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First POST: Moving Forward

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, December 20 2012

Where does the data go?

  • Obama for America 2008 veterans Jim Pugh and Nathan Woodhull argue that Obama for America needs to spin its software operation into a standalone support system for the entire progressive movement:

    An investment in building on these systems offers another possibility as well: providing access to the rest of the progressive movement. Right now, only presidential campaigns have the resources to build systems of this sophistication. The data and technology infrastructure from the Obama campaign cost millions of dollars to build, and even the most well-funded senate campaigns couldn't afford anything close to that.

    But with some additional work, the data and tech infrastructure from the Obama campaign could be adapted to offer the same functionality to other progressive candidates and groups, giving them the opportunity to use these systems with their own supporters and volunteers. For smaller campaigns that would have no chance of creating these systems on their own, this could be a game-changing step forward. And beyond the benefit to the Democratic Party and progressive movement, it could provide a path to fund the continued investment, via paid licensing from these outside campaigns and organizations.

    An idea we also heard floated at the progressive pow-wow Rootscamp, this would turn key pieces of OfA software into platform-esque technologies provided as a service by some new company or organization. The incoming license or consulting fees subsidizes the maintenance and development of the technology for the next four years. This is essentially the way Mark Sullivan and Steven Corey Adler started VAN, before Adler left and VAN merged with NGP: What began as a software product in a state-level race accrued attention and licensing deals from the Democratic Party; party officials developed a balance wherein the company owns the software and the party owns the data; and because of the way the arrangement works, the party establishment has a lot of say in who has easy access to the software and who doesn't.

After WCIT, the final tally

  • Conversations about how to run the Internet are ongoing, but U.S. Ambassador Terry Kramer, who took the lead in the U.S. delegation to the World Conference on International Telecommunications, breaks down for The Hill what it looks like with the dust from Dubai finally settled:

    Eighty-nine member countries signed the treaty at the conference in Dubai. The U.S., U.K. and Canada refused to sign. Kramer said 55 nations, including the U.S., stated they would either not sign the treaty, or had reservations and needed to receive guidance from their governments before signing onto it.

    "I hardly call 89 nations out of 193 [member countries] broad consensus," Kramer said.

    The treaty will go into effect in Jan. 2015.

    In the short-term, the U.S. needs to keep engaging other countries, particularly English-speaking African countries and nations in Latin America, in the discussion about Internet governance, he said.

    "They're listening, they want to have a dialogue," Kramer said. "We need to be spending more time with those nations."

Just for you

  • A glimpse into the future: After watching women's health become a mobilizing force in online politics in 2012, the National Women's Law Center is building a 2013 strategy that uses Facebook to recruit new activists for what they predict will be another year of state-level attacks on women's access to reproductive health care. While national debates sometimes flare up in the media, state-level legislation is coming up for debate across the country but NWLC feels like it's flying under the radar. Can they use Internet activism to draw attention to the way they say women's rights are being curtailed, incrementally, in statehouses across the nation? Sarah Lai Stirland digs in.

The future of news?

  • Journalists are going gaga over the latest innovation from the New York Times, a longform feature about an avalanche that has been presented, perhaps for the first time, in a truly web-native way. The feature experiments with many of the tricks that designers have found most appealing about the emerging HTML5 and JavaScript standard, such as parallax scrolling, embedded video, and transition effects. It's a legitimately boundary-pushing experiment in storytelling and might say a thing or two about how stories will be presented online.

    But. BUT! It looks janky on techPresident's Android phone. Deprecate gracefully, guys!

A surprise to all open-government advocates we are sure

  • Toby Mendel, the executive director of Canada-based Centre for Law and Democracy, writes that the Open Government Partnership's credibility is at risk because its member countries have not taken sufficient steps to increase access to information.

Around the web

  • may be moving to the open-source platform that powers India's open data hub. Developers from the U.S. and India developers built the open-source version of as part of a bilateral agreement on open data announced in the run-up to the Open Government Partnership rollout.

  • Cory Booker is probably running for Senate, not the New Jersey governor's chair.

  • From us to you: Some of the names on the list of gun-control supporters belong to Silicon Valley notables who found themselves unusually activated by the fight against SOPA and PIPA at around this time last year.

  • Keep an eye on Utah, Politico's Jason Millman writes, as the development of its exchange will be a test of how flexible the Obama administration will be with states on the rollout of these new federally mandated marketplaces for health insurance.

  • Something completely different: The U.S. Census emails to note that North Dakota had the largest percent increase in population of any state this year, growing by 2.17 percent according to a Census Bureau state population estimate.

  • No, really, we're listening: Taking a page from the Obama playbook, the Democratic Party is out to its list with a survey seeking input on post-election priorities. Flagged for us by a Republican First POST reader.

  • Walkability watch: Bike Score, a website that scores neighborhoods based on ease of biking or walking, has expanded to new cities.

  • It begins: One senator is calling for a study on violence in video games.

  • A German state has demanded that Facebook allow use of pseudonyms on the site. CNET has more:

    The data protection agency Unabhaengiges Landeszentrum fuer Datenschutz (ULD) in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein has ordered Facebook to put a halt to its real name policy, citing a German law that allows people to use pseudonyms online. The agency pointed to that law as one that guarantees the "fundamental right to freedom of expression on the Internet."

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.


tuesday > Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like 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 is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and And strangely enough, seems to want its early users to ask 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.


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.


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.


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.