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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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Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

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The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

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tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

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Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

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monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

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