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Things From This Weekend More Interesting Than #WHCD

BY Nick Judd | Monday, April 30 2012

Here's how we kicked off First POST, our morning look at technology in politics from around the web:

At around this time every year, the barometric pressure for celebrity, power and wealth reaches record lows in Washington, D.C. Anyone who relies on hot air for their livelihood is caught up in the weather system of D.C. society and sucked into this stormy maw, which touched down this weekend at the Washington Hilton.

Here's what some of the rest of us got up to this weekend while the hoi polloi were laughing along with the president:

The Wall Street Journal hosted an event to highlight privacy-awareness applications. Among the biggest attention-getters were CryptoCat, an application for conducting encrypted chats by phone or web, and MobileScope, a service that tracks and reports on the data being transmitted by your mobile phone — which is, usually, quite a bit more than you'd expect.

Closer to the eye of the storm, just one awful D.C. Metro ride away from the White House Correspondents Dinner, an international group of transparency and open government activists got together for TransparencyCamp. Among the folks represented there: Open Data Albania, a collaborative that collects and analyzes data about the government of Albania and partners with journalists to build context to explain how that country works; Global Integrity, which partnered with others to build a 50-state corruption report card for the United States; and LittleSis, which looks to map connections and influence at the highest levels of American society.

TransparencyCamp was put on by the Sunlight Foundation, where techPresident's Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry are senior advisers and which just released Scout, a tool to track people and keywords as they appear anywhere in federal lawmaking or across many state legislatures.

Few were so caught up in the wonky business of trying to open governments as to completely miss the warm breeze billowing from D.C. this weekend.

In his remarks, President Barack Obama made frequent reference to how much more connected — and, erm, transparent — government has become.

"Four years ago, I was locked in a brutal primary battle with Hillary Clinton," he joked. "Four years later, she won’t stop drunk-texting me from Cartagena."