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Why It's Worth Noticing the White House's Big, Wet Kiss With Drupal and GitHub

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, December 6 2012

Between pictures of the president using Twitter and Vice President Joe Biden at Costco, the White House blog recently featured a little note advocating the use of open source in government. It is interesting to see how Barack Obama uses social networks, and a post about Biden at Costco feels a little bit like the White House just scooped The Onion — a shirtless photo would have been too much to hope for, but the author may have been able to slip in at least one Pontiac reference. But the White House making a point of name-checking open-source software touchstones is also worthy of note. Read More

WeGov

Open Source Interactive Map Curates Crowdsourced Information

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, November 1 2012

An open source map called CrisisTracker mines Twitter for reports, clusters them, and supports curation of report clusters with the help of volunteers. Read More

WeGov

Inexpensive Smart Phones Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, October 31 2012

Image from the Mozilla blog

While the release of low cost smartphones is a welcome development, their rapid proliferation could come at the cost of presenting an opportunity for malicious hackers. Read More

WeGov

Investing in "Crazy" Innovative Ideas to Promote Global Transparency and Accountability

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, October 3 2012

Global Integrity, a Washington, DC-based NGO that works for government transparency and accountability launched two major new initiatives this week — a hub for like-minded NGOs and an innovation fund that provides grants for projects that promote transparency and fight corruption. Read More

A Platform for Open Bill Markup Is Now Open Source

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, September 12 2012

When House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa announced that he was rolling out a platform for collaborative bill markup, called MADISON, in conjunction with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), his staff assured techPresident that it would be released as open source — sometime.

That time has come. Yesterday, the Open Gov Foundation, an outgrowth of Issa and Wyden's partnership that was announced at Personal Democracy Forum earlier this year, posted the code for MADISON to GitHub.Read More

Democrats Launch Open-Source Voter Registration Form Tool

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, September 4 2012

The Democratic National Committee released an open-source online voter registration application form over the weekend, as was first reported by Ryan Singel from Wired. One of the first other sites to reuse the code was the Obama campaign, which created an embeddable form on its website based on the code. The code for the DNC's tool, built using Ruby on Rails, is available on Github. Read More

WeGov

Is Civic Hacking Becoming 'Our Pieces, Loosely Joined?'

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, July 25 2012

David Eaves writes: "So far, it appears that the spirit of re-use among the big players, like MySociety and the Sunlight Foundation*, only goes so deep. Indeed often it seems they are limited to believing others should re-use their code. There are few examples where the bigger players dedicate resources to support other people's components. Again, it is fine if this is all about creating competing platforms and competing to get players in smaller jurisdictions who cannot finance creating whole websites on their own to adopt it. But if this is about reducing duplication then I'll expect to see some of the big players throw resources behind components they see built elsewhere. So far it isn't clear to me that we are truly moving to a world of 'small pieces loosely joined' instead of a world of 'our pieces, loosely joined.'" Read More

Using Google Maps? You May Be Looking at a Home-Made Map

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, April 20 2012

Public Laboratory image of WhereCamp, Stanford University (April 2011) in Google Earth

Google Earth is now using 45 maps from the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, the group announced in an e-mail. The Public Laboratory is a community which develops and applies open-source tools to environmental exploration and investigation. This includes what they call "grassroots mapping" — using relatively low-cost tools like helium balloons and Flip cameras to create satellite imagery independent of big institutions or the government, which made a high-profile appearance along the Gulf Coast after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Read More

For CFPB, "Open" Also Means "On GitHub"

BY Nick Judd | Monday, April 9 2012

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has announced that from here on out, if it contracts with a third party to build software, that code will be shared with the public at no charge.

In a blog post on April 6, the CFPB's Matthew Burton announced that the agency will also use open source software and release its own software products as open source. Code that might expose "sensitive deals that would put the Bureau at risk for security breaches" is excluded, but otherwise, Burton points us to CFPB's GitHub repository for a soon-to-be-growing list of code coming out of the nascent federal entity.

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New Hampshire Legislature Passes Open-Source Software Bill

BY Raphael Majma | Friday, February 10 2012

The New Hampshire state legislature recently passed a bill that makes open data and open source software included by default in the state's procurement process.

The bill, HB 418, requires government officials to consider open-source products when making new technology acquisitions and only purchase products that comply with open data standards. Last year, Nick Judd covered how the New Hampshire legislature changed with the addition of several “geeks” to the House of Representatives and the passage of this new legislation shows a growing culture of friendliness to the tech concept of “open” in the statehouse. It is currently on its way to the governor's desk for signing.

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