Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Ron Conway Rallies Tech Community To Support New Lobbying Group Sandy Hook Promise

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, January 14 2013

A new non-profit lobbying group formed by several members of the Newtown, Connecticut community is launching Monday with the help of the technology community in Silicon Valley.

The group is called Sandy Hook Promise, and its launch marks the one-month anniversary of the shooting of 20 children, four teachers and two school administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary. For now, the group's newly-launched Web page says that the group's purpose is to both support the families of the victims, and also to "prevent tragedies like this from happening again." The site doesn't list specific policy goals, but several of the group's leaders, who are parents of some of the slain students, are holding a press conference at 11 a.m. in Newtown.

Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway is spearheading the local tech community's efforts to support the group through social media. Conway, through his own local civic engagement group SF Citi, sent out a note over the week-end to the group's member companies calling on them to post badges on their Web sites linking to Sandy Hook Promise. The site is then building its list by asking visitors to sign a pledge to do everything they can to "encourage and support common sense solutions" to make the country safer from similar acts of violence. Members have also been asked to send out tweets with the hashtag #sandyhookpromise.

Conway also announced that he's establishing a committee to find tech solutions to gun safety. SF Citi has more than 320 members, which include AT&T, Autodesk, Expedia, Foursquare, Optimizingly, Twlillio, Twitter, and dozens of others.

Pando Daily Founder and Editor-in-Chief Sarah Lacy had back story behind Conway's involvement in December, writing: "Last year’s SOPA and JOBS Act fights showed a new catalyzing of the startup ecosystem’s political power. Conway wants this fight — which doesn’t have to do with boosting anyone’s bank account or financial prospects — to be the biggest thing Washington has seen from our community yet."

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

friday >

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

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. GO

More