BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, July 26 2013
BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, June 24 2013
The subject of personal privacy in the digital age loomed large in the minds of many attendees of this year's Netroots Nation in San Jose as the national debate continued over the ethics of the Obama Administration's national security surveillance techniques. So perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that the political operatives who capitalized on the American electorate's personal data to achieve victory in 2012 felt a bit defensive last week as they celebrated their cutting-edge strategies to beat back state-level conservative initiatives, and to elect Democratic candidates. Read More
BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, February 19 2013
Gene Hoffman, an affable Silicon Valley entrepreneur, speaks rapidly and logically, and his hands whiz expertly around the weapon as he attaches the lower receiver into the rest of his LCW-15, a type of AR-15 rifle. At 38, he is the CEO of Vindicia, a digital subscription payments processing firm. But he's also chairman of the non-profit Calguns Foundation, which is part of a national network of gun-rights activists that are defending Second Amendment rights in court and fighting legislative battles in statehouses.
"It's weird for me to hear about technologists in the wake of Sandy Hook saying that we should ban guns -- gun control is simply technology control," Hoffman says.
I am in Hoffman's office to understand how he, and Calguns, have come to sit at the center of a network of activists that are baffling efforts to roll back the nation's gun culture and stem the spread of deadly assault weapons. Here is what I found out.Read More
BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, January 16 2013
BY Micah L. Sifry | Saturday, January 12 2013
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
BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, November 8 2012
Earlier this year the government of Slovakia launched a portal that was supposed to make all public contracts and invoices available online. But as Sunlight Foundation International Fellow Matej Kurian recounts, there were serious problems from the outset: The site "...was half-baked, missing full-text search, documents preview or space for comments. While the policy produced more data (“transparency,” if you will), it left accountability untouched." Read More
BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, October 10 2012
The Sunlight Foundation* has launched Political Ad Sleuth, a project to track and help contribute to a database detailing money spent on political ads this election year.
The initial source of the documents in the database comes from around 200 local stations' "political files" — tranches, mandated by the Federal Communications Commission, of data on all the political ads bought at each station and at what price. Those 200 stations in the 50 largest television markets in the country were required to hand over those datasets beginning earlier this year to be posted online.Read More
BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, September 27 2012
Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The chairwoman of California's Fair Political Practices Commission has proposed a rule that would require political campaigns to disclose payments to bloggers or people embarking on paid social media forays on their behalf. She says she won't push to advance the proposal until after the November elections — but the mere thought of revisiting disclosure, discussed in the Federal Election Commission's last major Internet rulemaking in 2005 and 2006, has bloggers incensed. Read More
BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, August 22 2012
BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, August 2 2012
The FCC's clunky new political TV ad database goes live. Read More