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WeGov

Looking to Draft a Constitution? Now You Can Google It

BY Rebecca Chao | Thursday, October 17 2013

Screenshot of the website

Constitute, a new platform created by the Comparative Constitutions Project in partnership with Google Ideas is a tool to "read, search and compare" constitutions from over 170 countries. Read More

WeGov

UK National Health Service Sitting On Potential Treasure Trove of Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, October 17 2013

Make room for the data (Wikipedia)

We live in a world in which data is so valuable some people compare it to the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The data in this case is the vast stores of patient information held by the U.K.'s National Health Service. One of the world's largest public health systems, the NHS serves more than 50 million people. Those 50 million plus medical records are being moved to a new central database to facilitate better healthcare for patients, regardless of where they go to receive care. The central database could also be a treasure trove of data for researchers, if patients acquiesce to sharing.

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WeGov

Open Corporate Data For Everyone, Everywhere

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 16 2013

Screenshot of Barclays relationship network

The open data movement is sweeping the world and its champions are determined that no government, organization or even corporation will be left behind. This summer OpenCorporates launched an open data corporate network platform on which they can collect, collate and visualize corporate relationship data. They are striving to be nothing less than the go-to database for corporate data, with “a URL for every company in the world.”

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First POST: Greased

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, October 11 2013

Politifact branching out with Punditfact; why you shouldn't "drunk dial" random Members of Congress; why "greasing" IT contracts led to the HealthCare.gov mess; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Sabotage

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 8 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The latest explanations for HealthCare.gov's troubled start; why journalists need to reverse engineer algorithms; how fact-checking sites may be improving the behavior of politicians; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Reverberations

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 7 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The NSA vs the Tor Project; was Healthcare.gov just overwhelmed by unexpected demand; China's "maker" movement; the Supreme Court still "doesn't get" email; and much, much more. Read More

Government Shutdown Sets Off Data and API Scramble

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, October 3 2013

Among the many casualties of the government shutdown are the websites and data sources that researchers, civic hackers and others use on a regular basis for a variety of online applications, visualization projects and studies. The disappearance of resources like data.gov and census.gov has forced those relying on the data to act quickly to find creative solutions or work together to gather backed-up information. Read More

First POST: Traffic

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 3 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Government shutdown of web services irking journalists; Grover Norquist is a Guy Fawkes fan; Lavabit's embattled owner explains why he shut his service down; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

7 Tactics for Your Civic App That You Can Learn From Twitter and Airbnb

BY Susannah Vila | Wednesday, October 2 2013

If you are looking to improve your civic app, don't be afraid to look at non-civic models like Twitter (petesimon/flickr)

It may sound obvious, but without users, it’s not possible for software to do much of anything - let alone facilitate social change. As we explored in our last post, a few organizations and individuals have started hosting ongoing conversations among technologists and people who can use data and applications to address civic issues. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Engaging the right people at the right time requires a variety of different tactics. Many of these tactics can be borrowed from user acquisition teams at non-civic applications like Yelp, Airbnb, or Dropbox. Read More

WeGov

Has technology changed politics? One British MP says, not so much.

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, September 30 2013

Nadhim Zahawi (center) sans musical tie (Policy Exchange/flickr)

Nadhim Zahawi is no stranger to the power of the Internet. He is better known as the British MP who set off his musical tie while speaking in parliament, a moment captured on video, which received 500,000 hits. He is also the founder of YouGov, a company that conducts polls via the Internet that performed fairly well. In a talk he gave on Sept. 25th (see the full transcript here) at the British think tank, Centre for Policy Studies, Zahawi argued that while Internet technology hasn’t changed the substance of politics, it has changed the shape of it. While he spoke specifically about British politics, the points he makes is applicable to most Western governments struggling with how to engage an evermore wary public. Read More