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Pan-African Whistleblowing Platform AfriLeaks Launched

BY Philip DiSalvo | Monday, December 15 2014

In 2007, WikiLeaks received and published documents revealing corruption and misconduct perpetuated by the former Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi and his family. The case, which was then picked up by the Guardian, helped Julian Assange’s nascent whistleblowing platform gain crucial momentum]. Now, history is coming full circle asThe African Network of Centers for Investigative Reporting (ANCIR) has launched afriLeaks, a pan-African whistleblowing platform, by gathering together a dozen partner media companies.

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Bad News Bots: How Civil Society Can Combat Automated Online Propaganda

BY Sam Woolley and Phil Howard | Wednesday, December 10 2014

Clever Script Kiddies (by DeNovo Broome, CC BY 2.0)

t’s no secret that governments and political actors now make use of social robots or bots—automated scripts that produce content and mimic real users. Faux social media accounts now spread pro-governmental messages, beef up web site follower numbers, and causeartificial trends. Bot-generated propaganda and misdirection has become a worldwide political strategy. In this guest post, Sam Woolley and Phil Howard suggest some ways to fight back. Read More

A Behind the Scenes Look at Expunge.Maryland, Your Automated Expungement Paralegal

BY Jason Tashea | Tuesday, December 9 2014

The Expunge Maryland app (Jason Tashea)

This past summer my colleague Jon Tippens and I forked Smart Chicago’s Expunge.io to create ExpungeMaryland.org. Since ExpungeMaryland’s launch in July, there has been interest in how we created the app. This post provides background to other jurisdictions looking to replicate the expungement app model. Read More

[Op-Ed] Your In-Box is Personal, and That's What Makes Email Powerful

BY Martha Patzer | Wednesday, December 3 2014

Joe Rospars recently wrote in Time about the perceived “creative crisis" in the Democratic Party, a debate about online fundraising, and the responsibility writers, digital directors, and even candidates have to the creative direction of a campaign. Joe's answer -- “Don’t be lame” -- is a great place to start. But it doesn’t answer the why: Unlike those TV ads, email is personal. Read More

How Brigade is Taking Shape: An Interview with James Windon

BY Alex Howard | Tuesday, November 25 2014

James Windon speaking at Fusion Riseup 2014

The following is an edited transcript of an interview that Alex Howard conducted with James Windon, the president of civic engagement startup Brigade, last Wednesday November 19 at the Fusion RiseUp event in Washington, DC. That morning, Brigade had announced that it was partnering with a “carefully curated” set of organizations: Rainforest Action Network, Americans for Tax Reform, the Drug Policy Alliance, Represent.Us, Generation Opportunity, Forecast the Facts, FreedomWorks and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. With more than $9 million in venture funding from Napster co-founder Sean Parker, Brigade has been amassing a staff of more than 50 while remaining quiet about how it plans to launch and grow a new social network for civic engagement. In this interview, Windon explains why he thinks there’s still room for “yet another social network” and how Brigade will attract users: “one of the biggest reasons that people have stopped participating civically is because their civic lives have become decoupled from their social lives,” noting that the company will be primarily focused on people’s relationship to local issues and down-ballot representatives. He also addresses the inevitable questions about a for-profit business entering the civic space, saying,“our best bet at how we will monetize is through advertising.” Read More

WeGov

Mob Rule, Vigilante Behavior and Blasphemy in Pakistan's Digital Age

BY Nighat Dad | Wednesday, November 26 2014

London's Pakistani community protests Pakistan's blasphemy law (helen.2006/flickr)

Blasphemy cases in Pakistan are considered a norm these days. However, the latest incident of a mob beating to death a Christian couple is the most gruesome manifestation of this sensitive issue. The couple in Punjab was alleged to have desecrated a copy of the Qur’an. The mob attacked the couple, killed them, and later burnt their bodies in the brick kiln where they worked. The blasphemy law presents a frightening level of vigilante violence where prison and private guards, neighbors and colleagues turn into mobs killing those accused of blasphemy. Unfortunately, this mob behavior is being strengthened by the increasing adoption of technology in the country like mobile phones and the internet.

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Civic Tech and Engagement: Can Hollaback's Storytelling Make For Safer Streets?

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, November 24 2014

In the 1920s there was the Anti-Flirt Club. Now there's Hollaback! (Wikimedia)

An in-depth look at how Hollaback!, a global anti-street harassment movement, goes from telling stories online to actually stopping harassment on the streets. Read More

WeGov

Creating Bottom-Up Tech Tools to Fight Ebola

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, November 21 2014

Liberian youths flash their mobile phones in support of UNICEF's U-Report (UNICEF Liberia)

The fight against Ebola in West Africa is far from over. TechPresident recently covered New York Tech Meetup’s Ebola Hackathon and wrote about what technology can and can’t do. But what emerged from these discussions is that technology needed to be more responsive -- designed after community input and not before. Here are a few systems that were built in just that manner. Read More

Jersey Shore Hurricane News: Using Facebook and Crowdsourcing to Build a News Network

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, November 19 2014

Jersey Shore Hurricane News has grown into a news outlet for much more than just severe weather updates (credit: Robert Siliato)

When Hurricane Irene barreled down on the East Coast in 2011, one news source had some irregular advice from one New Jerseyan to another: "Fill up some Ziploc bags with water NOW and freeze....keep them on hand for when we lose power and you need that ice to keep the beer cold." The tip was punctuated not with a period but with a smiley face, and it was first posted to Facebook, the home of a new citizen journalism outlet: Jersey Shore Hurricane News.

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At PDF Italia, Tom Steinberg Explores Five Digital Asks We Should Make To Our Government

BY Antonella Napolitano | Thursday, November 20 2014

As the first edition of PDF Italia revolved around "the data society" we live in, there was probably no better person to start the conversation than mySociety's founder Tom Steinberg. Here's a writeup of his speech, ... Read More

The Guardian's Alan Rusbridger on the Post-Snowden Agenda

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 14 2014

Alan Rusbridger's slide from Open Up? 2014

Wednesday in London, as part of the annual Open Up? conference hosted by the Omidyar Network, I had the opportunity to interview Alan Rusbridger, the longtime editor of The Guardian newspaper, about the impact of Edward Snowden's revelations of massive government surveillance programs in the United States and United Kingdom. To my surprise, he was much more optimistic about the impact of the stories published in his paper and elsewhere, like the Washington Post and New York Times, than I expected. And he laid out an extraordinarily ambitious agenda of unfinished work that Snowden has prompted. Read More

Revealing Anonymous: An Interview With Gabriella Coleman

BY Carola Frediani | Tuesday, November 11 2014

Fred Benenson/flickr

Carola Frediani discusses Gabriella Coleman's new book on Anonymous, one of the most comprehensive ones on the hacktivist collective to date. Read More

Announcing Civic Hall

BY Andrew Rasiej and Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 7 2014

Here at Personal Democracy Media, we have some big news. We're launching a major new project called Civic Hall. It's a vibrant, collaborative community center and event space in the Flatiron District of Manhattan where civic tech innovators from diverse backgrounds can work, network, learn and organize together to tackle and solve civic problems at scale. With the generous support of our founding sponsors Microsoft, the Omidyar Network and Google, and founding partners like New America, The New York Tech Meetup and others, we are excited to tell you that we're on our way! Read More

WeGov

After Sunflower Movement, Taiwan's g0v Uses Open Source to Open the Government

BY Sonia Roubini and Jason R. Tashea | Wednesday, November 5 2014

g0v took the lead in organizing Taiwan's Sunflower movement (speedbug/flickr)

This past March, the online community g0v helped organize hundreds of protestors to storm Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan, in opposition to a pending trade deal with China. Now g0v wants to make the government more transparent and accessible. By doing so, it hopes to help citizens understand both how government works and how to make it better. Read More

Help Us #FactcheckFacebook's Election Efforts Today

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 4 2014

Master OSM 2011/flickr

Today is Election Day in the United States, and along with the many efforts by campaigns and advocacy groups to get out their voters, Facebook is taking a big step to push people to the polls. As I reported last week for Mother Jones, for the first time in six years, Facebook says it is rolling out its "voter megaphone"--a banner across the top of each user's page like the one shown above--to all of its users above the age of 18 in the United States. That's somewhere upwards of 150 million people, if all goes according to plan. Will it work? And will the company do it in a neutral manner? We're asking readers to help answer those questions. Read More

WeGov

Uploading Democracy

BY La Netscouade | Wednesday, October 29 2014

Kevin Law/flickr

TechPresident partnered with La Netscouade to feature an in-depth multimedia report on how the Hong Kong protestors are utilizing technology in the Umbrella Movement. Read More

WeGov

Anti-Corruption Alert, a Secure Platform For Public Servants Willing to Blow the Whistle

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, October 28 2014

The homepage of the Anti-Corruption Alert (ALAC) launched last week in Italy.

Last week, the Italian chapter of Transparency International launched Anti-Corruption Alert, a platform aimed mainly at public servants willing to denounce malpractice in the public administration. The platform uses GlobaLeaks, an open-source software specifically designed to protect the identity of the whistleblower and the receiver in the exchange of confidential material. Read More

WeGov

Italy Pioneers An Internet Bill of Rights

BY Fabio Chiusi | Monday, October 27 2014

Italy thinks we need a Magna Carta for the Internet (James Joel/flickr)

Do we need another Internet Bill of Rights? Fabio Chiusi talks to a number of experts about Italy's new project. Read More

The Most Tech Savvy Candidate Running for Statewide Office This Year is a Republican

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, October 24 2014

CA State Sen. Alex Padilla (left,) Davenport Institute's Pete Peterson (right.)

A California Republican who is a civic engagement expert is running a grassroots campaign to become secretary of state. He's been outraised by Democratic State Senator Alex Padilla by almost eight to one, but has received endorsements from most of the state's leading newspapers as well as a weekly progressive outlet. Here are some of his ideas for improving an office bogged down by procurement, budget and staffing woes. Read More

WeGov

Tunisian Youth Activists Dissect Budget Ahead of Parliamentary Elections

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, October 22 2014

The economic frustrations that led to the revolution still linger (Crethi Plethi/flickr)

Amira Yahyaoui is known for her plucky efforts to monitor the National Constituent Assembly -- turning up at private committee meetings, nettling officials with live tweets, taking their attendance and recording their every vote. Now she wants to open up Tunisia's economy too, starting with the state budget. Read More

Tracking the Pulse of Elections in 2014 and Beyond

BY Dan Ancona | Thursday, October 23 2014

Voting Booths 1966 (Clackamas County Historical Society/flickr)

Dan Ancona, who has been building online tools for empowering people in democracies since 2002, tells us why we should use Pulse. Read More

Civic Tech and Engagement: With Waze, Who's in the Driver's Seat?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 21 2014

Screenshot of Waze.com's live map for Rio de Janeiro

Can you be a "connected citizen" if you don't know that you are connected to government? That's the question that's been on my mind since Waze, the crowdsourced traffic data company recently acquired by Google, announced a major new partnership with ten local cities and governments around the world called "Connected Citizens." Under this program, Waze will be giving city, state and county authorities like the New York Police Department and Rio de Janiero's Operations Center real-time traffic incident data (aggregated and anonymized) and in turn getting timely and relevant data from the authorities about scheduled events (construction, marathons and the like) that can also cause traffic problems. Since the program's announcement, dozens more governments have been applying to join in. At first glance, this can only be seen as a net plus good where everyone wins. But upon further inspection, Waze's new "Connected Citizens" program can teach us a lot about the potential, and limits, of tech-empowered civic engagement when the users aren't really in the driver's seat (pun intended). Read More

What Tech Can and Can't Do to Eradicate Ebola

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, October 20 2014

Open Street Map assists WHO and MSF in Sierra Leone (Screenshot)

Over the weekend, a group of technologists met in New York City to discuss the limits and potential uses of data in combatting the spread of Ebola in West Africa. Read More

WeGov

[Op-Ed] Policing With Consent Would Require Throwing Away Our Freedoms

BY Guðjón Idir | Wednesday, October 8 2014

Keith Bristow, Director of the UK's National Crime Agency, asks the public to agree to more surveillance (Chatham House/flickr)

Guðjón Idir, the Executive Director of the Icelandic Modern Media Institute, explains why the UK's request for "policing with consent" demands trading in our freedoms. Read More

WeGov

FireChat Wasn’t Meant For Protests. Here’s How It Worked (Or Didn’t) at Occupy Central

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, October 10 2014

Occupy Central is also known as the Umbrella Movement (hurtingbombz/flickr)

On September 28, the third day of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests known as Occupy Central, one of the movement’s leaders, 17-year-old Joshua Wong, posted a message on Facebook to fellow protestors asking them to download an app called FireChat in case the government decided to shut down phone and wifi connections. A week later, even though the government had not cut off connectivity, downloads had more than quadrupled at 450,000. But so far, there's been little reporting on whether FireChat actually enables useful communications among protesters. Read More

WeGov

[Op-Ed] Like Island, Like Party: How Kim Dotcom's Internet Party Resonates In Iceland

BY Birgitta Jonsdottir | Monday, October 6 2014

The Internet Party has a simple but grand agenda.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, a Representative of the Pirate Party in Iceland, writes in with her thoughts on Kim Dotcom's Internet Party and its recent loss in the parliamentary elections in New Zealand. Read More

The Dangers of Off-Grid Social Networking in Hong Kong and Beyond

BY Sascha Meinrath | Thursday, October 2 2014

FireChat doesn't need the Internet but it is most certainly not risk-free (Melies The Bunny/flickr)

Sascha Meinrath, who has been dubbed the "community Internet pioneer," provides a list of reasons why off-grid tools like FireChat need to be used with a dose of caution. Read More

WeGov

Occupy Central and China's Policy of Give and Take

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, September 30 2014

The movement has inspired a variety of Internet logos (Top: Angelo Costadimas | Left: Sam Inglis | Right: Tania Willis)

Since exploding on the international stage on Friday, the ongoing pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong known as Occupy Central has galvanized up to 80,000 people by some estimates and has made enough noise to capture attention and support from those as far away as Los Angeles, London, Paris and Perth. But inside mainland China, except for a few folks who shaved their heads to show solidarity, people there have remained noticeably quiet. The government's diligent censorship of Occupy Central coverage in China can explain part of the silence but not all of it.

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With Vision of Internet Magna Carta, Web We Want Campaign Aims To Go Beyond Protest Mode

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, September 30 2014

Clarista_/flickr

On Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee reiterated his call for an Internet Magna Carta to ensure the independence and openness of the World Wide Web and protection of user privacy. His remarks were part of the opening of the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, which the Web We Want campaign envisioned as only the start of a year long international process underlying his call to formulate concrete visions for the open web of the future, going beyond protests and the usual advocacy groups. Read More

Civic Tech and Engagement: How Network-Centric Organizing Made the People's Climate March

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, September 22 2014

Hundreds of thousands marched for climate change in New York (South Bend Voice/flickr)

At a reported 400,000 people, yesterday's People's Climate March was purportedly four times larger than expected. Other articles may feature the celebrities who turned out for a photo-op; this one is concerned with everyone else, the “odd juxtapositions” of a Muslim marching next to a Christian, a pagan next to a monk, and the work (and tech) that went into getting them there.

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In Detroit Water Project, Tech-Driven Philanthropy Takes Off Without Touching Down

BY Denise Cheng | Friday, September 19 2014

Disaster images like this one of Michigan Central Station has led to outpourings of offers to "fix" Detroit (Thomas Hawk/flickr)

Denise Cheng, an independent researcher affiliated with MIT's MIT Center for Civic Media, was surprised to learn that new philanthropy organizations like the Direct Water Project operate remotely. She explores the ins and outs of a new breed of tech-driven, direct philanthropy. Read More

WeGov

Can Technology Help Swing Scotland’s Referendum Towards Yes?

BY Jon Worth | Wednesday, September 17 2014

Lady Alba for Yes versus PatronisingBTLady for No (screenshots)

Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom since 1707 and the old cultural ties to the rest of the British Isles are one of the main arguments made against independence in tomorrow's referendum vote. Yet if the Yes to independence side is to succeed – the polls narrowed in the final month of the campaign to within a couple of percent after a sudden surge in support for independence – it will be something much more modern that will win the day: the use of online technology in a top-down data driven manner and networked grassroots way.

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After Election Loss, Teachout and Wu Keep Up Net Neutrality and Anti-Comcast Merger Campaign

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, September 15 2014

Tim Wu and Zephyr Teachout at NYC Rally

The Teachout/Wu campaign may have lost, but their pro net-neutrality campaign continued Monday as both former candidates participated in a rallly in New York City marking the final day to comment on the Federal Communications Commission's Internet proposals and kept up their pressure on Governor Andrew Cuomo. Read More

Personal Democracy Forum Italia: September 29th in Rome

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, September 16 2014

PDF Italia will take place in Rome on September 29, 2014

In less than two weeks, on September 29th, Personal Democracy Forum will arrive in Italy for the first time, kicking off a series of conferences and events on innovation. More than 30 speakers will gather to explore the theme, “In a data society.” Read More

De Blasio Names Minerva Tantoco First New York City CTO

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, September 9 2014

Minerva Tantoco at New York Tech Meetup (NYTM)

Mayor Bill de Blasio named Minerva Tantoco as first New York City CTO Tuesday night in an announcement that was greeted with applause and cheers at the September meeting of the New York Tech Meet-Up. In his remarks, De Blasio said her task would be to develop a coordinated strategy for technology and innovation as it affects the city as a whole and the role of technology in all aspects of civic life from the economy and schools to civic participation, leading to a "redemocratization of society." He called Tantoco the perfect fit for the position as a somebody who is "great with technology, has a lot of experience, abiltiy and energy and ability to create from scratch and is a true New Yorker." Read More

As Primary Day Arrives, Teachout and Wu Unveil Tech Policy With Ohanian Endorsement

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, September 8 2014

Alexis Ohanian, Tim Wu and Zephyr Teachout at Meetup (via Wu campaign on Twitter)

New York gubernatorial candidates Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu officially unveiled their technology policy Monday afternon as they received an enthusiastic endorsement from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian a day before New York's Democratic primary. Read More

Vote For Teachout-Wu

BY Micah L. Sifry and Andrew Rasiej | Tuesday, September 2 2014

Tim Wu and Zephyr Teachout, selfie-style

Today we are throwing our wholehearted support behind Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu, who are challenging sitting governor Andrew Cuomo and his running mate Rep. Kathy Hochul in the Democratic primary next Tuesday September 9th. Here's why... Read More

A Competition to Make the City More Resilient

BY Susan Crawford | Tuesday, September 2 2014

New York City meets Hurricane Sandy (credit: John Chandler/flickr)

When Hurricane Sandy hit New York nearly two years ago, it left devastation in its wake. Homes and livelihoods were lost, and the storm caused $19 billion in estimated damage. Small businesses were particularly hard hit. ... Read More

WeGov

Ushahidi Provides Journalists With Instant Real-Time Crisis Data

BY Onnik James Krikorian | Wednesday, August 20 2014

Ushahidi's CrisisNET platform provides reporters with accurate and timely data culled from social media (credit: Ushahidi)

Times have changed since Ushahidi first launched its crisis mapping platform in the violent aftermath of the 2007 elections in Kenya. With the use of social media now widespread, so too has the way in which many media, international organizations, and local NGOs now work. Ushahidi has had to go social. Read More

WeGov

In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, August 20 2014

A scene from the mountain range in Mexico that foreign companies hope to mine for gold and silver.

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

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Public Lab Builds Environmental Monitoring Community, Online and Off

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, August 19 2014

Balloon photo of Gowanus grossness by Eymund Diegel Public Lab

Environmental monitoring can be expensive and difficult but tech is changing how we relate to the environment. Until recently, the mechanics of political influence in America created a segment of environmental activism that isn’t always about connecting people to the environment. But as smart phones have gotten into more hands, and more people get connected online, environmental activism has started to shift, or grow, as well. Read More

Is the Sharing Economy Set Up to Help or Turn a Profit When Disaster Strikes?

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, August 15 2014

Faces of Airbnb hosts who offered free housing during Hurricane Sandy (screenshot)

During Hurricane Sandy, many users of peer-to-peer platforms like Airbnb and TaskRabbit offered free housing or reduced prices to victims of the disaster. But others took advantage of those in need and raised prices. Can the sharing economy resolve its inherent contradictions? Read More

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, August 14 2014

#NMOS14 infographic by @dakrolak

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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The First Fruits of Significance Labs Show Civic Tech at its Best

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, August 14 2014

Signficance Labs co-founder Hannah Wright (photo by Micah L. Sifry)

A few months ago, Significance Labs was little more than an idea with a beautifully designed home page, a home at Blue Ridge Foundation's hub in Brooklyn, and the seed funding to back up a daring pitch: Why not build technology aimed directly at addressing the needs of low-income Americans? Now, after picking six fellows from a pool of 150 applicants, the Labs is showcasing some inspiring results: five promising examples of working civic tech tools that can demonstrably help the poorest among us. Read More

In NYC, Emergency Services Are Going Wireless--But Imagine What They'd Be Like With Fast Fiber

BY Susan Crawford | Thursday, August 14 2014

Now, with better and far more timely data, increasingly accurate and better targeted interventions, and coordination with the other medical systems that patients encounter, FDNY EMS is pushing the country towards a telemedicine future, writes Harvard Law Professor Susan Crawford. Read More

New US Digital Service Looks to Avoid IT Catastrophes

BY Alex Howard | Wednesday, August 13 2014

USDS' Mikey Dickerson at the 2009 MySQL Conference (Photo by Jorge Bernal)

At a time when the public's trust in institutions is at historic lows, the federal government's use of technology has an unusual place in the national discourse. After the first Internet president's administration was responsible for the high-profile failure of Healthcare.gov, the issue seemed ripe to drive significant reform on Capitol Hill. Even if some 10 million adults gained health insurance through the Affordable Care Act after "Obama's trauma team" made successful fixes to Healthcare.gov, negative public perception has lingered, and for good reason. Under the radar, other projects have continued to sputter, like a $300 million dollar Social Security government IT boondoggle that still has not delivered a working system for submitting disability claims. The crash of the FCC's dated website under the weight of 1.1 million comments this summer didn't help, either. At the same time, the confidence of the technology community has been damaged by revelations of dragnet surveillance and surreptitious backdoors planted in software. Now, the executive branch has launched two new initiatives aimed squarely at these issues, 18F and the just-announced US Digital Service, Alex Howard reports. Read More

WeGov

How Tech-Savvy Podemos Became One of Spain’s Most Popular Parties in 100 Days

BY Carola Frediani | Monday, August 11 2014

The Podemos banner asks, "When is the last time you voted with hope?" (Podemos Uvieu/flickr)

Podemos (“We Can”), a new Spanish party established in March 2014, disrupted their nation’s political scene when it swept up five seats out of 54 and 1.2 million votes (8% of the total) in the European elections in May even though it was only 100-days-old. With 704,585 likes on Facebook and 321,000 followers on Twitter, it has more online fans than any other Spanish political party.

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How the Open Source Election Technology Foundation is Remaking the Voter Experience

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, August 12 2014

VoteStream prototype

In its report released earlier this January, the Presidential Commission on Election Administration noted how an online registration tool developed by the Open Source Election Technology (OSET) Foundation that being used by Virginia and groups like Rock the Vote "highlights the way that voter information can be entered by a user in one setting and, through a simple platform, seamlessly integrated with a state’s registration list." Now, ahead of the 2014 midterms and with an eye to 2016, OSET''s Trust the Vote Project is stepping up its efforts to expand that functionality and other election innovations across the country, at the same time that the Bipartisan Policy Center has taken up the task of more broadly implementing the commission's recommendations as a whole throughout the states. Read More

In New York City and Silicon Valley, Local Government Innovation Gets Outside Help

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, August 8 2014

Bill signing with Ben Kallos, Bill de Blasio, Brad Lander, Noel Hidalgo and others (via @BenKallos on Twitter)

At this year's Personal Democracy Forum, executive director of digital at the British Cabinet Office Mike Bracken discussed how the push toward civic innovation often does not start from within government. "You have to start on the outside, you have to finish on the inside." Two announcements in in New York City and Silicon Valley this week illustrate an increasing interplay between government's desire to take advantage of technology potential and the capabilities and skills of the external civic technology community (and the new trend of mayoral selfies). Read More

Beyond @Congressedits, Capitol Hill Looks for Entry to Wikipedia

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, July 31 2014

As he recently told techPresident, the creator of Congressedits did not aim to make Members of Congress look bad, but said he hoped that they would recognize the importance of Wikipedia as a public space and engage more with its community. "If staffers and politicians identified as Wikipedians, that would be super. You could imagine politicians' home pages with a list of their recent edits, that they would be proud of the things that they are doing." On Capitol Hill, there is in fact interest in making that vision a reality, starting off with an initial conversation that could create a framework for more Wikipedians in Congress. Read More

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