You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >
WeGov

Can Tech-Savvy Activists Change Mexico's Presidential Elections?

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 28 2012

Student-led protests in Mexico organized around the #yosoy132 hashtag. Photo: MaloMalverde

Are Sunday's presidential elections a fulcrum for the scales of power in Mexico? Is it fair to say Internet-powered student protesters are on one side of that balance beam? And if so, which way is it swinging? I asked Diego Beas, a columnist for Reforma and a keen observer of technology's role in politics throughout the Americas, and Andrés Monroy-Hernández, a post-doctoral researcher at Microsoft Research and a fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Both have been following Mexico's presidential elections closely, and both have the tech background necessary to understand and explain the role of networked politics in this election, but the two have very different perspectives on whether the student protesters are getting anywhere. Click through for a video of our conversation. Read More

WeGov

Brazil's Open-Government Shock Treatment

BY Greg Michener | Wednesday, June 27 2012

Officials in Brazil's government have had a transparency shock treatment in the past year. Photo: Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz

Countries arrive at more transparency and greater freedom of information either through long training or sudden shock treatment.

The U.S. experience, with decades of incremental law and legal precedent, is synonymous with the archetypical training regime. Brazil, on the other hand, is undergoing the epitome of shock treatment. In one month, May 2012, Brazil formally launched an ambitious freedom of information law that outlines a "right to information" – replete with provisions for the release of information in open, computer-readable formats – and, at around the same time, a new open-data portal. For added shock, the Brazilian government inaugurated a second new fundamental right, the "right to historical truth." This right is embodied by the newly established Truth Commission, whose aim it is to reconcile abuses from the military dictatorship that controlled Brazil from 1964 to 1985. Brazil also currently occupies the co-chair of the Open Government Partnership. In short, Brazil is in the midst of a massive transparency offensive and there are positive signs that it is moving in the right direction.

Read More

WeGov

OGP Diplomacy and South Africa’s Secrecy Law

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, June 20 2012

Open Government Partnership member South Africa has proposed a bill that would make it illegal to publish or even possess leaked government documents, an early test of the partnership's ability to set new international ... Read More

WeGov

In Cairo, #Jan25 Activists Sidelined as Muslim Brotherhood Marches On

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, June 20 2012

A voters' nullified ballot with the English/Arabic comment: "No offense, but the truth hurts."

Thousands of Egyptians thronged Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Tuesday night to protest a judicial decision that hands sweeping powers to the ruling military junta, in a move many see as a consolidation of the military’s power. The Revolutionary Socialist Youth and the April 6 movement, both composed of liberal and leftist anti-Mubarak activists, called for a protest in Tahrir Square. And so did the Muslim Brotherhood. All issued their calls via their Facebook pages. But according to many observations tweeted by people on the scene, the crowd at Tahrir was dominated by Muslim Brotherhood supporters who chanted in support of their candidate, Mohamed Morsi. Read More

WeGov

Hoping to Help Curb Corruption in Morocco by Mapping It Online

BY Hanna Sistek | Wednesday, May 30 2012

Illustration: kentoh via Shutterstock

Tarik Nesh-Nash conceived of and became part of the team that built Mamdawrinch, a just-launched site to map incidents of bribery in Morocco. Built with Transparency Maroc, the Moroccan chapter of Transparency International, the site tackles what Nesh-Nash says is an "endemic" problem in the North African country. Transparency International ranks perception of corruption in Morocco as about as bad as it is in Greece and Columbia, but slightly better than in India. ("Mamdawrinch" means "we will not bribe" in Moroccan dialect.) The focus, says Nesh-Nash, is on the petty corruption that has become part of everyday life in Morocco. "I wanted to open up the debate on the topic," says Nesh-Nash. Read More

WeGov

Open Data, Open Standards, and Community Activism

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, May 29 2012

Of a project in Western New York to help local residents track pollution in their area, David Eaves writes, " activists and non-profits have not even begun to tap the power of open data." Read More

WeGov

Culture Hacking: How One Project is Changing Transparency in Chile

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, May 16 2012

A few weeks after the launch of Inspector de Intereses — a Chilean website that allows citizens to map money trails in politics — the team at La Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente, the organization behind the site, had an interesting visitor. At the doorstep stood a member of parliament, carrying a stack of papers which outlined his interest in various corporations. He had received the team’s letter inviting him — and his colleagues — to update his records, and here he was, ready to do so, in person no less.

That eager senator wasn’t alone: about 20 percent of Chilean parliamentarians took the opportunity to update their records. In a country where conflicts of interest are not regularly discussed or acknowledged, this was an interesting shift, a change in culture and in process that was part of a Ciudadano Inteligente's strategy to make more transparent the link between money and power in Chile.

Read More

WeGov

[OP-ED]: My Government's Commitment to the Surveillance State – the UK Queen's Speech

BY Jon Worth | Monday, May 14 2012

Jon Worth argues that the Queen's Speech, delivered last week, presages a return to the "Big Brother" state in the UK. Read More

WeGov

How to Evaluate the State of Open Data

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, May 8 2012

By tedeytan from Washington, DC (Library of Congress Reading Room Open House 7)

The Open Knowledge Foundation recently announced that it will organize and coordinate an Open Data Census. The intent is to create a basic baseline against which governments can measured around how much (and how ... Read More

WeGov

How the German Pirate Party's "Liquid Democracy" Works

BY David Meyer | Monday, May 7 2012

In the midst of the political upheaval affecting Europe, a relatively new movement is making stunning progress, particularly in Germany. On Sunday, the Pirate Party entered its third German state parliament in eight months, demonstrating momentum that surprises even its core members. The party is now on track to pick up a double-digit percentage of the vote in next year's federal elections. And it's dealing with this explosive growth through the medium it knows best: technology. Read More