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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.


Police Surveillance in Sao Paolo is at All-Time High, as Crime Wave Shocks City

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 2 2013

A military police officer with a camera-mounted EagleEye backpack, from BBC Future Video.

BBC Future has a look into the Orwellian surveillance technology that police in Sao Paolo are using to monitor crime in the metropolis of 41 million. An integrated network of databases, tablet technology and mobile cameras are giving law enforcement officials an unprecedented eye on activity in the city streets. Read More


Putting Rights Violations on the Map in Iran

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 2 2013

Screengrab of the Mapping Iran's Human Rights, from

A new interactive map from the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran will track rights violations in the country by region. The Mapping Iran's Human Rights project geographically situates violations in four categories — perpetrators, victims, prison corruption, and regional trends — while generating new knowledge about corruption from sources in Iran. Read More


Cambodia Could Worsen Its Digital Divide By Banning Internet Cafés Near Schools

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, December 21 2012

An order from the Cambodian government to keep students out of Internet cafés could spell inaccessibility for many in a country where few have personal computers. Read More


Twitter Could Stop the Next Great Fire of London

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, December 21 2012

Screengrab of the London Fire Brigade's official Twitter page

London emergency responders are piloting the world’s first Twitter-based fire reporting program, the city’s Fire Brigade announced earlier this week. While officials cautioned this is not a replacement for dialing 999 – that’s British English for 911 – Rita Dexter, the Deputy Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, explained that implementing social media-based emergency calls is simply looking forward. Read More


The Ayatollah Is On Facebook, Even If Iran Isn’t Supposed to Be

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, December 20 2012

Screengrab of The Ayatollah Khamenei's new Facebook page

A Facebook page for Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini,appeared online last week. The apparently state-sanctioned page has garnered over 18,000 likes, though the popular social network has effectively been banned in the country since dissidents gathered online to power protests after the 2009 reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Read More


Questions of Privacy, Politics and Murder in Lebanon Text-Message Row

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, December 19 2012

In the wake of a high-profile car-bombing in Lebanon, text messages might finger the killers — or they might just be a useful diversion. Read More


EU Fines Turkey for Blocking Google Sites

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, December 19 2012

An EU court has ruled against a blocking of the Google Sites service in Turkey, in a case filed by a Turkish citizen. A 2009 ruling by a regional court in the southwestern city of Denizli blocked all pages hosted on, apparently after a single page was found to insult Republic of Turkey founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Defamation of Atatürk or Turkish identity is illegal in the country. Read More


Years In the Making, India Delivers an Open Data Portal

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, December 18 2012

Screengrab of Data Portal India homepage

India has joined in on the open data movement with Data Portal India, an initiative to provide transparency across a diverse array of governmental agencies. The new site comes on the tails of the National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy, which was announced by the nation’s Department of Science and Technology earlier this year, and the 2005 Right to Information Act, a transformative piece of legislation that made government records accessible to ordinary citizens. Read More


No Capslock Allowed: Ecuador Has Online Conduct Code for Election Banter

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, December 18 2012

Screengrab of the National Electoral Council's election portal, Voto transparente, Conoce a Tu Candidato

Ecuador is gearing up for national elections in February with an online portal aimed at giving voters transparency in their process of choosing a candidate, and 14 guidelines for good behavior online. Read More


In Egypt, the Government Issues Official Announcements on Facebook

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, December 17 2012

Cairo protester's sign says "no to the constitution" (credit: Hossam El Hamalawy)

Last week the Egyptian government announced draconian tax increases and subsidy reductions that caused a huge wave of protest. Within hours, the president revoked the announcement — in the middle of the night, on Facebook. Read More


Thawing Relations Between Transparency Activists and Government in Russia Yield Results

BY David Eaves | Monday, December 17 2012

The Russian transparency environment is not without both opportunities and innovations. Legally, there are requirements for government transparency encoded in Russian law — they are however infrequently adhered to. But this does give advocates some legal ground to stand on. And politically, there is opportunity as well. The government is talking more and more about fighting corruption, creating room for both advocates and government officials to talk about how transparency could play a role in addressing this issue. Read More


New Data Visualization of Poverty and Corruption in Colombia

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, December 14 2012

A new data map compares poverty rates and World Bank aid with the Colombia Transparency Index in regions across the Latin American nation. Transparency International writes that the visual correlation between these factors brings issues of corruption to the fore. Read More


Internet Freedom Dominates Debate at International Telecommunications Union Conference in Dubai

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, December 14 2012

Dr Hamadoun I. Touré, Secretary-General, ITU, speaking at the closing ceremony at WCIT 2012 (credit: ITU/Flickr)

As we reported Monday, the ITU was negotiating revisions to its 1988 international communications treaty this week in Dubai. Now controversial measures added to the treaty on the governance of the Internet have thwarted a consensus. Read More


Women Programmers Fight Sexual Harassment at India’s First All-Female Hackathon

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, December 13 2012

Bangalore was the scene of the first all-female hackathon in India this week. The event brought developers together to collaborate on humanitarian projects that could improve the lives of women across the country. Read More


Despite Some Glitches, Ghana's New Biometric Voting System Widely Viewed as a Success

BY Gabriela Barnuevo | Thursday, December 13 2012

Biometric voting machine at a Ghanaian polling station (credit: Gabriela Barnuevo)

Technology dominated Ghana's recent presidential elections, with candidates using popular social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to spread their messages. But it was the introduction of a biometric voter identification system that captured the most attention. Read More


Chinese Social Media App Poses a Threat to Activists and Authorities Alike

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, December 13 2012

The most popular new social media app in China is raising suspicions over its geolocational abilities. WeChat, a phone app that combines the functions of Skype, Twitter, and Facebook with the power to locate nearby users, has ousted traditional texting as a contact method for many young people in China. But as the Guardian reported last week, a technology that tracks its users’ movements can be dangerous: Read More


The EU’s New Digital Media Strategy Was Crowdsourced

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, December 12 2012

MEP Marietje Schaake (credit: flickr / ALDEADLE)

The EU is poised to adopt its first Digital Freedom Strategy, after a majority in the European Parliament endorsed a resolution sponsored by Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake yesterday. Read More


For Afghan Women, Bright Screens and Uncertain Futures in Mobile Learning Effort

BY Naheed Mustafa | Wednesday, December 12 2012

Literacy program for Afghan women (credit: Aga Khan Foundation/ Sandra Calligaro)

Mobile phones are in the hands of about 15 million Afghans and some 85 percent of the population lives in a part of the country with network coverage. Given high mobile penetration and low literacy levels for women, the Paiwastoon Networking Services recently developed the Ustad Mobil literacy program using $80, 000 in U.S. aid money. But while the project's initiators are no doubt well intentioned, they have not taken into account obstacles resulting from local culture and custom. Read More


Proposal to Allow Police Internet Monitoring Shot Down in UK Parliament

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, December 11 2012

Deputy PM Nick Clegg (credit: Liberal Democrats/Flickr)

The deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom is leading efforts to block a bill that would give law enforcement unmitigated monitoring of Internet use in the UK. Nick Clegg criticized the scope of the proposed Communications Data Bill, which would require ISPs to store users’ email and web browser data for up to a year and permit law enforcement agencies to access this information without permission. Read More