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First POST: Busted

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 22 2013

Google's Eric Schmidt thinks strong encryption will eventually defeat government censorship and surveillance; Clay Johnson shares a 24-minute video tutorial on why government IT fails and how to fix it; FWD.us founders hack with undocumented immigrants; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Peak Open?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, November 1 2013

The latest reports from the Open Government Partnership summit in London; how big tech companies are responding to the NSA scandal; a Palestinian hacker who taught Facebook a lesson; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Surging

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 21 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Will a "tech surge" of the "best and brightest" save HealthCare.gov?: FWD.us holding a hackathon to build engagement tools to help win the immigration reform fight; David Carr's chat with Pierre Omidyar; and much, much more. Read More

Cory Booker Routes Around Capitol Hill Veteran To Win The Tech Vote

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, August 9 2013

Cory Booker, pictured with Biz Stone and Randi Zuckerberg, 2009. Photo: loiclemeur/Flicker

Silicon Valley is placing its bets behind business-friendly Booker, and in the process is ignoring a stalwart champion of some of their interests on Capitol Hill Rush Holt. Read More

Split by SouthWest: My SXSW 2012 Diary

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 15 2012

danah boyd and Alex Howard at SXSW 2012 (Photo by Micah L. Sifry)

PDM editorial director Micah L. Sifry spent last Friday through Monday at South by SouthWest Interactive, attending panels, keynotes and hanging out. Here's his report: SXSW is still a place where sessions packed with thousands of attendees cheer for the iconoclasts and the game-changers. It is also much more of a business networking conference than an internet futurists' playpen. In short, it has a split personality. Read More

Pre-Facebook IPO, Here's Where Shareholders Put their Political Cash

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, February 3 2012

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg Says Its Mission Is To "Make The World More Open And Connected."

Facebook's initial public offering is in the works and the company is already gearing up to exert the kind of influence in Washington that one might expect from a publicly held firm. With a political action committee for the company already in place, here's a look at some of the politicians who might benefit from the rising fortunes of Facebook's early investors, based on those investors' past political contribution habits as reported by OpenSecrets. Read More

Obama Tech Team In San Francisco To Raise Campaign Cash

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, January 26 2012

President Obama's re-election campaign is in town in San Francisco fund-raising fresh off of the heels of the national fight over anti-piracy legislation. 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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