6 2013

Incoming civil society chair of the OGP, Rakesh Rajani, far left (Photo: Alex Howard)

With the second annual Open Government Partnership summit now concluded, one longtime observer of the "open government" movement, Alex Howard, offers his overview of its achievements, shortcomings and challenges ahead. Read More

WeGov

Tell President Kenyatta You Paid A Bribe

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, October 31 2013

125,584,332 Kenyan shillings have been paid in bribes since the end of 2011 (Wikipedia)

As Kenya continues to struggle with everyday corruption, President Kenyatta has launched a platform through which citizens can report incidents of bribery directly to his administration. Similar platforms, like I Paid A Bribe and Not In My Country, which targets corruption in the school system, already exist, but bribery is so systemic that only seven out of 100 Kenyans will report specific instances, according to Transparency International's most recent East African Bribery Index. It remains to be seen if President Kenyatta's attention to the problem will inspire more participation and eventually lead to reform and change.

Read More

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

More