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First POST: Presidents Day Edition

BY Nick Judd | Monday, February 18 2013

On the shelf

  • Romney strategist Stuart Stevens: "Listen, ... it would be a great mistake if we felt that technology in itself is going to save the Republican Party. Technology is something to a large degree you can go out and purchase."

Around the web

  • Nathaniel Heller, of Global Integrity, criticizes Florida lawmakers for failure to launch a new fiscal transparency website:

    What could Florida have done differently? First, paying anyone $5 million-plus dollars to build a simple (but certainly powerful) standardized database of government fiscal information is folly in the modern era (and to accept the allegedly draconian licensing and ownership restrictions imposed by Spider Data Services is simply amateur). There are completely free, open source software tools being used by governments around the world to accomplish budget transparency but at a fraction of the cost. For an example, visit www.openspending.org and take a few minutes to browse through the budgets of Nigeria, Germany, or local governments in Bosnia-Herzegovina. That project is based on the original www.wheredoesmymoneygo.org effort in the United Kingdom that allows the British public to easily search government vendors and budget expenditures with a few clicks of the mouse, all developed with free open source software. Would it really have been difficult for Florida, the 21st largest global economy, to build a budget transparency website at not only a reasonable cost but also with total ownership and control?

  • The Sunlight Foundation's John Wonderlich has sharp words for the fundraising practices of President Barack Obama's record on campaign finance: "The arc of the Obama presidency may be long, but so far, it has bent away from transparency for influence and campaign finance, and toward big funders."

  • Blowback from the Lower Hudson Journal-News' decision to publish a map listing the names and addresses of gun owners may compromise access to other public records.

  • At techPresident, Micah Sifry is enthused about a new piece of collaboration software.

  • A rolling conversation about employee privacy at NASA is now a centerpiece of a growing movement asking employers to better protect sensitive details about their employees.

  • Politico profiles RAP Index, software designed to highlight the connections between lobbying organizations and their targets. We wrote up the software last year.

  • What if the European Union was a single competitive market for telecommunications services?

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

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

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.

GO

tuesday >

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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

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