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

PDM News: Building a Home for the "Internet Public" in NYC

BY Andrew Rasiej and Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 20 2014

Cheryl Contee and Erie Meyer at PDF 2013 (Photo by Esty Stein)

For the last nine months, we at Personal Democracy Media have been working on an exciting new project and big idea. It's time to pull back the curtain and tell you about it. We want to build a year-round physical community center, here in New York City, that will be a home for our community and all the people and organizations that we like to say are members of the “Internet public” (per Dave Parry). That is, we want to create a place where the same dynamic and diverse community that comes to Personal Democracy Forum every year--the doers and dreamers, the political activists and the civic hacktivists, public officials, public-minded entrepreneurs, the movement makers and shakers--can work and network together around common interests and solve problems. You can read more about it in our recently submitted Knight News Challenge proposal to help strengthen the open Internet. Read More

First POST: Weird Nerds

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, March 19 2014

The NSA can collect a whole country's phone conversations (not just metadata); Edward Snowden gets his 15 minutes of TED fame; the evolving etiquette of quoting public Tweets; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Tools

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, February 28 2014

The new Knight News Challenge is for open internet lovers; why secure private tools are getting more consumer-y; why Uber got a cease-and-desist order in Houston; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Battle Lines

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 15 2014

Previewing President Obama's Friday speech on NSA reform; dealing with the defeat of the FCC's "open internet" rule"; tracking the winners of the Knight News Challenge health round and the New Media Ventures innovation fund; and much, much more. Read More

Knight Moves Beyond Experimentation with Open Gov News Challenge Winners

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, June 25 2013

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has awarded more than $3.2 million to eight Open Government projects has part of the Knight News Challenge, including tools that would make courts more accessible and the procurement process more user friendly. Six additional projects received funding through the Knight Prototype Fund, which awards up to $50,000 for projects to go from an idea to a demo stage. Read More

TechPresident Podcast: "Open Government"

BY Nick Judd | Friday, April 12 2013

Can technology improve communication between citizens and government? We've been closely watching the Knight News Challenge, a $5 million experiment that aims to find out. Micah Sifry, Nick Judd and David Eaves talk through our recent reporting on what's been tried and tested where technology and government meet. Read More

Optimism, Fear, and the Knight News Challenge

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, April 9 2013

Reading through the list of Knight News Challenge semi-finalists I was left feeling both optimistic and concerned. Optimistic because there are a number of great ideas people have put forward. Indeed the sheer number of submissions to the challenge - 828 - itself speaks to a deep well of people that want to find ways to improve the interaction between citizens and government. As a serious policy and government geek it is always nice to find peers. On the flip side I get a little depressed because programs like the news challenge remind me of the problems of both money, and scale, that plague any change initiative, but particularly in government. Read More

Some Knight News Challenge Semifinalists Sound Awfully Familiar

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, April 3 2013

How fitting for people so concerned with the future of news to want to spend so much money on the problems of the future rather than those of the present. Read More

Two Civic Hackers On Why Open Government Isn't That Hard

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, February 13 2013

Civic hacking — using technology to improve or subvert anything that's wrong, broken, or just not good enough about the way politics and government work — is hard. It can be frustrating. But it's often also fun, two civic hackers told me today, and just because it's hard doesn't mean it's not worth doing. Read More

Five Pieces of Advice For New Civic Hackers

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, February 12 2013

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is getting ready to invest a lot of money in the idea that technology can help scrape the rust from the corroded gears of American democracy. This being our jam at techPresident, I'm going to put on my editor's hat and editorialize: If you become involved and decide to enter the field of civic hacking, here are five things you ought to know. 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