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Democracy Club Finally Lets Brits Know Who Is Running for Parliament

BY Wendy M. Grossman | Wednesday, April 22 2015

May 7, 2015 is the date of the next British general election. On that day, everyone who cares to vote will go to their local polling station, pick up a small piece of paper, and mark on it, with a stubby pencil, their choice of candidate for Member of Parliament. The person with the most votes in each district wins. If one party wins a majority of the 650 Parliamentary seats, that party can form a government. If no party wins a majority, there will be a lot of dickering to form a coalition, as there was at the last election, in 2010, when the Liberal Democrats emerged as kingmaker and chose to ally with the Conservatives. By doing so, the LibDems offended so many of their own supporters that their number of Parliamentary seats is expected to drop precipitously this time round. According to a recent poll by the Guardian, the next government could well be a coalition of Labour and…the Scottish National Party. Read More

First POST: Glass Half Full

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 21 2015

A new Pew study on open government data in the US; the FOIA exemption ruffling transparency advocates' feathers; social media bot farms; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Complications

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 19 2015

Obama administration sets record for censoring or denying access to files requested under FOIA; hype over Meerkat; French gov't starts to block websites that promote or advocate terrorism; the theme for Personal Democracy Forum 2015; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Shredding

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, March 13 2015

Official net neutrality rules are here; Governor Andrew Cuomo 90-day deletion policy is an "electronic shredder"; the FBI's Terrorism Task Force was tasked with a #BlackLivesMatter protest; take this stop-and-frisk data and run with it; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Failures

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 10 2015

The CIA tried to undermine iPhone and iPad security; Wikipedia, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, the ACLU and others sue the NSA; the White House's new $100 million tech initiative; and much, much more. Read More

With Quorum, See What (and Who) Makes Congress Tick

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, March 5 2015

(Wikipedia)

Trying to influence Congress is hard work. You have to know who cares about what issues so you approach the right people. It also helps to know who has the power to actually make waves so you don't waste your time with ineffective members. In January, two Harvard seniors launched an online platform called Quorum that does the bulk of that work automatically, using a number of public data sources.

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Scoring for Livability: How Place I Live Wants to Empower Homebuyers and Renters

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, February 25 2015

Screenshot of Place I Live ratings for a house in Bedford-Stuyvesant

Nobody ever says “I want to live somewhere with lots of pollution, crime and a high unemployment rate.” That, at least, is the assumption behind Place I Live, a website that aggregates, parses and creates visualizations with open data so potential homebuyers and renters can better understand different neighborhoods. Place I Live relaunched on Open Data Day, February 21, with new data and improved functionality.

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First POST: Off the Books

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, February 25 2015

Chicago's "black site"; The New York Times reports "little guys" like Tumblr and Reddit have won the fight for net neutrality but fails to mention Free Press or Demand Progress; Hillary Clinton fan products on Etsy to inspire campaign slogans?; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Challenges

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 24 2015

How Silicon Valley donors are thinking about Hillary Clinton 2016; Yahoo's security chief locks horns with the head of the NSA; Instagram location data catches a Congressman with his hand in the till; and much, much more. Read More

On Jackie Robinson West and Coming to Terms With the Use (or Misuse) of Public Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, February 13 2015

These are boundaries in Chicago. (urbanoasis.org)

Earlier this week a Little League baseball team was stripped of their championship title because of a whistleblower. That is what Chris Janes is: a concerned citizen who perceived an injustice and acted accordingly, trawling through public records until he had the evidence to take to the appropriate authorities. So why does his triumph make people feel so bad?

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