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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.

Our name for this trend is "We-government" or "WeGov" for short. Unlike the older practice of e-government, where public agencies are in the driver's seat and use tech to tell citizens what officials want them to know, allow them to upload required information, and invite input but only on government's terms, WeGov is what happens when citizens and NGOs take fuller advantage of tech's affordances to create (and sometimes co-create, with government's involvement) new and better approaches to providing and using vital public information and services.

techPresident's WeGov vertical is where we cover the people, projects, trends and ideas that are shaping this emerging space with a mix of in-depth feature reporting, daily news digests, and the development of a growing archive of articles, modules and pointers to other valuable resources.

Starting in June 2013, a chunk of the coverage on WeGov is coming from a new partnership with the engine room aimed at expanding our ability to surface and connect emerging tactics and initiatives. The engine room is an organization that uses research and networks to close gaps between advocacy initiatives, technologies, strategies and resources. They match initiatives with specialized expertise to help them make the most out of new technologies. With their help, we will be adding a series of skill shares for practitioners, in-depth reports, columns, and live documentation of relevant events.

To read about WeGov articles that fall under specific categories of interest, click on the links below:

Subscribe to our WeGov mailing list. Current subscribers may need to update their preferences.





WeGov is written and edited by Rebecca Chao, Jessica McKenzie and Antonella Napolitano, in partnership with the engine room and with assistance from Micah L. Sifry. The WeGov advisory board includes Sunil Abraham, Dominic Campbell, Susan Crawford, Beth Noveck, Tiago Peixoto, and Jeffrey Warren.

Personal Democracy Media is thankful to the Omidyar Network and the United Nations Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

WeGov

Mob Rule, Vigilante Behavior and Blasphemy in Pakistan's Digital Age

BY Nighat Dad | Wednesday, November 26 2014

London's Pakistani community protests Pakistan's blasphemy law (helen.2006/flickr)

Blasphemy cases in Pakistan are considered a norm these days. However, the latest incident of a mob beating to death a Christian couple is the most gruesome manifestation of this sensitive issue. The couple in Punjab was alleged to have desecrated a copy of the Qur’an. The mob attacked the couple, killed them, and later burnt their bodies in the brick kiln where they worked. The blasphemy law presents a frightening level of vigilante violence where prison and private guards, neighbors and colleagues turn into mobs killing those accused of blasphemy. Unfortunately, this mob behavior is being strengthened by the increasing adoption of technology in the country like mobile phones and the internet.

Read More

WeGov

Creating Bottom-Up Tech Tools to Fight Ebola

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, November 21 2014

Liberian youths flash their mobile phones in support of UNICEF's U-Report (UNICEF Liberia)

The fight against Ebola in West Africa is far from over. TechPresident recently covered New York Tech Meetup’s Ebola Hackathon and wrote about what technology can and can’t do. But what emerged from these discussions is that technology needed to be more responsive -- designed after community input and not before. Here are a few systems that were built in just that manner. Read More

WeGov

After Sunflower Movement, Taiwan's g0v Uses Open Source to Open the Government

BY Sonia Roubini and Jason R. Tashea | Wednesday, November 5 2014

g0v took the lead in organizing Taiwan's Sunflower movement (speedbug/flickr)

This past March, the online community g0v helped organize hundreds of protestors to storm Taiwan’s parliament, the Legislative Yuan, in opposition to a pending trade deal with China. Now g0v wants to make the government more transparent and accessible. By doing so, it hopes to help citizens understand both how government works and how to make it better. Read More

WeGov

Uploading Democracy

BY La Netscouade | Wednesday, October 29 2014

Kevin Law/flickr

TechPresident partnered with La Netscouade to feature an in-depth multimedia report on how the Hong Kong protestors are utilizing technology in the Umbrella Movement. Read More

WeGov

Anti-Corruption Alert, a Secure Platform For Public Servants Willing to Blow the Whistle

BY Antonella Napolitano | Tuesday, October 28 2014

The homepage of the Anti-Corruption Alert (ALAC) launched last week in Italy.

Last week, the Italian chapter of Transparency International launched Anti-Corruption Alert, a platform aimed mainly at public servants willing to denounce malpractice in the public administration. The platform uses GlobaLeaks, an open-source software specifically designed to protect the identity of the whistleblower and the receiver in the exchange of confidential material. Read More

WeGov

Italy Pioneers An Internet Bill of Rights

BY Fabio Chiusi | Monday, October 27 2014

Italy thinks we need a Magna Carta for the Internet (James Joel/flickr)

Do we need another Internet Bill of Rights? Fabio Chiusi talks to a number of experts about Italy's new project. Read More

WeGov

Tunisian Youth Activists Dissect Budget Ahead of Parliamentary Elections

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, October 22 2014

The economic frustrations that led to the revolution still linger (Crethi Plethi/flickr)

Amira Yahyaoui is known for her plucky efforts to monitor the National Constituent Assembly -- turning up at private committee meetings, nettling officials with live tweets, taking their attendance and recording their every vote. Now she wants to open up Tunisia's economy too, starting with the state budget. Read More

WeGov

FireChat Wasn’t Meant For Protests. Here’s How It Worked (Or Didn’t) at Occupy Central

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, October 10 2014

Occupy Central is also known as the Umbrella Movement (hurtingbombz/flickr)

On September 28, the third day of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests known as Occupy Central, one of the movement’s leaders, 17-year-old Joshua Wong, posted a message on Facebook to fellow protestors asking them to download an app called FireChat in case the government decided to shut down phone and wifi connections. A week later, even though the government had not cut off connectivity, downloads had more than quadrupled at 450,000. But so far, there's been little reporting on whether FireChat actually enables useful communications among protesters. Read More

WeGov

[Op-Ed] Policing With Consent Would Require Throwing Away Our Freedoms

BY Guðjón Idir | Wednesday, October 8 2014

Keith Bristow, Director of the UK's National Crime Agency, asks the public to agree to more surveillance (Chatham House/flickr)

Guðjón Idir, the Executive Director of the Icelandic Modern Media Institute, explains why the UK's request for "policing with consent" demands trading in our freedoms. Read More

WeGov

[Op-Ed] Like Island, Like Party: How Kim Dotcom's Internet Party Resonates In Iceland

BY Birgitta Jonsdottir | Monday, October 6 2014

The Internet Party has a simple but grand agenda.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, a Representative of the Pirate Party in Iceland, writes in with her thoughts on Kim Dotcom's Internet Party and its recent loss in the parliamentary elections in New Zealand. Read More

WeGov

Occupy Central and China's Policy of Give and Take

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, September 30 2014

The movement has inspired a variety of Internet logos (Top: Angelo Costadimas | Left: Sam Inglis | Right: Tania Willis)

Since exploding on the international stage on Friday, the ongoing pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong known as Occupy Central has galvanized up to 80,000 people by some estimates and has made enough noise to capture attention and support from those as far away as Los Angeles, London, Paris and Perth. But inside mainland China, except for a few folks who shaved their heads to show solidarity, people there have remained noticeably quiet. The government's diligent censorship of Occupy Central coverage in China can explain part of the silence but not all of it.

Read More

WeGov

Pirate MEP Crowdsources Internet Policy Questions For Designated EU Commissioners

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, September 26 2014

While the Pirate Party within Germany was facing internal disputes over the last week, the German Pirate Party member in the European Parliament, Julia Reda, is seeking to make the European Commission appointment process more transparent by crowdsourcing questions for the designated Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society and the designated Vice President for the Digital Single Market. Read More

WeGov

Germany Releases Open Data Action Plan Amidst Grassroots Enthusiasm and Pirate Party Turmoil

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, September 22 2014

German Open Data portal

The German government on Wednesday unveiled its open data action plan to implement the open data charter established by the G8, now G7, countries. But while German open government advocates welcomed its release, for them it does not go far enough. Even as the open data movement is taking new hold in Germany on the local level with encouragement from the new Code for Germany effort, in the national Pirate Party, the supposed German net party, internal leadership disputes are overshadowing its digital agenda. Read More

WeGov

Can Technology Help Swing Scotland’s Referendum Towards Yes?

BY Jon Worth | Wednesday, September 17 2014

Lady Alba for Yes versus PatronisingBTLady for No (screenshots)

Scotland has been part of the United Kingdom since 1707 and the old cultural ties to the rest of the British Isles are one of the main arguments made against independence in tomorrow's referendum vote. Yet if the Yes to independence side is to succeed – the polls narrowed in the final month of the campaign to within a couple of percent after a sudden surge in support for independence – it will be something much more modern that will win the day: the use of online technology in a top-down data driven manner and networked grassroots way.

Read More

WeGov

In Czech Republic, NGOs Launch Anti-Corruption Campaign

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, September 8 2014

The Czech Parliament in Prague (Photo: Matt Dell/Flickr)

“We have a plan to end corruption. And we need your help to make it happen” This is the message launched by Czech NGOs to citizens in an effort to rebuild trust and credibility towards the institutions, a even more urging need, after a huge corruption scandal disrupted the political scene a little more than a year ago. The NGOs agenda is made of 9 laws and is the core of a project called Rekonstrukce Státu (Reconstruction of State), a joint effort of more than 20 civil society organizations. Read More

WeGov

In China, Local Governments Play Whac-a-Mole With Taxi Apps

BY Rebecca Chao | Friday, August 29 2014

Beijing yellow cabs from the 1980s (credit: This is Beijing!)

It seems these days that car-hailing apps exist only to give cities grief. In New York, car sharing start-ups like Lyft ignore labor, safety insurance laws and in China, the situation is no different except in one regard: taxi hailing apps in China are proliferating at a faster rate than in the U.S. In China, however, the taxi system is very much in its infancy and local Chinese governments are struggling to control the proliferation of new apps that flout the law. Read More

WeGov

The Uncertain Future of India's Plan to Biometrically Identify Everyone

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, August 28 2014

Biometric data collection in Howrah, India (Photo: Biswarup Ganguly)

Since its launch in 2010, people in India have raised a number of questions and concerns about the Aadhaar card —formally known as Unique Identification (UID)— citing its effects on privacy rights, potential security flaws, and failures in functionality. Read More

WeGov

In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, August 20 2014

A scene from the mountain range in Mexico that foreign companies hope to mine for gold and silver.

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.

Read More

WeGov

Ushahidi Provides Journalists With Instant Real-Time Crisis Data

BY Onnik James Krikorian | Wednesday, August 20 2014

Ushahidi's CrisisNET platform provides reporters with accurate and timely data culled from social media (credit: Ushahidi)

Times have changed since Ushahidi first launched its crisis mapping platform in the violent aftermath of the 2007 elections in Kenya. With the use of social media now widespread, so too has the way in which many media, international organizations, and local NGOs now work. Ushahidi has had to go social. Read More

WeGov

NDI Launches Open Source DemTools for International Development

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, August 13 2014

Screenshot of the four tools

Yesterday the National Democratic Institute launched a suite of web-based applications created for their partner organizations, mostly pro-democracy groups and political parties around the world. These “DemTools,” which are ready-to-use but can also be customized, will give organizations in developing countries some of the capabilities that political activists and parties in the United States have had for years. Moreover, since the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is making the promise to host partner organization's applications in the cloud essentially forever, they hope these applications will help usher in a period of more sustainable tech.

Read More

Wegov News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

Mob Rule, Vigilante Behavior and Blasphemy in Pakistan's Digital Age

Blasphemy cases in Pakistan are considered a norm these days. However, the latest incident of a mob beating to death a Christian couple is the most gruesome manifestation of this sensitive issue. The couple in Punjab was alleged to have desecrated a copy of the Qur’an. The mob attacked the couple, killed them, and later burnt their bodies in the brick kiln where they worked. The blasphemy law presents a frightening level of vigilante violence where prison and private guards, neighbors and colleagues turn into mobs killing those accused of blasphemy. Unfortunately, this mob behavior is being strengthened by the increasing adoption of technology in the country like mobile phones and the internet.

GO

friday >

Creating Bottom-Up Tech Tools to Fight Ebola

The fight against Ebola in West Africa is far from over. TechPresident recently covered New York Tech Meetup’s Ebola Hackathon and wrote about what technology can and can’t do. But what emerged from these discussions is that technology needed to be more responsive -- designed after community input and not before. Here are a few systems that were built in just that manner. GO

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