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In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, April 11 2014

De Blasio offers a Bronx Greeting

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. Read More

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

Study Examines Policy Implications of Growing New York City Tech Ecosystem

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, April 1 2014

The NYC Urban Future Lab in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle (NYCEDC)

New York City's technology ecosystem has a broad impact on the city's economy, a new study concludes, with significant policy implications for New York City government priorities. HR&A Advisors conducted the study on behalf of the Association for a Better New York, Citi, Google and the NY Tech Meetup, focusing not just on the influence of jobs in the technology industry and start-up sector, but seeking to define a broader technology economy across sectors and job titles. In that spirit, the report also accounts for non-tech jobs in technology industries and tech occupations in non-tech tech industries. Read More

New York's Citi Bike Program Releases Historical Trip Data

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, April 1 2014

(NYU Rudin/ linepointpath.com/Spatial Information Design Lab)

New York City's Citi Bike program released eight months of trip history data on Monday, fulfilling a core demand of the city's civic hacker community since the start of the program last summer, even amidst reports of financial troubles. Read More

Now You Can See Who Really Pays NYC Property Taxes

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, March 5 2014

Property tax revenue makes up around a quarter of New York City's budget, but until now broader information about it has not been easily accessible. Users could only look up individual properties by entering lot and block information into a basic online form on a city website, and would have had to cross-reference that information with a building's address and other sources, explained Chris Whong, co-organizer of New York City's Code for America brigade betaNYC. "This data is much more powerful in the aggregate," he said. That's why, as part of last week's Code Across NYC hackathon, he along with several collaborators worked to develop an online platform "born out of curiosity" that maps New York City property data. Read More

Enthusiasm and Challenges for Making NYC Local Government More Tech-Friendly

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 28 2014

Gale Brewer, Noel Hidalgo and Ben Kallos at Code Across NYC (Twitter via @ppolitics)

Last weekend, around one hundred members of New York City's civic hacker community came together to help develop tools that would be useful for City Council and local Community Board members as part of Code Across NYC, organized by Code for America brigade betaNYC. As part of the event, open government advocates Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council member Ben Kallos discussed their transparency advocacy. With input from five Community Board members and New York City officials, the weekend program resulted in the creation of 20 projects, of which 12 were submitted for five awards. But even with all the enthusiasm, many challenges remain to making technology more accessible to local government, as participants and subsequent City Council hearings this week indicated. Read More

Digital Engagement Starting to Be New Normal in New York City Council and City Hall

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, February 21 2014

Google Hangout with Ben Kallos

Public officials in New York City, from the mayor down to newly elected members of the City Council, are starting to make digital engagement more of an integrated part of their daily routine, as Miranda Neubauer reports. Read More

NYPD Commissioner Bratton Appoints Tech Deputy Jessica Tisch

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, February 13 2014

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Wednesday night that he was naming Jessica Tisch as Deputy Commissioner of Information Technology. Her previous positions were Counsel to the Police Commissioner and Director of Policy and Planning in the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau. The previous Deputy Commissioner of Information Technology and CIO was James Onalfo. Read More

Open Survey Data from Mayoral Transition Initiative Helps Interpret State of NYC

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, February 12 2014

Talking Transition data on housing in NYC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered his State of the City address Monday, but coders and developers have the chance to present alternative takes on the State of the City with the help of data now provided by Talking Transition, a community engagement effort that sought to crowdsource New Yorkers' opinions about the future direction of the city on the occasion of the mayoral transition. Read More

More Transparency on Agenda for NYPD and New York City Council

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, February 11 2014

NYPD Commissioner Bratton at a CompStat Meeting (Bratton/Twitter)

While there was a lot of hype about a report that the NYPD is testing Google Glass, in the short-term a policy-shift toward more accessible NYPD data has the potential to be more consequential for New Yorkers at large. 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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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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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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