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For Tea Party Groups, That "Digital Gap" With Democrats Doesn't Seem As Wide

BY Matt Taylor | Tuesday, January 29 2013

Tea Party groups used their own software to support Republican Sen. Ted Cruz's primary campaign in Texas. Photo: Gage Skidmore

Given FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey's tumultuous exit from the organization he helped found, a Republican Party now casting about for solutions to its electoral troubles could be forgiven for passing over Tea Party advice on organizational structure. But if grassroots conservatives have technology tips to share, GOP insiders looking for an upgrade might want to lend an ear. Read More

How Online Organizing Helped Ted Cruz Win His Republican Primary

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, August 2 2012

FreedomWorks volunteers canvassed voters all over Texas using software and data from Political Gravity

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Ted Cruz was the darling of the right yesterday as he basked in his victory over David Dewhurst in the Republican primary runoff for the chance to become Texas’ next U.S. senator. And he was the darling of the rightroots, too, many of whom turned out in force to support his candidacy.

A conservative, Tea Party-backed figure challenging the favored candidate of Gov. Rick Perry and establishment Republicans, Cruz won, reports say, thanks to a long and hard-fought ground campaign. But his primary effort is interesting because it shines a light on the structure of a modern Senate race, one that mixes traditional door-knocking with high-tech tools, editorial board meetings with blogger outreach, a corps of volunteers with the unpredictable influence of outside groups. Given that Cruz beat Dewhurst by taking nearly 57 percent of the vote according to preliminary returns, all despite being outspent three to one, it’s a campaign worth a closer look.

Independent observers, Cruz supporters and campaign staff aren’t saying that the Internet played a deciding role in his victory. It was a combination of these outside groups, Republican women and Cruz's own hard work that put him over the top, said Dave Jennings, a Texas blogger in the Southeast Houston area who supported Dewhurst.

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Conservative Grassroots Group To Arm Tea Party Activists With Mobile Canvassing Tool

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, March 29 2012

American Majority Action, a conservative "social welfare" group, is unveiling a new initiative on Thursday that it hopes will help Republicans catch up with Democrats in the political technology arms race in the 2012 ... 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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