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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

  • Data.gov 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 Data.gov 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."

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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tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

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Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

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monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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