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Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, April 10 2014

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. Read More

First POST: System of a Down

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, November 21 2013

Clay Shirky dissects the managerial and cultural gap between politicians, government planners and technologists that underpins the HealthCare.gov mess; the GOP playbook for attacking Obamacare; Mike Allen's pro-business Playbook gets eviscerated; and much, much more. Read More

Open Docket, an Open Government Tool for Small Towns and Cities

BY Sam Roudman | Monday, February 4 2013

In small towns, getting civic information can be a mess. Figuring out the history or status of a request for a new stop sign can require a slog through weeks or months of PDF files of meeting agendas, minutes, and reports. Is the information public? Yes. Is it accessible? No. Sean Roche lives in Newton, Mass., population 85,000, and he's hoping to solve that with Open Docket, an open-source project he's launched to provide a better way to track the lawmaking goings-on of small cities and towns.

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Testing the SuperPAC-Free Massachusetts Senate Campaign

BY Nick Judd | Friday, March 9 2012

In an email to supporters, Massachusetts U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren just announced that after an online conversation with supporters, she's asked Sen. Scott Brown to donate money to the Autism Consortium, a network of medical and research institutions in the Boston and Worcester areas, in accordance with a pledge both contenders for the Senate reached in January.

An independent group placed an ad recently on Brown's behalf. Brown and Warren had pledged that should outside groups enter the race on one candidate's behalf, that candidate would donate to a charity of the other candidate's choice from its campaign funds — which would, in theory, negate the financial benefits of outside money entering the race.

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Massachusetts Pol Grouponomizes Campaign Finance

BY Nick Judd | Friday, July 29 2011

Massachusetts state Rep. Dan Winslow. Groupon economics (Grouponomics?) has come to campaign finance. In June, Massachusetts state Rep. Dan Winslow sought approval for an effort to Grouponomize a campaign fund-raiser ... Read More

Massachusetts State Rep Offers a Social Deal ... On His Fund-Raiser

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, June 22 2011

Massachusetts State Rep. Dan Winslow is seeking state approval for a scheme to offer a Groupon deal on a campaign fund-raiser: Winslow’s groundbreaking idea would allow supporters a chance to attend the $100 per ... Read More

Should You Bring Your iPad to the City Council Meeting?

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, May 19 2011

The Boston Globe's Kathy McCabe has a smartly done enterprise story today about the intersection of public meetings and "e-government." Popping around Massachusetts towns, she compiles a list of anecdotes that sum up the ... Read More

Trippi to Mass. and Massie

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, April 26 2011

Long-time strategist Joe Trippi has signed up with Democrat Bob Massie's campaign in Massachusetts to unseat Sen. Scott Brown, notes Ben Smith: Trippi, who notes that he began his career working for Ted Kennedy's 1980 ... Read More

Inside Brown's Online Ad Strategy

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, January 19 2010

ClickZ's Kate Kaye has a look at the Massachusetts Republican's online operation, with some good details on online ad strategy and insights from the campaign's new media staff and consultants: Read More

Massachusetts Special: The State of the Brown vs. Coakley (Online) Race

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, January 19 2010

As we reach the very end of the Massachusetts special election, we're seeing a ramping up of folks working to extract what the race means for the state of online politics. Read More

News Briefs

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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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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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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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