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First POST: Launches

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 15 2014

It's a day for civic start-up launches and we've got the run down; The Pulitzer committee says the NSA revelations were a "public service"; Ready for Hillary is organizing on campuses; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Slippery Slopes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 1 2014

Why the CIA is fighting so hard to keep that Senate report on torture secret; OkCupid tells visitors using Firefox to use a different browser; why decentralized mesh networks should matter to dissident political movements; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Sympathy for the Developer

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 18 2014

Is the lack of hierarchy, or "holocracy," what ails Silicon Valley?; WhatsApp promises to protect user privacy; MySociety gets to tell Parliament exactly what to do; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Oh, Canada

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, January 31 2014

Canada's NSA exposed copying its Big Brother to the south; a former TSA screener tells all about those full-body scanners; Salesforce's Marc Benioff pushes back against Silicon Valley's libertarians; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: The Big Chill

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, January 6 2014

The NSA won't deny snooping on Members of Congress; the full size of the Koch brothers conservative political network starts to come into view; the emerging pieces of Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign-in-waiting get mapped; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Counting

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 9 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:The latest details on the health care exchange signups (and problems); a new tech advocacy group launches; Nick Bilton's forthcoming book on Twitter gives the unvarnished version of its founding; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Losers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, October 4 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:: The secret list where Ted Cruz plots strategy; The American Prospect gives Jim Gilliam a full-length feature profile; Bitly shares real-data traffic data for the top 40 media sites in the US; and much, much more. Read More

What's Wrong with Silicon Valley?

BY Nick Judd | Friday, June 7 2013

After working in San Francisco first for Obama for America and then as part of Code for America, Catherine Bracy shares a political technologist's view of Silicon Valley's sometimes staggering inequality. Here's her talk from Personal Democracy Forum 2013, "What Techies Need to Know About Politics:"

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What German Politicians Think of Google Glass

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, May 21 2013

Philipp Rösler. Screenshot via @KaiDiekmann on telly.com

The German government led by Chancellor Angela Merkel has not had the easiest relationship with Google. The company launched a public campaign against a law backed by her coalition that would require search engines to pay to show news articles in search results, with mixed results. What's more, Google has long had to navigate the privacy waters in Germany and throughout the European Union. But that has not stopped her federal minister for economics and technology, Philipp Rösler, from giving Google Glass an enthusiastic test run as he leads a delegation of German technology companies and politicians on a trip to Silicon Valley this week as part of German Valley Week. Read More

What The Other Silicon Valley Immigration Group Is Doing This Month

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, May 16 2013

A bipartisan coalition of political advocacy, business and tech groups are moving ahead to launch a social media blitz next week designed to persuade members of the Senate to vote in favor of immigration reform ... 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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