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First POST: Some Comments

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, July 16 2014

The battle against CISA heats up; the FCC's servers melt down over net neutrality; Elizabeth Warren fans organize for her online; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Decay

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 21 2014

The USA Freedom Act surveillance reform bill is getting watered down; Data.gov's 5th anniversary is no cause for celebration; Iran cracks down on "Happy" YouTube video sharers; and much, much more. Read More

X-Lab Prepares for Tech Policy Battles in the Far Future, Three Years Off

BY Sam Roudman | Tuesday, May 13 2014

Sascha Meinrath, thinking about the future, presumably. Source: Peretz Pertansky, Wikimedia Commons

For the past seven years Sascha Meinrath and his team at the New America Foundation have made the Open Technology Institute a force for promoting a more open, accessible internet. He has informed internet policy, and built innovative tools, like the Commotion mesh network. He has also found that much of the work of being a tech policy guru comes in reacting to crises–from Snowden’s leaks to the potential death of net neutrality. “Bad things happen and then we leap into action and do the best we can,” he says. “Then all of the sudden everyone is like ‘Oh my god. This is so horrendously bad.’ And then we’re trying to fix what’s clearly broken.” To set the tech policy agenda rather than react to it, Meinrath is starting up a new program under the New America foundation called X-Lab. Read More

First POST: Adjustments

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 1 2014

The RNC may be having trouble with its tech renaissance; how Facebook is "throttling" the organic reach of nonprofits and political causes; the demise of Twitter as a platform for useful conversation; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Oligarchs for a Little Less Corruption

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 21 2014

Sean Parker's plans to change US politics; the New York Times' front-pages mesh networking; the Pirate Times reviews the party's impact on the European Parliament; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Stunts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 8 2014

USAID pushes back in defense of ZunZeneo; Indian candidate copies from Obama data playbook; cities from Boston to Philly to San Francisco roll with the web; and much much more. Read More

First POST: Obscurity

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 4 2014

New "transparency" reports from major tech companies on government data requests; seeing secret surveillance satellites; ElectionMall's troubled history; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Accomplishments

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, January 2 2014

Must-reads from the end of the year; The New York Times calls for clemency for Edward Snowden; the Commotion 1.0 mesh networking toolkit launches; and much, much more. Read More

MileMesh Looks to Make Hoboken a Beacon for U.S. Mesh Networks

BY Sam Roudman | Wednesday, December 11 2013

Hoboken, jewel of the Hudson. Credit: Flickr http://bit.ly/IFB50v

When Hurricane Sandy slammed the northeast in October of 2012, it was particularly unkind to the city of Hoboken, New Jersey. The storm knocked out power throughout most of the city for a week. Many of the town’s 50,000 residents crowded two blocks spared from the outage by a separate grid to juice up their phones and computers from power strips slung out of residents' front doors onto their stoops. Even after power returned, Internet and mobile service remained unreliable. Now a group of volunteers are trying to build out a mesh network that would be more resilient. “We’re not starting a company, we’re not starting a project,” says Anthony Townsend, who has experience providing public wifi hotspots through his work with NYCwireless, “we’re trying to start a movement.” Read More

"Internet in a Suitcase:" Not Really in a Suitcase, But Really On Its Way

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, March 21 2013

The so-called "Internet in a suitcase" project reached another milestone Wednesday as the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute announced the public developer release of the free open source wireless networking platform Commotion Beta. Read More

News Briefs

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NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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NDI Launches Open Source DemTools for International Development

Yesterday the National Democratic Institute launched a suite of web-based applications created for their partner organizations, mostly pro-democracy groups and political parties around the world. These “DemTools,” which are ready-to-use but can also be customized, will give organizations in developing countries some of the capabilities that political activists and parties in the United States have had for years. Moreover, since the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is making the promise to host partner organization's applications in the cloud essentially forever, they hope these applications will help usher in a period of more sustainable tech.

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