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Hacktivism

Anonymous. WikiLeaks. LulzSec. Today's tech-powered politics includes renegade factions, outsider forces and merry pranksters who sometimes break the law and often break social norms in their desire to make change. Not to be confused with civic hackers, today's hacktivists are using new media as well as ingenious social strategies to disrupt and destabilize the existing order. Not everyone agrees with their tactics, and vibrant debates have broken out over whether this is genuine online civil disobedience, or disobedience of a kind that has chosen to stop being civil.

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Revolution 2.0

Wael Ghonim, the Google executive who set up a Facebook page that was a prominent force in helping galvanize the January 25, 2011 revolution in Egypt, has said, "If you want to liberate a society, just give them the Internet." While things aren't so simple, and authoritarian governments are also using technology to control their populations and suppress movements for change, there's no question that organizers and activists are using the net to rattle and in some cases help overthrow powerful regimes. Here's a select set of some of techPresident's best coverage and commentary.

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Obama 2012

In 2008, the Barack Obama campaign built an online juggernaut. With 13 million emails, nearly 4 million donors, 2 million members of the My.BarackObama.com social network, and tens of thousands of engaged activists, Obama's team broke new ground in using the internet to build a new kind of powerful political machine. In 2012, they worked hard to reengage their base and re-invent how campaigns use technology to move voters and win elections. And the results: a critical increase in targeted turnout, built on top of an even bigger list and volunteer base.

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Malcolm Gladwell

We can't resist. Everybody's favorite social theorist and business writer, Malcolm Gladwell made waves in 2010-11 when he waded into the international debate on the role of social media in the Arab Spring and declared that "The Revolution Will Not Be Twittered." Below, our favorite responses to Gladwell.

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Facebook Nation

If Facebook were a country it would be the third biggest in the world. For many of its one billion users, Facebook is indeed their home base online. Everyone, from politicians to revolutionary movements, is using the site to advance their causes. And this raises all kinds of important questions, from how to make the most of Facebook, to how to make sure Facebook treats its users fairly.

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Online Organizing

Here comes everybody? Well, almost. As more people get their hands on the tools of communication and collaboration, it's become ridiculously easy to form a group and agitate around any case. But for all the multiplying ways that we're discovering to network and connect, online organizing still takes knowledge and practice. Giant e-groups like MoveOn.org, with its millions of email members, are constantly honing their approach.

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Occupy Wall Street

The same youth-driven, hyper-networked wave of grassroots protests against economic inequality and political oligarchy that have been rocking countries as disparate as Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Greece and Spain have hit America. The occupation of the Wisconsin state legislature last winter was a harbinger, but now all kinds of previously disconnected individuals, loosely centered on a core of beautiful-style troublemakers and inspired by events and methods honed overseas, are linking up and showing up to occupy symbolically important centers in their cities and campuses.

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WeGov

All over the world, groups and individuals are using technology in a variety of innovative ways to increase government transparency, fight corruption, open data, hack on civic problems, strengthen economic development, address environmental problems, improve public health and education, and advance the conditions of women and children.

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Fonts of Wisdom

From Gotham to Helvetica, Fedra to Serifs, the typography of politics has played a subtle but critical role in shaping how we relate to campaigns online. Good design matters, and over the years we've spotted all kinds of wisdom in the way things are presented and branded.

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Egypt

Egypt has been called the center of Arab civilization, and today it is the red hot center of the Arab Spring. What happens there is influencing the entire region, and creating ripples even in places like Madison, Wisconsin. Below, links to features covering some of the seminal leaders and moments in Egypt's struggle to create a more democratic future.

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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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