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First POST: Yum, Cookies!

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 11 2013

Now the NSA rides along with Google's special "cookie" to monitor users; Joe Biden to take questions by Skype today; the rightwing blogosphere is getting rolled up by Salem Communications; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Taking Over

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 26 2013

How privacy concerns will fit into the next populist wave in US politics; Glenn Greenwald and Paul Carr spar; why the number of lobbyists in Washington is probably double what you think; and much, much more. Read More

You Can't A/B Test Your Response to Syria

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 4 2013

Senate hearing Sept 3, 2013. Department of Defense Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Hinton.

While Congress wrestles with President Obama's unexpected request for formal legal authorization before he orders airstrikes on Syria, it's been fascinating to watch the country's big online advocacy groups try to figure out their own position on the crisis. Should the US bomb Syria in order to punish Bashar Assad for using chemical weapons on his own people, risking a wider American involvement in the conflict and potentially further destabilizing the region? Or should the US stay out of that kind of direct involvement, even if that risks emboldening Assad and could lead to more frequent uses of chemical weapons in the future? These are just some of the hard questions at stake. And what makes any decision even harder is the fast-moving and relatively unique nature of these events. Even tougher for big e-groups like MoveOn.org, Democracy for America, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which collectively claim about ten million list members, the Syria crisis isn't an issue that these groups were formed to address. Nor is there an obvious consensus "progressive" position to promote, beyond the one these groups were all touting in the last few weeks (along with many others, including some conservative organizations), which was the need to bring the question before Congress. Some people are strong anti-interventionists, wary of green-lighting another American incursion in the Middle East. Others worry about genocide, and don't want to look the other way when mass killings of civilians take place. Read More

First POST: Informed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, August 7 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Cory Booker's web of tech industry backers; more questions about the NSA; and maybe Jeff Bezos just wanted to buy power in DC the old-fashioned way, by owning media; and much much more. Read More

In Wisconsin Recall, Online Push Not Enough For Darling, Olsen Races [CORRECTED]

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, August 10 2011

The Wisconsin recall elections last night were a significant test for the online left, which raised and spent millions of dollars in an effort to shake loose the Republican Party's hold of that state's legislature. The ... Read More

From All Sides, Online Pushes to Scrap the Deal

BY Nick Judd | Monday, August 1 2011

As members of Congress gather in Washington ahead of a vote on the controversial debt deal, all sides of this argument are urging action online — and for most of them, it's a call to scuttle the deal. Conservatives ... Read More

Wisconsin Recall Fight Heats Up Online

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, July 20 2011

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America Wisconsin are out with a new ad today in the Wisconsin recall elections, Talking Points Memo reports. The $100,000 initial broadcast and cable buy, ... Read More

'Draft Warren' Campaign Already Raking In the Bucks Online

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, July 19 2011

A Progressive Change Campaign Committee fundraising effort to draft Elizabeth Warren launched yesterday has already raised $40,000. David Catanese reported yesterday that the PCCC had raised $15,000 in only four hours, ... Read More

Some More About the Grassrootiness of Obama's Second Quarter Fundraising Numbers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, July 13 2011

Joe Rospars, chief digital strategist for Obama 2012 (and the wunderkind who masterminded the campaign's 2008 new media operation), has a post up on the Obama for America blog that appears to respond to the questions I ... Read More

We the Ad Buyers: Spare Change Against Chuck Grassley

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, October 21 2010

The always-thinking organizers at the Progressive Campaign Change Committee and Democracy for America are trying a one-two old media-new media punch in their bid to bring down Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley. 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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