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First POST: Boosts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 7 2014


  • Before we get to the news of the world, here's our own scoop: Personal Democracy Media is proud to be launching a big new project called Civic Hall, a year-round community center and event space for civic tech in the heart of Manhattan's Silicon Alley. Details here.

  • In the Washington Post, Matea Gold and Sean Sullivan break down the RNC's vastly improved voter contact program, which reached 35 million people. In at least eleven states, the Republican vote total was bigger than in 2012. By contrast, the biggest Democratic voter contact operation, run by the DSCC's Bannock Street Project, hit 10.2 million doors.

  • Continuing the mid-term post-mortems, Andrew Bleeker of Bully Pulpit Interactive writes that the press overstated the role of tech in 2014 (having underplayed it in 2012). Further, he says that main challenge is in how campaigns best integrate the insights that data-driven campaigning produces, noting that "paralysis by analysis" often delayed or impedes critical action.

  • Lawrence Lessig and his MayDay PAC get drubbed by Byron Tau and Kenneth Vogel in Politico. The title of their report says it all: "How to Waste $10 Million."

  • Municipal broadband got a boost Tuesday in Colorado, where in seven cities and counties voters approved measures that will allow their local governments to offer Internet service, Nancy Scola reports for The Washington Post. While the state is one of the nearly two dozen that limit local governments' ability to offer their own services (laws passed at the behest of Big Cable), there's an escape hatch in that law called "an election."

  • I'm not sure which is the best part of Mark Headd's long essay in GovFresh on defining civic hacking: his own story of being transported from his prior life building payment systems for local governments by winning the silver medal in the 2008 Apps for Democracy contest in DC, or his rooting of civic hacking in the long, great tradition of volunteers banding together to improve their own community's services.

  • Women, Action & the Media's Jaclyn Friedman reports a new partnership with Twitter to address the online harassment of women: "WAM! will escalate validated reports to Twitter and track Twitter’s responses to different kinds of gendered harassment.  At the end of the pilot test period, WAM! will analyze the data collected and use it to work with Twitter to better understand how gendered harassment intersects with other types of harassment, how those attacks function on their platform, and to improve Twitter’s responses to it."

  • Britain's spy agency GCHQ has the legal authority to eavesdrop on the communications between lawyers and their clients, reports Ryan Gallagher for the Intercept, raising questions about the integrity of its judicial system.

  • Net neutrality activists are holding protests in a number of US cities, aimed at defeating the FCC's latest "hybrid" proposal for regulating the open Internet, reports Dominick Rushe for the Guardian.

  • Facebook is urging its users to donate to help fight Ebola, putting a banner across the top of their news feeds for the next week plugging three aid groups: the Red Cross, Save the Children and the International Medical Corps.

  • Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, gets a feature profile in the Wall Street Journal.