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WeGov

Beyond Property Rights: Thinking About Moral Definitions of Openness

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, August 6 2013

Should our definition of "open" information stop at whatever a property owner says, or are there ways to expand the definition to encompass uses that may embody moral rights in addition to property rights? These aren't abstract questions, as WeGov columnist David Eaves discovers in a conversation with one of India's leading Internet activists, Sunil Abraham. Read More

WeGov

Can a New Tool Help Contain the Deadly MERS Virus?

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, August 5 2013

source: Al Jazeera English

A number of digital health tools have emerged of late, from Google Flu and now a mega data collecting platform called BioMosaic. Can these new technologies really help us predict outbreaks and prevent their spread? Read More

WeGov

The Permanent Hackathon

BY Susannah Vila | Thursday, August 1 2013

Aren't you tired of pictures of hackathons? (Gary Dee/Wikimedia)

The hackathon model is being reimagined so that it’s less focused on discrete time-frames, ticking clocks and prize money, to more focused on building lasting communities across sectors, using physical spaces like innovation hubs, event series and virtual conversations. As these recent experiences suggest, replacing the traditional hackathon model with one that’s based on a continuous conversation promises three key advantages. Read More

WeGov

In Slovakia, a Website Shines the Spotlight on Infamously Corrupt Judiciary

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 31 2013

Screenshot of the Google Translate version of Open Courts

The rampant corruption in Slovakia's judicial system has inspired a documentary called “Disease of the Third Power,” and approximately 70 percent of Slovak people do not trust it. Slovakia also holds the dubious honor of being one of only 20 countries where the judicial system is thought to be more corrupt than political parties or parliament. Enter Otvorené Súdy – or Open Courts – a website that makes information on judges and rulings easily accessible and, hopefully, the entire system more transparent, which went live last week.

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WeGov

Ethical Disruptions in the Developing World

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, July 30 2013

It can be tempting to treat technology as the Band-Aid of choice for problems that need solving in the developing world. That eagerness could contribute to the explosion of mobile and ICT initiatives. Unfortunately, some put the failure rate for ICT initiatives in developing countries as high as 85 percent. That is in part because of weaknesses in the initiatives, but also, perhaps, because technology is overused.

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New York City Has a More Level Playing Field for Access to Real Estate Data

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, July 26 2013

New York City's Department of City Planning recently opened up free access to data files that link up maps of individual tax lots with financial data about those lots, following pressure from transparency advocates and media coverage. The data merges together information like owner name, assessed value and even details like floor-to-area ratio, a function of how tall a building is and how big a lot it sits on, which is a useful index of building density. (An area with zoning rules that allow for high FAR is an area that will have more, taller, buildings.) Read More

WeGov

Civic Hackers Build App to Visualize Votes in Argentina's National Congress

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 24 2013

Screenshot of Década Votada at work

Civic hackers have built an application to help Argentinian citizens and journalists track the voting records of Congress members. The app, called Década votada (A decade in votes), was the winning project at a Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires hackathon in April 2013.

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WeGov

Journalists in Mozambique Have a New Way to Get Help Reporting on Elections

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, July 19 2013

Screenshot of Citizen Desk's beta version (Sourcefabric.org)

The municipal elections in Mozambique are over four months away but short-staffed newsrooms are already preparing to deal with the persistent conundrum: how do they accurately cover the elections with over 2,500 polling stations to monitor across the country? A new tool called Citizen Desk allows newsrooms to incorporate citizen reports into their news stream, to act as eyes and ears for the upcoming elections. Read More

New Tool Takes You Into the Treasury's Bank Account

BY Sam Roudman | Friday, July 12 2013

A new tool, Treasury IO, is designed to make working with data about federal spending much easier to understand. Read More

WeGov

Transparency Tracker Encourages Aid Orgs to Release Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, July 12 2013

Publish What You Fund will release their 2013 Aid Transparency Index in October, but they already have some information available from their new Aid Transparency Tracker, launched earlier this year. The Tracker uploads information from the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), and then based on whether the organization has published or has the intention to publish, ranks them 'Ambitious,' 'Moderately ambitious,' and 'Unambitious.'

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