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Need to Tell Ma and Pa You've Been Arrested? In Egypt, There's An App For That

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, January 3 2014

When Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Ebd El Fattah was beaten and arrested in his own home at the end of November, his wife and fellow blogger Manal El Fattah were there to document and report the arrest on Twitter. But what of activists or journalists arrested alone, without friends or witnesses? They can now use the Android application Byt2ebed 3alia to alert family, friends and legal counsel that they are being arrested.

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Recycling Phones to Raise Funds for mHealth Initiatives

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, December 19 2013

What can your old phone do? (Flickr/Phil Roeder)

A nonprofit organization that runs mHealth programs in 20 different countries has started a campaign that collects old cell phones and recycles them, using the profits to fund their humanitarian work. Hope Phones is one of those classic kill-two-birds-with-one-stone organizations: tackling the problem of cellphone waste and fundraising for their humanitarian mission at the same time.

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In the Congo, War and Embargo Complicate World Bank Project

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, December 16 2013

The provincial budget minister talks to the press after a generally assembly and budget vote (Credit: World Bank)

The war-ravaged province of South Kivu sits at the eastern border of the DRC, beside the stem of Tanganyika, an African Great Lake. Boris Weber, team leader for the World Bank's ICT4Gov, explains to techPresident that after years of conflict and violence in the province, the provincial government was simply not sending the money allocated to local governments. “Partly, they just didn’t have any incentive to send it. Also, they had no way of knowing and tracking how their money was going to be spent.” The World Bank’s participatory budgeting program, piloted in 2012, aimed to resolve that dilemma by giving those in Bukavu a direct say in how they wanted to see their budget spent; therefore creating the accountability needed to incentivize the provincial government to send money down the line. But locals view the program with a skeptic eye and ask, is it enough? Read More

First POST: Self-censorship

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 16 2013

The NSA uses 60 Minutes to respond to its critics; Facebook keeps track of what you don't post, the better to make you post more; Ready for Hillary seeks a 2016 Big Data advantage; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Yum, Cookies!

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 11 2013

Now the NSA rides along with Google's special "cookie" to monitor users; Joe Biden to take questions by Skype today; the rightwing blogosphere is getting rolled up by Salem Communications; and much, much more. Read More

NYC Looks to Reinvent 311 for Mobile with New Challenge

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, November 26 2013

311 requests by district (

New York City is partnering with Code for America and Stack Exchange to invite civic technologists and other hackers to "reinvent 311" with a focus on new and existing mobile tools. "From parking and recycling rules to birth certificates, all of 311's content is available through an API (application programming interface) - but it's not yet widely available in the mobile space," according to the page of the Reinvent 311: Mobile Content Challenge. Read More


Dude, Where's My Cow? There May Be An App For That

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, October 18 2013


Sometimes the thieves come in large trucks armed with guns and take what they like in broad daylight. Sometimes they slink across the fields in the middle of the night for their plunder. But the results are the same: the loss of crops and in many cases, cows, that has cost farmers US$52 million a year in Jamaica alone. These thefts – known as praedial larceny – are endemic across the Caribbean region. Read More

Mobile Canvassing Startup Organizer Changes Leadership, Integrates With NationBuilder

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, October 3 2013

Organizer enables campaigners to 'cut turf' by precinct, and managers to track their progress

Organizer, the Democratically-oriented mobile political canvassing software startup, signaled a new strategic direction earlier this week when it casually unveiled the news that it has appointed new leadership in the form of Bay Area politico Chris Kelly, at the same time that it announced a closer integration with NationBuilder. Read More


In Abu Dhabi, A Government-Led "Civic" App Is Surprisingly Popular

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, September 12 2013

A simple, free smartphone application called CityGuard has given thousands of Abu Dhabi residents the opportunity to be more involved in maintaining their communities. The government-developed mobile application allows citizens to report civic issues with just a few swipes on their smartphones. According to FutureGov Asia, the crowdsourcing initiative is surprising popular and successful. The app is the “cornerstone” of the Abu Dhabi government's initiative to empower and engage citizens through technology.

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Getting Social About Water To Save Lives

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, September 5 2013

Every year more than 750,000 children under the age of five die after contracting diarrheal disease. Many of those deaths could be prevented if only the children had access to safe drinking water. A new smartphone app called mWater will try to tackle that problem through what they call social water monitoring. USAID thinks there's something to the idea: they just invested US$100,000 in their pilot project in Tanzania.

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