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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

China's State Media Shows Unusual Transparency in Beijing Smog Crisis

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 15 2013

Beijing seen from the International Space Station in 2010 (Wikimedia Commons).

Dangerously high levels of air pollution in Beijing have prompted remarkable transparency from the Chinese state media this week, with the safety of children and others vulnerable to smog apparently trumping censorship mandates. Read More

WeGov

New Syria Website Creates a Web 2.0 Portrait of a Complex Conflict

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, January 14 2013

The new website Syria Deeply.

Syria Deeply is a new site that aims to broaden understanding of the Syrian conflict in the English-speaking world, through a multimedia portrait of its history and ongoing development. Read More

WeGov

Taiwan Fights Dengue Fever with Data

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 11 2013

Mosquito (Wikimedia Commons).

The Center for Disease Control in Taiwan has implemented a geolocational initiative for response to an outbreak of dengue fever. Read More

WeGov

Breaking Silence, Eric Schmidt Says North Korea Needs Internet Freedom

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 11 2013

Eric Schmidt has broken his radio silence on the subject of his North Korea trip. After returning to Beijing yesterday, Schmidt spoke frankly to members of the press, saying that it’s time for the DPRK to implement Internet freedoms. Read More

WeGov

To Increase Corporate Transparency, Denmark is Making Companies' Tax Records Available Online

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 11 2013

Skat, the Danish taxation portal.

A new database will make corporate tax records available to the public in Denmark, the result of legislation passed this summer that called for greater transparency in the Danish business sector. The database is the latest in a series of online transparency practices implemented by the Danish government. Read More

WeGov

China's WeChat Now Automatically Censoring Social Media Updates

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 10 2013

Screengrab from WeChat's website

The Chinese mobile social media app WeChat is now automatically censoring certain keywords, in a further development to the Southern Weekly scandal that has rocked China’s netizens over the past week. Read More

WeGov

Citizen Journalists Tweet Mexico's Drug War, Replacing Traditional Media

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 10 2013

Over the past several years, a growing number of Twitter users in cities throughout Mexico have taken to their feeds with real-time coverage of violent crime. Part public service, part journalism, sometimes completely anonymous, these feeds have become, in many cases, an alternative to traditional news media when it comes to coverage of the country’s escalating drug war. Read More

WeGov

Mobile Apps to Combat Street Harassment Follow Brutal Delhi Gang-Rape Case

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 9 2013

Screengrabs from ICE, a New Mobile App from KPMG and the Mumbai Police Department

Last month, techPresident reported on India’s first all-female hackathon, where many programmers focused on apps to help tackle issues of sexual harassment. Only a handful of days later, the country was shocked by a horrific gang-rape and murder case, in which a young medical student from Delhi who died after being brutally sexually assaulted on a moving bus became the symbol of an escalating crisis of violence against women. Read More

WeGov

Weekly Global Readings: Repression

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, January 9 2013

From today, techPresident will publish a weekly global mashup of stories about the intersection of technology, democracy and civil society. Read More

WeGov

Schmidt and Richardson Have Arrived in North Korea and Are Touring Computer Facilities

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 9 2013

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt Tours a Computer Lab at Kim Il Sung University (screengrab from AP video)

Google’s Eric Schmidt arrived in North Korea earlier this week on a humanitarian visit led by former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. On Tuesday, the group — which also includes Google Ideas director Jared Cohen, formerly of the State Department — was taken on a whirlwind tour of computer facilities in the capital of Pyongyang. Read More

WeGov

Communities in India, Fighting for Rights, Solve a First Problem: Proving They Exist

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, January 9 2013

Chennai women demonstrating for land tenure (courtesy: Transparent Chennai)

Transparent Chennai works to empower city residents by providing them with data and information about the city, where at least 20 percent of the population lives in unrecognized slums. But while e-mapping brings the message home to outside observers, community workers find that other tools are more important for effecting change. Read More

WeGov

Twitter Users Call Out Fraudulent Voter Registration in Kenya

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 8 2013

Screengrab from the Kenya Independent Electoral Boundaries Committee's website

Voter registration fraud in Kenya has been brought to the fore by Twitter users in the country, who are taking issue with political parties illegally inflating the number of their supporters. Read More

WeGov

Chinese Microblogging Platform's Censor Claims the Company is On Netizens' Side

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 8 2013

A long post on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo from a user claiming to be a manager at the company raises questions over Sina’s stance on government regulations that require it to censor user-generated content. Read More

WeGov

Without Fanfare, Google Removed Censorship Warnings from China Search in December

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, January 7 2013

Google's Hong Kong homepage

Google China appears to have removed a feature that warned users of the search engine that they were querying words censored by the government. The change to the Google.cn homepage is speculated to have occurred sometime early last month. Read More

WeGov

Dhaka is Getting a Crowdsourced Bus Map

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 4 2013

The Dhaka bus map, from the project's Kickstarter page.

The capital of Bangladesh is among the most densely populated areas in the world. Like many cities in Southeast Asia, it is serviced by a labyrinthine bus system used by millions of commuters every day. The problem is, dozens of different companies provide bus services, and there’s no map, making travel around the city far from intuitive. Read More

WeGov

Mobile Phone Use in Zambia May Be Enabling Violence Against Women

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 4 2013

A study in Zambia has revealed that, in a country where men often have the upper hand in society, mobile phone use may actually reinforce patterns of violence against women. Read More

WeGov

Google's Eric Schmidt Is Going to North Korea

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 3 2013

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (Wikimedia Commons)

Reports that Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt will be taking a trip to North Korea sometime early this year have led many to speculate how information technology will play a role in the isolated nation’s future. Read More

WeGov

Israeli Transparency NGO Shows Voters How to Cast Informed Ballots

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, January 3 2013

Screengrab from Open Knesset website

As Israelis prepare to cast their ballots in national elections on January 22, the country's only transparency NGO has launched a campaign to encourage voters to educate themselves by consulting their Open Knesset website, where they can find previously unavailable information about how their legislators are doing their jobs and whether they are representing their constituents as they would wish to be represented. Read More

WeGov

Women Make Their Mark on Kenya's Expanding Tech Sector

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 3 2013

What’s the best way to get women engaged in tech? In Nairobi, a burgeoning African Silicon Alley, it’s to have women implement tech culture in the first place. A NPR story from late last month dropped in on the Akirachix, an all-female collective of programmers and technologists who are collaborating to tackle social issues in Kenya. Read More

WeGov

What Technology Can and Cannot Do In the Fight Against Corruption

BY David Eaves | Thursday, January 3 2013

There are a slew of newly organized and emergent efforts to tackle various forms of corruption, particularly by using new technology, from the global — such as the Open Government Partnership, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and Transparency International — to the very local — such as ipaidabribe and its various clones. These efforts have also benefited from a number of traditional players, like state and independent regulators, apparently becoming more aggressive in enforcing laws. There's a lot to celebrate. But there are a few words of caution I would like to add to the conversation. Read More