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A Behind the Scenes Look at Expunge.Maryland, Your Automated Expungement Paralegal

BY Jason Tashea | Tuesday, December 9 2014

The Expunge Maryland app (Jason Tashea)

This past summer my colleague Jon Tippens and I forked Smart Chicago’s Expunge.io to create ExpungeMaryland.org. Since ExpungeMaryland’s launch in July, there has been interest in how we created the app. This post provides background to other jurisdictions looking to replicate the expungement app model. Read More

WeGov

Weekly Readings: War on Rumors

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, May 5 2014

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. Read More

WeGov

Dude, Where's My Cow? The App.

BY Rebecca Chao | Thursday, March 27 2014

If you live in Jamaica, losing a cow is serious business. Now, there's an app for that. (siwild/flickr)

About six months ago, we wrote about a new initiative in Jamaica that sought to address agricultural and livestock theft, a problem that has put a $50 million plus yearly dent in the country's economy. At that time, the civic tech nonprofit, Slashroots, had partnered with the Mona School of Business & Management at the University of the West Indies to create a new fellowship program called Code for the Caribbean; similar to Code for America, it pairs talented developers with government agencies to create tailored apps that agencies actually need. Now, that program has wrapped up and the fellows have collaborated with Jamaica's Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) to create two apps: one that allows police officers to use SMS to verify farmers' identities (and their produce) at specific roadside checkpoints and another that acts as an electronic billboard of produce stock and prices in order to fill an information gap that has often led either to agricultural overproduction or underproduction. Read More

WeGov

Using Data and Statistics to Bring Down Dictators

BY Federico Guerrini | Monday, March 10 2014

War Graves in Kosovo (credit: NH53/flickr)

On September 20, 2013, in Guatemala, the former director of the National Police of Guatemala, Col. Héctor Bol de la Cruz, and his subordinate Jorge Alberto Gómez López were convicted for the abduction and presumed murder of student and labor leader Edgar Fernando García, who disappeared in 1984, during the conflict that devastated the South American country between 1960 and 1996. Three years earlier, two lower ranking officers were also convicted for the crime. The convictions were made possible thanks to the work of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that uses statistical analysis to support the cause of human rights. Read More

WeGov

From Sochi to Yerevan: Crowdfunding in the Caucasus

BY Onnik James Krikorian | Wednesday, February 12 2014

The Sayat Nova Project, a Kickstarter-funded study of the minority culture of the South Caucasus (© Onnik James Krikorian)

In July 2007, when the venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics was announced, writer-filmmaker Arnold van Bruggen and photographer Rob Hornstra embarked on an ambitious project to shine a light on the then little known Black Sea resort town of Sochi, in what was to become The Sochi Project. Without the help of crowdfunding, the project and the freedom through which filmmakers could create, would not have been possible. In fact, crowdfunding for civic-oriented projects is growing ever more popular in the Caucasus, especially as press freedom stagnates and foreign aid decreases. Read More

WeGov

World Bank's New Website Lets Countries Compare Data on Education

BY Rebecca Chao | Thursday, January 30 2014

The data portal allows users to see what education data is available per country. (credit: screenshot, World Bank)

As our partner Engine Room’s Susannah Vila recently asked in a post, can open data improve primary education in developing countries? She points to a number of grassroots education data initiatives like Check My School in the Philippines and platforms that provide school quality data for parents in Kenya and Tanzania; but the latest education data initiative by the World Bank is aimed at policymakers. Read More

WeGov

Need a Journalist? In Germany, There's an App for That

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, January 14 2014

Call a Journalist app (Cross & Lecker/Facebook)

Over the past weeks, the city of Hamburg in Germany was caught up in ongoing occasionally violent standoffs and demonstrations between left-wing protestors and the police over development plans in several poorer neighborhoods that have historically been centers for the city's counterculture, as the Atlantic Cities recently outlined. Read More

WeGov

In Sudan, Civil Society says It's Struggling to Work Around US Sanctions' Block on Tech

BY Amanda Sperber | Tuesday, January 14 2014

In Sudan, going online only yields a slew of inaccessible pages (credit: UNAMID Photo/flickr)

In Sudan, you cannot download an app via Google play, or update software. No transactions can take place over the Internet because you cannot use a credit card. You can't order a book, a computer or buy music. Transferring money to Sudan from the US is also close to impossible, including in times of crisis, like the massive flooding in August 2013, when some in the diaspora tried sending money to give family back home assistance. US sanctions have blocked a number of products in Sudan, including vital technology tools, and while they tried to ease web restrictions in 2010, it has not improved the situation in Sudan.

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WeGov

Buenos Aires, A Pocket of Civic Innovation in Argentina

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, December 10 2013

Last week, Buenos Aires' Open Government launched an interactive timeline of its 100-year-old subway sytem (Credit: Screenshot)

In only a few years, the government, civil society and media in Buenos Aires have actively embraced open data. The Buenos Aires city government has been publishing data under a creative commons license and encouraging civic innovation through hackathons. NGOs have launched a number of tech-driven tools and Argentina's second largest newspaper, La Nación, has published several hard-hitting data journalism projects. The result is a fledgling but flourishing open data culture in Buenos Aires, in a country that has not yet adopted a freedom of information law. Read More

WeGov

Global Web Index Points to Social Media's Political Power But Shows Risks of Online Surveillance and Unequal Access

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, November 22 2013

(Web Foundation)

A new Web Index released by the World Wide Web Foundation finds that Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States rank highest in a measure of how the web contributes to development and the fulfillment of basic human rights and spurs political mobilization in 81 countries, but raises concerns about the growing risks of state surveillance and unequal online access to information online. Read More