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First POST: Informed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, August 7 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Cory Booker's web of tech industry backers; more questions about the NSA; and maybe Jeff Bezos just wanted to buy power in DC the old-fashioned way, by owning media; and much much more. Read More

Twitter Offers Some #Answers on Who #Dodged Debate Questions in S. Carolina

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 17 2012

Mitt Romney's Not So Artful #Dodging

Last night's Fox News debate in South Carolina was another made-for-TV circus, and not surprisingly, Fox failed to do anything remotely meaningful with the Twitter data. But Twitter itself took the time to analyze and report on the real-time flow. Late last night, the company blog posted some interesting visualizations that demonstrate that it is possible to tease some signal from all the noise. Read More

Politico-Facebook Sentiment Analysis Will Generate "Bogus" Results, Expert Says

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, January 13 2012

Facebook is analyzing its users' status updates, postings and comments that refer to the candidates, and assigning positive and negative values to them, producing a daily track of their supposed ups and downs. It's called "sentiment analysis." It's the heart of the pretty charts and graphs that the two companies rolled out to tout their partnership. And it's total bunk. Read More

Facebook, Yahoo NH Debate Roles Leave Us Wanting More

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 11 2012

Before they fade further into the past, a quick note on last weekend's back-to-back presidential debates in New Hampshire and the role of online platforms therein. In case you've forgotten, I'm talking about the ABC News/Yahoo event Saturday night and the NBC/Facebook event Sunday morning. And neither made a dent, when it comes to using interactive media to involve the public in the debates. Read More

techPresident Launches 10Questions.com

BY Editors | Wednesday, October 17 2007

We're excited to announce the launch of 10Questions.com, a new kind of online presidential forum, one that aims to make the most of what the internet has to offer to politics. On 10Questions.com anyone will be able to ... Read More

Check Out the Daily Show Analysis of the CNN/YouTube Presidential Debate

BY Alan Rosenblatt | Tuesday, July 24 2007

The Daily Show, as expected, delivered the definitive analysis of the CNN/YouTube debate. You have got to see it. Check it out here. Read More

It Worked! Though Not a Revolution, The YouTube Debate Impressed

BY Colin Delany | Tuesday, July 24 2007

The YouTube debate may not have revolutionized politics, but it sure as hell was more of a pleasure to watch than your average political event. I'd read both hype and skepticism in the days beforehand, and I suspect that ... Read More

MySpace's Presidential TownHalls: YAOD or Something New?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 9 2007

The ongoing collision of technology and politics opened another chapter today with this morning's announcement by MySpace.com that it will be hosting a presidential "Town Hall" series on college campuses this fall ... Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

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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wednesday >

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

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