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WeGov

Face Off in Chile: Net Neutrality v. Human Right to Facebook & Wikipedia

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, June 2 2014

Photo: Wikipedia

Is Internet access a human right, as important as access to education, healthcare and housing? Mark Zuckerberg thinks so, and it inspired him to launch internet.org, an initiative to connect “the next five billion.” So does the United Nations, which declared Internet access a human right in 2011, one that should not be denied even in times of conflict as a means of quelling unrest. And yet the latest blow to cheap and easy access to the Internet (and by the Internet we mean Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia) comes not from an authoritarian state cracking down on an unruly population, but from a government playing by the rules of net neutrality.

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WeGov

Poderopedia to Increase Transparency in South America's Most Corrupt Country

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 2 2014

An illustration from the Poderopedia video, below

How a wealthy Chilean politician is making sure his son isn't punished to the full extent of the law for manslaughter after he hit and killed a pedestrian while driving drunk. Exposing the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee who also leases land to energy companies. Fact checking the 2013 presidential debates and live-tweeting the results. These are just a few of the stories made possible by Poderopedia, a platform on which journalists use public information and investigative reporting to build profiles of major political and financial players, and then map their familial ties, business connections, and other potential conflicts of interest. The second chapter of Poderopedia will launch in Venezuela tomorrow, on World Press Freedom Day, and another chapter will launch in Colombia before June. Poderopedia is finally on its way to world domination.

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WeGov

What To Do With Those Fake Photos From Venezuela

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, February 24 2014

A photo from a 2011 Al Jazeera story about student protests in Chile was repurposed in Venezuela earlier this month.

WeGov

A Brazilian State Takes Open Data To Another Level

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, November 20 2013

Screenshot of visualization of average monthly wage for occupations in Minas Gerais

The Brazilian state Minas Gerais has launched a new data visualization tool called DataViva, which is meant to help government officials, the private sector and Brazilian citizens understand big data. Although it is the product of a state government, DataViva covers the formal economy of all of Brazil.

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WeGov

Argentina's Expanding Surveillance State

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 30 2013

Screenshot from the SIBIOS promotional video

“If we know more about who we are, we can better take care of ourselves.”

That's the reason the Argentinian government gives for their new Federal System of Biometric Identification (SIBIOS) program in a promotional video they play at border control stations. Privacy rights activists have been up in arms about SIBIOS since Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner created it with an executive decree in 2011. It has been active practice since 2012, with little to no public debate about it. Nothing has slowed down the expanding database of information, which includes fingerprints and photos. Earlier this month, Mendoza became the 13th province to sign the Federal Program Partnership and Security Assistance, a program meant to "harmonize" national and provincial policies, and gives provinces access to databases like SIBIOS.

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WeGov

Civic Hackers Build App to Visualize Votes in Argentina's National Congress

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 24 2013

Screenshot of Década Votada at work

Civic hackers have built an application to help Argentinian citizens and journalists track the voting records of Congress members. The app, called Década votada (A decade in votes), was the winning project at a Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires hackathon in April 2013.

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WeGov

The Rise and Fall of Brazil's Twitter Revolution

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 8 2013

Tweets per hour peaked on June 17 at 8 p.m. (Flickr/andresmh)

The protests in Brazil might seem to have come out of nowhere, but the Movimento Passe Libre (Free Pass Movement) has existed for more than eight years. They organized the first few demonstrations, starting at the end of May. It wasn't until June 17, however, when the Twitterverse lit up with tweets about the protests, that people outside the country really began to notice. Less than a week later, however, Twitter usage had died down to pre-protest levels.

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WeGov

Lima's Participatory Budget Expands to Include All City Residents

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 3 2013

Participatory budgets give voice to Peru's poor, if they know to vote (Wikipedia)

Since 2003, municipalities in Peru have created budgets with input from representatives of civil society called “participating agents.” Last month, however, Lima expanded the participatory budget to include the general population. Approximately 20,000 residents voted; a vast improvement when compared to the handful of “participating agents,” but only a drop in the bucket considering Lima's eight million residents.

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WeGov

Three Things Latin America is Learning About Civic Technology

BY Susannah Vila | Wednesday, July 3 2013

Aerial view of Lima, Peru (flickr/NeoKat)

Look closely at any recent wave of street protests and you’re likely to find a group of “civic technologists” trying to find news ways for citizens to participate in the public sector. These are the type of people that came together last week in Uruguay for Latin America’s first “unconference” on open government. Roughly 60 civic technologists talked for two days about their shared challenges and emerging best practices in using technology to engage citizens. Read More

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Brazilians Protest Forced Evictions on YouTube and in Mock World Cup

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, June 14 2013

Screenshot from a YouTube video about forced evictions

Tomorrow Brazilians who have been forced out of their housing in advance of the 2014 World Cup will stage their own “People's Cup” in Rio de Janeiro to draw awareness to forced evictions.

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