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First POST: Huffington's Law?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, April 17 2014

Edward Snowden asks Vladimir Putin about Russian surveillance programs on live TV; why software gurus like Matt Cutts and Dave Winer are alarmed about Internet security; how the DCCC is outpacing the RCCC in online donations; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: WhatsNext?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, April 10 2014

How India's upcoming national election may foreshadow new tech tactics in the US in 2016; where former President George W. Bush goes for inspiration; former President Bill Clinton half-praises Edward Snowden; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Bitcoin Agonistes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 22 2014

Is Bitcoin going to change the world? One of the inventors of the web browser thinks so; Edward Snowden denies being a Russian puppet; the Ukrainian government geolocates protesters and sends them a scary SMS; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Nerdfighters

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 18 2013

Top tech execs meet with President Obama to talk about the NSA; Chinese hackers take down the FEC website; open source software-as-a-service is poised for government use; and much, much more. Read More

Presidential Campaign 2012, By the Numbers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, November 26 2012

While not all of the numbers are in yet, we thought it would be useful to put in one place all the relevant data currently available about online and offline engagement by the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns. Some of these factoids are essentially unverifiable, but represent the claims being made by the campaigns in press reports. Others are drawn from available social network profiles and/or contemporaneous Google searches. Read More

ActBlue Hits $300 Million Mark; Shows Potential of Small Donors

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, September 28 2012

Throwing the money on the table. Photo: Flickr

Yesterday, ActBlue, the organization that encourages the raising of small donations online for Democratic candidates, reached a threshold of $300 million total raised since its start in 2004. These small donors can make a difference even in the face of the large third party expenditure groups on the other side, according to Michael Malbin, executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute, especially when they add up in competitive races. Read More

Adding Fundraising to the Dashboard, OFA Sees Green in Grassroots Organizing

BY Nataliya Nedzhvetskaya | Wednesday, July 25 2012

Dashboard, the Obama campaign’s online organizing platform, rolled out a new feature on Tuesday — a “grassroots fundraising tile” that lets users create their own fundraising page where they can set an individual fundraising goal and write a personal message to friends and family. Read More

Why Digital Politics Pros are Still Skeptical About Mobile Donations

BY Christian Bourge | Thursday, July 12 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Despite a June ruling from the Federal Election Commission approving a new scheme for accepting political donations via text message, political fundraising consultants and campaign technology experts are unsure that SMS donations — heralded as a boon for nonprofits — will be ready for use this election cycle.

And read on for: Four projects Republicans and Democrats should watch for other ways to raise money via mobile phone.

Read More

Obama 2012's Getting "Back to the We:" How's That Going? BuzzFeed Says Not So Well

BY Nick Judd | Monday, June 4 2012

Nobody disputes that the Obama campaign needs to use all the tools at its disposal to mobilize a grassroots base that is not as active and energized, or at least not yet, as it was in 2008. What's at issue is how effective the campaign has been so far in doing so — and we'll all find out by November, to be sure. Read More

Poetry of the Email Subject Line

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 23 2012

Micah Sifry discovers the unintentional poetry of email subject lines from Barack Obama's and Mitt Romney's presidential campaigns. Read More

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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