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At 18F, The U.S. Looks to Fail Fast on Government IT Projects Instead of Failing Big

BY Alex Howard | Thursday, April 3 2014

The state of govt IT today: Long lines in Columbia, SC waiting to sign-up for HealthCare.gov

Can a new small office inside the General Services Administration start to revolutionize how the U.S. government does information technology? That's the premise behind 18F. Longtime open government observer Alex Howard offers this in-depth report. Read More

First POST: Generation W?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, September 17 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Whistleblowing as an act of generational identity?; Craig Newmark is officially the government's biggest "nerd"; Turkey's ruling party is building a social media army; and much, much more. Read More

Gavin Newsom On the Meaning of "Citizenville:" A Q&A

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, February 26 2013

Sergey Brin helps Gavin Newsom put on a pair of Google glasses. Image: Current TV

California's lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom, has just published "Citizenville," a light volume at around 240 pages that urges American citizens and their local governments to re-imagine how the process of governing might work in the digital age. In an edited Q&A, Sarah Lai Stirland asks Newsom to explain the meaning behind his manifesto. Read More

Timeline Update: January 17, 1994--Carl Malamud Launches Free Online Access to SEC EDGAR Records

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, August 17 2012

Soon after launching the Politics and the Internet timeline, we saw a tweet from long-time tech publisher and visionary Tim O'Reilly, retweeting a plug from Rep. Darrell Issa, but adding "Alas, omits @carlmalamud's work RT @DarrellIssa: An interactive history of the Internet & politics..." I immediately responded that it was an unintentional oversight, as Malamud is truly the modern open data movement's founding father. Here's the update to the timeline, which was just added. Read More

Is an Apple Patent the Death Knell of Mobile Video in Protests? [Updated]

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, June 16 2011

O'Reilly Media's Tim O'Reilly says that a new Apple patent on infra-red technology that could block the use of cellphone cameras could have disastrous implications for activism. "Think for a moment about the ... Read More

A Local Gov 2.0 Primer

BY Nick Judd | Monday, November 29 2010

Fast Company's Anya Kamenetz rounds the bases on what the local Gov 2.0 crowd is doing around the country in an article for the magazine's December/January issue, which appeared online today. Regular readers of this blog ... Read More

Code for America: Developers Pledge to Connect Citizens, and Each Other, in 2011

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, November 17 2010

In 2011, a group of 20 technologists across the country will test a theory: Given coding talent and information-technology knowledge, big municipal governments can make their cities better without spending a whole lot of ... Read More

State Dept. Calls for Apps for E. Africa, By E. Africans

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, July 1 2010

The U.S. State Department and local entrepreneurs announced the launch of an Apps 4 Africa contest in Nairobi earlier today. Read More

Obama Open Government Directive is Finally Out. And It's Pretty Good.

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, December 8 2009

The White House has just released its Open Government Directive, long-awaited by transparency and "government 2.0" advocates, and at first glance, the meat on the bone looks pretty juicy. 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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