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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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News Briefs

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In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

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NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

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