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First POST: Rumblings

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, May 30 2014

Edward Snowden and the NSA duke it out; Google pushed for improvements in the USA Freedom Act; tech moguls come out as backers of Lawrence Lessig's SuperPAC; and much, much more Read More

First POST: Nerds Biting Back

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, May 12 2014

The latest on the FCC's rulemaking on net neutrality; tracking the details of the USA Freedom Act; Ecuador's push toward a commons-based peer production economy; and much, much more. Read More

The Day We - But Not Wikipedia - Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 11 2014

Screen shot of the defunct Wikipedia planning page for The Day We Fight Back

Drop by the Wikipedia main page today and you will find a featured article on the constellation Perseus. Conspicuously absent is The Day We Fight Back banner so many other websites like reddit, Boing Boing, and Upworthy are flying. Nor did they set Edward Snowden as the featured article, as someone suggested in a thread on what, if any, action should be taken today. Although it was discussed in multiple Wikipedia forums, no consensus was ever reached, and so Wikipedia is sitting this one out.

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Tomorrow the Internet Puts Collective Foot Down to Say "No" to Mass Surveillance

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, February 10 2014

Just over two years after the successful action against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), Internet companies are banding together once again to protest mass surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA). The Day We Fight Back was announced January 10, the eve of Aaron Swartz's death, and will take place February 11. More than 5,000 websites will participate tomorrow in a concerted effort to get people to tell Congress to protest mass surveillance, oppose the FISA Improvements Act and support the USA Freedom Act. The Day We Fight Back is an even more ambitious campaign than Stop SOPA; participants are not trying to stop legislation, they're trying to pass it, no small feat in today's political climate.

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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

PODCAST: What Makes an Internet-Ready Issue?

BY Nick Judd | Friday, January 18 2013

Today, open Internet advocates are celebrating "Internet Freedom Day," the anniversary of widespread online protest against the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act that rattled Congress enough to kill both bills. One year later, what does the nascent politically active web mean for members of Congress? For activists? And for individuals? In the first of what we hope to turn into a regular series of podcasts, editorial director Micah Sifry and I hash through how we think about these issues at techPresident. The full conversation is available for subscribers, but here's a quick overview of what we discussed: Read More

A TechPresident Podcast: On Internet Freedom Day, Politics and the SOPA/PIPA Fight

BY Nick Judd | Friday, January 18 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: One year after the death of SOPA and PIPA fight, what does the nascent politically active web mean for members of Congress? For activists? And for individuals? In the first of what we hope to turn into a regular series of podcasts, editorial director Micah Sifry and I hash through how we think about these issues at techPresident. We sat down to record this for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers. Read More

Democratic Promise: Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013

BY Micah L. Sifry | Saturday, January 12 2013

Aaron Swartz at a Boston Wikipedia Meetup, August 2009, By Sage Ross.

Aaron Swartz, a leading activist for open information, internet freedom, and democracy, died at his own hand Friday January 11. He was 26 years old. There is no single comprehensive list of his good works, but here are some of them: At the age of 14 he co-authored the RSS 1.0 spec--taking brilliant advantage of the fact that internet working groups didn't care if someone was 14, they only cared if their code worked. Then he met Larry Lessig and worked closely with him on the early architecting of Creative Commons, an immense gift to all kinds of sharing of culture. He also was the architect and first coder of the Internet Archive's OpenLibrary.org, which now has made more than one million books freely available to anyone with an internet connection. "We couldn't have come this far without his crucial expertise," Open Library says on its about page. He also co-founded Reddit.com, the social news site, and Demand Progress, an online progressive action group that played a vital role in the anti-SOPA/PIPA fight. He also contributed occasionally to Personal Democracy Forum, writing this article on why wikis work and this essay on "parpolity" or the idea that nested councils of elected representatives could be used to represent a whole country, for our 2008 book, Rebooting America. He was a fellow traveler. Read More

Hey: We're Working with Fight for the Future on "The #InternetVotes"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, September 19 2012

Last winter, networked citizens, organizations and internet platform providers used the power of the web to engage their members and organize their users around their concerns over the proposed Stop Online Piracy and Protect IP Acts. Millions of people responded by calling, faxing and emailing their representatives in Congress and the bills were dropped. Now all kinds of groups are working to use the power of the Internet to help Americans register and turn out to vote this November. As part of that effort, Personal Democracy Media is pleased to be partnering with Fight for the Future, with the support of the Ford Foundation, on a nonpartisan initiative called "The Internet Votes" that will use social media and open data to increase voter registration and turnout among the constituency that many people have started calling "the Internet public." Read More

A Platform for Open Bill Markup Is Now Open Source

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, September 12 2012

When House Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa announced that he was rolling out a platform for collaborative bill markup, called MADISON, in conjunction with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), his staff assured techPresident that it would be released as open source — sometime.

That time has come. Yesterday, the Open Gov Foundation, an outgrowth of Issa and Wyden's partnership that was announced at Personal Democracy Forum earlier this year, posted the code for MADISON to GitHub.Read More