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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 thursday >

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The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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