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Michelle Obama's Name Loaned to DNC in its First Use of OFA Email List

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, July 25 2013

The Democratic National Committee directly reached out to Obama for America supporters with emails sent early this week in what appears to be the first time the full, storied Obama email list has been pressed into service by the DNC, at least since the end of the 2012 campaign. Some recipients saw emails sent on the DNC's behalf with First Lady Michelle Obama's name in the "Sender" field. Read More

In Opposition to German News License Fee Proposal, Google Maps Its Supporters

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, January 17 2013

Google has gathered over 100,000 active supporters against a German proposal that would require news aggregators, like the search giant, to pay a license fee for indexing news articles. As proof, the company has offered — what else — a Google map. Read More

What Advocacy Campaigns Can Learn From the 2012 Presidential Race

BY Shayna Englin | Friday, November 16 2012

Shayna Englin is chief advocacy officer for Fission Strategy. She spoke last June at Personal Democracy Forum on "The Advocacy Gap." In this "Backchannel" piece, she highlights three key take-aways for advocacy organizations from the 2012 presidential campaigns.

BackChannel an ongoing series of guest posts from practitioners and close observers at the intersection of technology and politics that, taken in aggregate, form a running conversation about the future of campaigns and government.

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RAP Index: A Personal Democracy Plus "Quick Look"

BY Sam Roudman | Monday, October 15 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: RAP Index is a new tool for advocacy organizations to map connections between their supporters and influential figures like legislators or their staff. TechPresident contributing writer Sam Roudman explores the idea behind the platform and talks to clients in an evaluation for Personal Democracy Plus. Read More

Gay Dating App Grindr Wants to Turn Users On to Politics

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, September 6 2012

The people behind Grindr, the location-based mobile dating app for gay men, announced today that they will be inserting political advocacy into a mobile platform more often associated with one-night stands.

According to the announcement, Grindr will push location-based, in-app messages asking users to take action as part of an initiative called Grindr for Equality. Grindr boasts 1.5 million users around the country and is making this announcement as a wide variety of issues affecting LGBT Americans will be on the ballot nationwide. For example, legislation or constitutional amendments in four states would affect same-sex marriage. So maybe politics isn't out of a dating app's league after all.

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NRA Was MIA On Facebook in Aurora Aftermath

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, July 23 2012

The National Rifle Association's Facebook page appeared to be unavailable from late Saturday night to Monday morning in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colo. TechPresident called the NRA for comment about the page Monday morning, while the page was still unavailable. Officials there didn't return our call for comment. They returned to Facebook, however, within a matter of hours after our call. A Facebook spokesman referred all request for comment to the NRA. The organization's page is now "liked" by 1.5 million users, some of whom went to other forums over the weekend looking for NRA's stance in the wake of the Aurora incident. Twenty-four-year-old former student James Holmes is accused of using an arsenal of weapons, including an assault rifle available thanks to the 2004 lapse of a ban on assault weapons, during a shooting spree in which 70 people were shot and 12 killed. Gun owners were looking for "leadership" on how to handle this situation, some wrote in online forums, and were disappointed to find the NRA was not active on social media to provide it. Read More

With #40Dollars Push, White House Cracks a Twitter Engagement Code

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, December 21 2011

Trevor Blake / Flickr

Yesterday afternoon, as part of the White House's online push around payroll tax extensions, the administration's digital staff went across platforms to deliver a prompt: No tax cut extension means $40 less per paycheck for a family making $50,000 a year, so, what does $40 mean to you? Many online prompts fail to spark anything. But this one is getting a lot of answers. Read More

Tumblr Is Happy With Its Aggressive Anti-SOPA Advocacy

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, November 17 2011

Tumblr reports that their advocacy push around the Stop Online Piracy Act yesterday generated 87,834 calls to representatives and a total of 1,293 hours talking to staffers on Capitol Hill: Yesterday we did a historic ... Read More

From All Sides, Online Pushes to Scrap the Deal

BY Nick Judd | Monday, August 1 2011

As members of Congress gather in Washington ahead of a vote on the controversial debt deal, all sides of this argument are urging action online — and for most of them, it's a call to scuttle the deal. Conservatives ... Read More

Call to Round Up Nuclear Supporters in Japan Starts a Scandal

BY Nick Judd | Monday, August 1 2011

While tens of thousands of people in Japan are unable to return to their homes after earthquake and tsunami damage caused a still-ongoing nuclear disaster in March, at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant about 136 miles ... Read More

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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