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With Quorum, See What (and Who) Makes Congress Tick

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, March 5 2015

(Wikipedia)

Trying to influence Congress is hard work. You have to know who cares about what issues so you approach the right people. It also helps to know who has the power to actually make waves so you don't waste your time with ineffective members. In January, two Harvard seniors launched an online platform called Quorum that does the bulk of that work automatically, using a number of public data sources.

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DemocracyOS To Launch Online Platform in March

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, February 5 2015

Screenshot of the DemocracyOS live demo

"You are here to make decisions with others." That is the raison d'être of DemocracyOS: to help groups of people come to a decision in a democratic fashion. The team behind the software began working on the code in April 2012, and it has been available on Github for almost as long, but users had to be relatively savvy. The open-source platform they are currently developing, with support from Y Combinator, will allow anyone to launch a “democracy” in minutes, just as someone without any knowledge of code can launch a blog on Wordpress. That platform will launch in March.

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WeGov

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, April 10 2014

Screenshot of Anusha Rehman's profile at www.na.gov.pk

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

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WeGov

The Cambodian Government's Social Media Nightmare

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, December 18 2013

Prime Minister of Cambodia, and leader of the CPP, Hun Sen (Wikipedia)

The growing popularity of social media in Cambodia, not as entertainment but as a source for alternative news, is threatening the established government leaders and their state-controlled media narratives. In the national elections this June the opposition pulled in 55 seats to the ruling Cambodian People's Party 68, in large part due to the participation of plugged-in and social media-savvy youths. More recently, the government has had their state-approved media account of a November clash between striking garment workers and police refuted by videos uploaded to the Internet and spread through social media.

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Four Surprising Things About Civics and Politics in America

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, April 25 2013

The Pew Internet and American Life Project today released the results of a broad survey about civic life and the Internet. There are some obvious findings: People who are better educated and make more money are more likely to be politically active, for instance, and, as we've known for a while, people who find out about a political topic online can be motivated to seek out more information. But buried beneath the survey's top-line results are some surprising, and still statistically significant, results — things that tell us about the role of the Internet in politics that we did not already know. Read More

A TechPresident Podcast: Political Innovation vs. the Greater Good

BY Nick Judd | Friday, February 1 2013

In this week's techPresident Podcast: Can so-called "big data," or data-driven persuasion, improve politics for everyone? Or is it just the province of a wealthy few? Join the conversation with your comments. Read More

Announcing techPresident's "Politics and the Internet" Timeline

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 14 2012

We're happy to announce techPresident's "Politics and the Internet" timeline, a living archive tracking how technology has started to change politics, government and civic life in the United States, worldwide and online, from 1968 to present. The timeline is an eclectic list of people, ideas and events that our editors have compiled according to our own sense of what has mattered most. It is a work-in-progress. If you would like to suggest an important development that we may have missed, or make a correction to the record, please use this form. Read More

Backstage at #PDF12: An Xiao Mina on Politics and the Chinese Language

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, June 13 2012

By now you may have seen artist and designer An Xiao Mina's Personal Democracy Forum 2012 talk, "Internet Street Art and Social Change in China," in which she talks about how street art, Internet memes and political satire collide online in China.

In her talk, she touched on how the Chinese language's abundance of homonyms and visual metaphor is fuel for political commentary that can find its way around censorship and surveillance.

Backstage at NYU's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, I asked her to go into more detail about how much Internet culture in China owes to a long history of cultural criticism. Our short conversation is after the jump.

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Quote of the Day: The Law of Bad Comment Threads

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, May 11 2012

Remember: as the date for a national election approaches, the probability of a comments thread degenerating into a political back-and-forth regurgitating the same tired talking points approaches one.
— "PubliustheLesser," From a comment thread at The Atlantic. Read More

In Politics, Shall the Geek Inherit the Earth?

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, January 11 2012

Writing for the Washington Post, Dominic Basulto suggests that the day has arrived for the tech-savvy programmer to achieve political supremacy. Read More