Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

New York City Launches a Tool to Drill Down On Government Spending

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, March 20 2013

A little over a week after the first milestone for New York City's Open Data Law, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Comptroller John Liu announced Tuesday that New York City would become the first municipality in the country to establish a comprehensive subcontracting database that would publicly report payments made by primary contractors to subcontractors. Read More

Obama Administration Falling Behind In Freedom of Information Requests, Senators Charge

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, March 13 2013

The leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday expressed frustration with the Obama administration's inability to comply with a 2007 open government law that Congress enacted to speed up the processing of Freedom of Information Act requests. Advocates say that if the administration wants to get serious about improving its record on access to information, it should apply the tech savvy that has become a hallmark of the Obama brand. Read More

Two Civic Hackers On Why Open Government Isn't That Hard

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, February 13 2013

Civic hacking — using technology to improve or subvert anything that's wrong, broken, or just not good enough about the way politics and government work — is hard. It can be frustrating. But it's often also fun, two civic hackers told me today, and just because it's hard doesn't mean it's not worth doing. Read More

In Germany, Pursuit of Plagiarism Now Extends to Lawmakers Lifting Words from Lobbyists

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, February 12 2013

German freelance journalist, TV moderator and blogger Richard Gutjahr worked together with Open Data City, a team of journalistic open data designers, to create LobbyPlag, a platform that examines similarities between proposals by lobbyists and amendments to the General Data Protection Regulation proposed by EU Committee members. Read More

WeGov

CivicOpen: New Name, Old Idea

BY David Eaves | Monday, February 11 2013

Here are a few things open government advocates should remember if they don't want their open-source efforts to repeat past failures. Read More

Open Docket, an Open Government Tool for Small Towns and Cities

BY Sam Roudman | Monday, February 4 2013

In small towns, getting civic information can be a mess. Figuring out the history or status of a request for a new stop sign can require a slog through weeks or months of PDF files of meeting agendas, minutes, and reports. Is the information public? Yes. Is it accessible? No. Sean Roche lives in Newton, Mass., population 85,000, and he's hoping to solve that with Open Docket, an open-source project he's launched to provide a better way to track the lawmaking goings-on of small cities and towns.

Read More

WeGov

Israeli Transparency NGO Shows Voters How to Cast Informed Ballots

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, January 3 2013

Screengrab from Open Knesset website

As Israelis prepare to cast their ballots in national elections on January 22, the country's only transparency NGO has launched a campaign to encourage voters to educate themselves by consulting their Open Knesset website, where they can find previously unavailable information about how their legislators are doing their jobs and whether they are representing their constituents as they would wish to be represented. Read More

WeGov

Dashboard Government: The Politics of Measurement

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, November 28 2012

The other week I was informed that the city of Edmonton, Alberta, published an online dashboard of various metrics that it hopes will both educate residents about the city's services. As more and more of what governments do — from running buses to fixing potholes to processing paper — is managed by computers, there is an ever-increasing capacity to measure, and make public, the results of any given activity. The opportunity to create more accountable systems and governments is real. If we are going to end up with government dashboards all over the place — and frankly, I hope we do — dashboard-makers had better do a bunch of things right. Read More

What is "New Urban Mechanics" and Why Does Philadelphia Want Some?

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 3 2012

When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced on Monday that Philadelphia will get a new arm of city government called the Office of New Urban Mechanics, he was signing on to a sizable experiment in how government is supposed to work.

Nutter's administration is emulating a program Boston City Hall put in place two years ago to find innovative — you might also say "untested" — ideas and see if they can make government work better. The Boston Office of New Urban Mechanics is just a handful of people led by Nigel Jacob, a former programmer, and Chris Osgood, a city official who came to Boston after a stint at New York City's Department of Parks and Recreation. Their job is to help those new solutions to old problems navigate the often tricky hallways of city bureaucracy.

Read More

WeGov

Jordan's Flourishing IT Economy Could Falter With Passing of New Media Law

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, October 2 2012

Jordan's parliament has passed controversial legislation that would give the government sweeping powers to censor and block online content. Jordan is a regional IT innovation hub that has benefited from the small kingdom's political moderation and free Internet. But the new law could undermine both the innovation sector and online freedom of expression. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

First POST: Reminders

Why the RNC hasn't managed to reboot how Republican campaigns use voter data; new ways of using phone banking to get out the vote; how the UK's digital director is still ahead of the e-govt curve; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Patient Zero

Monica Lewinsky emerges with a mission to fight cyber-bullying; Marc Andreessen explains his political philosophy; tech donors to MayDay PAC get pushback from Congressional incumbents; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Front Pagers

How Facebook's trending topics feed is wrecking political news; debating the FBI's need for an encrypted phone "backdoor"; democratizing crisis data; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Tracking

Questions about whether Whisper is secretly tracking its users' secrets; the FBI's continued push against the new wave of encrypted phones; community service, high-tech-mogul-style; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Hosts

Airbnb in hot water in NYC; Knight Prototype Fund backs some civic tech projects; pondering Google's position on net neutrality; and much, much more. GO

More