Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Andrew McLaughlin Leaves Civic Commons for Tumblr

BY Nick Judd | Monday, December 5 2011

Andrew McLaughlin in 2008. Photo: Joi Ito/Flickr

Andrew McLaughlin has left the open-source-in-government nonprofit Civic Commons to join Tumblr, he told techPresident today.

The former Google director of global public policy and White House deputy chief technology officer starts at Tumblr today. He has been serving as Civic Commons' executive director since April, working next to Civic Commons managing director Nick Grossman. Grossman will take over the reins at Civic Commons, which reaches out to local governments to help them open-source existing technology projects so that other governments can use their work, change procurement rules to make it easier to use open-source solutions rather than proprietary ones, and find open-source projects that would suit their needs.

Tumblr burst into political awareness last month when it joined the campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act by rolling out a variety of design-heavy stunts to draw its users attention to the pending legislation in Congress and urge them to contact their legislators to voice their disapproval of the bill. It was an unprecedented level of political advocacy for Tumblr, and a united front from Internet companies that have built their businesses on individual Internet publishing, sharing and remixing — an industry that lives and breathes thanks to fair use and the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

After helping to get Civic Commons off the ground this year, securing foundation building a team that spans a trinity of civic-technology-focused nonprofits — Civic Commons as well as Code for America and OpenPlans, which have been jointly incubating the nonprofit — it's time to move back to the private sector, McLaughlin wrote in a blog post on the Civic Commons blog:

So it’s now time for me to head back to the private sector. I’m joining Tumblr, an innovative company that to me embodies the best of what the Internet makes possible. I’ll be Tumblr’s Vice President, focusing on international growth and community building.

I’m pleased to announce that the new Executive Director of Civic Commons is Nick Grossman. Nick is a brilliant, energetic, and thoughtful leader with deep experience in, and infectious enthusiasm for, civic technology, government innovation, open data and open standards, and collaborative software development. Nick is the ideal person to lead Civic Commons beyond the launch phase and into an era of sustained, high-leverage, globally-significant projects like the Civic Commons Marketplace.

McLaughlin will remain on the Code for America board, he wrote, "doing everything I can to ensure that Civic Commons gets the participation (and the resources) it needs to do its enormously important work, here in the U.S. and around the world."

This post has been updated.

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

More