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First POST: Georemixing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, May 22 2014

Ethan Zuckerman on the global politics of YouTube georemixes; Facebook's flip-flop on user privacy; California's push to take "do not track" requests seriously; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

How the State Department Plans to Make Humanitarian Crowdmapping Mainstream

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, April 3 2014

Progress on the mapping of Nimule, South Sudan

The U.S. Department of State has more than 859,000 Twitter followers and more than 518,000 likes on Facebook, and they want to mobilize those million plus followers for the benefit of humanitarian causes around the world.

In early March the State Department launched MapGive, a campaign to educate the masses about crowdmapping: why it is important and how one can help. MapGive, a collaboration between the Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU) and the Office of Innovative Engagement (OIE), is one of several projects in the third round of the Presidential Innovation Fellows program designed to harness the power of crowdsourcing to improve government.

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New State Department Map Looks Inward

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, March 18 2014

Even as the conflict in Crimea continues to escalate, a simple new interactive map that Secretary of State John Kerry unveiled Tuesday builds on an ongoing State Department efforts to make the scope of its work that makes up around one percent of the federal budget more tangible. Read More

Coming to Grips With Our Not-So-New Surveillance State

BY Matt Stoller | Tuesday, March 18 2014

An FBI agent collects the agency's one-hundred-millionth fingerprint (National Archives and Records Admin.)

In this op-ed, Matt Stoller looks at the history of surveillance in America and argues that the current conversation about the NSA's massive system of dragnet surveillance is missing perspective. We've been living in surveillance state for decades, he writes, one that has long merged commercial and state snooping into individuals' private lives. And we're not powerless to fight it. Read More

Egyptian Activist Denied State Department Honor Over Anti-Semitic, Anti-American Tweets

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, March 12 2013

Samira Ibrahim (image: YouTube screengrab)

An Egyptian activist who was slated to be presented with a Woman of Courage Award at a ceremony hosted in Washington, D.C. by Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama has been sent home after a conservative newspaper unearthed tweets in which she expressed anti-American and anti-Semitic sentiments. Read More

Kerry, Clinton talk Cybersecurity and State Department Cyber-Diplomacy at Hearings

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, January 25 2013

At his confirmation hearing Thursday, Secretary of State-designate John Kerry addressed how he views Internet-based threats, echoing comments made by current Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the day before at a House hearing on the Benghazi incident. Read More

Ben Scott, State Department's Former Innovation Advisor, Joins New America Foundation

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, July 23 2012

Ben Scott, one of Hillary Clinton's former innovation advisors at the State Department, has joined the New America Foundation. Scott will be based in Berlin, where he is currently a visiting fellow at the German think ... Read More

New Rice University Paper Chronicles Impact of the Internet On U.S. Foreign Policy

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, May 22 2012

We all know that the Internet has transformed the way that the United States conducts diplomacy, and the way that it views national security, but where should we look to find evidence of this? This is the wide-ranging subject matter of a new paper published on Tuesday by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. The paper provides a round-up of some of the major turns of events between 2005 and 2011 in the realms of Internet governance, the development of online public diplomacy at the State Department, the evolution of the Internet-fueled Arab Spring, and the establishment of the shadowy U.S. Cyber Command in Fort Meade, Maryland, among other things. Read More

Obama: Network Disruption in Syria, Iran, Facilitates Human Rights Abuse

BY Nick Judd | Monday, April 23 2012

In an executive order signed Sunday and released by the White House on Monday as President Barack Obama spoke at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial in Washington, D.C., the president called for financial restrictions on entities involved in the disruption, monitoring, or tracking of computers and networks by the Syrian or Iranian governments. The order would block property in the U.S. owned by people involved firsthand in network tracking and disruption, as well as people who provided technology, finances or expertise. It calls out Syrian and Iranian Internet service providers by name, but may be inclusive enough to cause problems for the Swedish telecommunications supplier Ericsson, which has supplied Syrian telecommunications firm Syriatel, said the Electronic Freedom Foundation's Jillian C. York. Read More

From "Texts With Hillary" To a Face-to-Face Meeting

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, April 10 2012

The creators of Texts from Hillary meet the Secretary of State.

Talk about starting something online and moving it offline: The makers of the Texts from Hillary tumblr met with, and collected an autographed "TfH" submission from, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. "Someone on her staff emailed us yesterday and said that she had seen the site, she liked it and wanted us to come by and say hello for a few minutes," site co-creator Adam Smith told techPresident by phone today. Smith said that while she was "warm" — a contrast to the always-telling-people-what-to-do persona they've given her on the site — they didn't speak long. "She had another meeting to go to," he said. "I mean, she is the Secretary of State." Read More

News Briefs

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NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

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