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Open Thread: The Second Open Government Partnership Summit

BY Susannah Vila and Christopher Wilson | Tuesday, November 5 2013

Cabinet Office/flickr

The goal of the Open Government Partnership is to get governments to make (and carry out) concrete commitments that promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

How’s that going? At the end of the month about 1,200 OGP participants came together for the initiative's third annual summit. Over the course of the event we shared analyses and documentation of the issues that made it onto the agenda, the lessons learned and the next steps. Click through for the latest update.

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WeGov

Privacy and Surveillance are the Elephant in the Room at OGP Summit [UPDATED]

BY Katrin Verclas | Friday, November 1 2013

Intel Free Press/flickr

Privacy, surveillance and the closing of political space for openness and transparency activists in many countries was the hot issue at the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit in London that was left largely unaddressed by the OGP member countries present. Read More

First POST: Peak Open?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 1 2013

The latest reports from the Open Government Partnership summit in London; how big tech companies are responding to the NSA scandal; a Palestinian hacker who taught Facebook a lesson; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Baby Names and Hunting Rules...Is Canada's Latest Open Government Push Doing Enough?

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Thursday, October 31 2013

A screenshot of Ontario's new open data website

Canada’s latest push for open data is happening in Ontario with a new Open Government initiative launched this week. It is part of the Ontario government’s efforts to increase public access to its data. Billed as, “a commitment to the people of Ontario to engage, collaborate and innovate,” the site pledges to unlock “the power of data in a digital age and partners with people to spark a new generation of ideas through easier access to information, more voices at the decision-making table and new economic opportunities powered by public information.” But does it go far enough? Read More

WeGov

Too Much "Open Government," Not Enough Openness?

BY Panthea Lee | Thursday, October 31 2013

Are Open Government initiatives too much show and no substance? (Laurence and Annie/flickr)

But despite all the ambition and innovation of Open Government initiatives, the utility of this movement is yet unproven. Many initiatives seek transparent, participatory, and accountable governance, but is the practice of open government living up to the promise behind these three pillars? Read More

First POST: Profanity

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 31 2013

The Washington Post exposes the NSA's hacking of Google and Yahoo; the US promises, yet again, to overhaul its FOIA administration; the states start to pass their own new privacy laws; and much, much more. Read More

U.S. Commits, Yet Again, to Modernizing Administration of Freedom of Information Act

BY Alex Howard | Thursday, October 31 2013

Pictured is, from left to right, Rageh Omaar, ITV News; Tanzanian Pres. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete; and Rakesh Rajani (Alex Howard)

As part of its participation in the international Open Government Partnership (OGP), which is now holding its annual summit this week in London, the United States government is committing to further open government data, improve its management of natural resources, engage citizens in innovation and, perhaps most significantly, modernize the administration of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). That last item is most important. The United States has had a FOIA law since 1966, and it was expanded after the Watergate scandals. It's a critical tool for the press to hold government accountable. Compliance with FOIA, however, has long been a mixed bag. Alex Howard reports from London. Read More

First POST: Greenwald's Day

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 28 2013

Edward Snowden explains why he chose to reach out to independent journalist Glenn Greenwald; Clay Shirky explains why HealthCare.gov is a management failure; David Karpf shares his doubts about Change.org's new direction; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Surging

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 21 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Will a "tech surge" of the "best and brightest" save HealthCare.gov?: FWD.us holding a hackathon to build engagement tools to help win the immigration reform fight; David Carr's chat with Pierre Omidyar; and much, much more. Read More

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

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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