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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

Russia to Restrict Access to Public Free WiFi

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, October 5 2012

In its latest move to control Internet access, the Russian government plans to put into effect a law that will restrict minors from accessing public, free WiFi. Read More

WeGov

Putin Expels USAID; Organization Contributed to Russian NGO that Mapped Electoral Balloting Irregularities

BY Natalia Antonova | Friday, October 5 2012

Screenshot from the Golos election mapping site

The Russian government booted USAID out of the country following accusations that the well known aid agency had been "meddling in internal affairs," as Vladimir Putin put it. He was referring to Golos, a group that mapped balloting fraud in the Russian election. A Russian journalist provides the background and some valuable insight into the circumstances surrounding this incident. Read More

WeGov

Phone App Helps Locate People in Disaster Zones

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, October 4 2012

Image from Earthquake Buddy

An Australian mobile phone app developer has produced Earthquake Buddy, which allows users to track down their loved ones when conventional communications break down in a disaster zone. Read More

WeGov

Indian Gov't to Distribute Low Cost Android Tablets to Millions of Schoolchildren

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, October 4 2012

Screenshot from Aakash website.

The Indian government is rolling out the distribution of millions of small, affordable Android Tablets for Indian schoolchildren. Read More

WeGov

Investing in "Crazy" Innovative Ideas to Promote Global Transparency and Accountability

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, October 3 2012

Global Integrity, a Washington, DC-based NGO that works for government transparency and accountability launched two major new initiatives this week — a hub for like-minded NGOs and an innovation fund that provides grants for projects that promote transparency and fight corruption. Read More

WeGov

The OGP at Year One: Off the Ground - So Where Next?

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, October 3 2012

In some ways the OGP is like the infamous Spruce Goose: a plane so innovative and big, it was unclear if it could fly while carrying the large and diverse payload it was designed to hold. Thus having generated an international conversation (and sought to spur dozens of domestic conversations) about technology, transparency, openness and engagement can the OGP serve as a vehicle that can simultaneously satisfy the interest of all its stakeholders. Having managed to get this large organization off the ground, can the OGP pilot itself somewhere useful, while keeping its various stakeholders onboard? Read More

WeGov

Jordan's Flourishing IT Economy Could Falter With Passing of New Media Law

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, October 2 2012

Jordan's parliament has passed controversial legislation that would give the government sweeping powers to censor and block online content. Jordan is a regional IT innovation hub that has benefited from the small kingdom's political moderation and free Internet. But the new law could undermine both the innovation sector and online freedom of expression. Read More

WeGov

In Wake of Public Outcry, Iran Lifts "Indefinite" Block on Gmail After One Week

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, October 1 2012

One week after announcing that access to Gmail and Google search would be blocked indefinitely in the Islamic Regime of Iran, regime officials restored access to the popular online platforms while claiming that they had unintentionally blocked them while trying to filter the crude anti-Islam film, "Innocence of the Muslims." Meanwhile, the Ministry of Telecommunications launched its own official email service, which requires users to register. Read More

WeGov

In Finland, "Open Ministry" Brings Legislation From the Crowd

BY Antonella Napolitano | Friday, September 28 2012

Tech entrepreneurs in Finland have created Open Ministry, an open-source platform for citizens to discuss proposals and collect the necessary signatures online. Read More

WeGov

What and Where of Chinese Factory Riots Reported on Social Media, But What Of Why and Who?

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, September 27 2012

When workers rioted at Foxconn, the largest electronics manufacturing factory in China, the story was broken on social media with images of smashed cars and confrontations between workers and riot police. But when journalists tried to corroborate the story, they were unable to obtain first-hand information or even a measure of clarity. Read More

WeGov

Graphic Map Shows Disappeared Mexican Journalists as Anti-Corruption Blogger 5algado is Still Missing

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, September 25 2012

An infographic and map produced by freedom of speech and information advocates Articulo 19 present a grim picture of murdered and disappeared Mexican journalists. Meanwhile nothing has been heard about the anti-corruption blogger Ruy Salgado (@el5anto), who went missing three weeks ago. Read More

WeGov

Vietnamese Dissident Bloggers Handed Heavy Jail Sentences

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, September 24 2012

Vietnam has sentenced three dissident political bloggers to harsh jail sentences, reports Reporters Without Borders. Read More

WeGov

Africa in Flux: How Urbanization and Digital Technology are Changing a Continent

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, September 24 2012

SMS in Kampala, Ungada (photo: Future Atlas/Flickr )

A new report details the ways in which urbanization and mobile technology are driving profound change in Africa. Read More

WeGov

In Thailand, Apps to Track Risks of Flood

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, September 24 2012

The Thai government has launched an iPad and iPhone app that tracks and updates constantly with information about rainfall and flooding in the country. The apps, called Water4Thai, include information in both English and Thai; they can be downloaded for free from the iTunes store. Read More

WeGov

How to Score Politicians Without Turning Parliament Into a Game

BY David Eaves | Friday, September 21 2012

There is no "right" way to assess the performance of parliamentarians. There is no algorithm that will rank them perfectly, no set of stats that will objectively determine their effectiveness. The problem with parliamentary monitoring websites like NosDéputés, TheyWorkForYou or even OpenCongress is not that they don't measure performance the right way, the problem is that they are the only websites in their respective countries really measuring performance at all. Should the public care how many questions their representatives ask in parliament? Maybe. Maybe not. But if you had a number of sites comparing parliamentarians performance you'd find out pretty fast what the public did care about. And frankly, I could care less if it made parliament more or less effective for the sitting government. Read More

WeGov

Interactive Map Tracks Defections of High Ranking Syrians

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, September 20 2012

Screenshot of Aljazeera's interactive map of Syrian defections.

As Syria's civil war rages on, with no end in sight, defections of high ranking citizens — government officials and arm officers — continues. An interactive map produced by Aljazeera English tracks the defections, provides context and details. It's an excellent resource for Syria watchers. Read More

WeGov

[OP-ED] Are Innovation Hubs the Future of Open Government In Africa?

BY Chris R. Albon | Tuesday, September 18 2012

Members of Accadius, a project at the iHub in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: Courtesy of Juliana Rotich

Set alongside one Nairobi’s main roadways, the Bishop Magua Centre looks on the exterior no different than any other mid-rise office building. However, inside its drab khaki walls are some of the most innovative technology projects in Africa. Why this building? Because the Bishop Magua Centre’s fourth floor is home to what has been named the “unofficial headquarters of Kenya’s tech movement,” less grandiosely called the iHub. More than simply a space to build the next Instagram, these hubs could be home to the next wave of open government innovation in Africa. Read More

WeGov

A Prominent Mexican Anti-Corruption Blogger Has Gone Missing

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, September 17 2012

A prominent Mexican anti-corruption blogger named Ruy Salgado, a.k.a. "el5anto," has been missing since September 8. His colleagues at El5antuario.org, the blog he founded, have started a campaign to have him found. Mexico is particularly hostil to journalists and to freedom of the press, with 85 journalists killed and another 15 missing over the past decade alone. Read More

WeGov

Tunisia Announces Intention to End Internet Censorship

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, September 13 2012

Nearly two years after the ousting of long-time authoritarian leader Ben Ali, Tunisia has announced that Internet censorship will be lifted. Under Ben Ali, Tunisia was classified by Reporters Without Borders as an Enemy of the Internet. Many restrictions have been eased since the revolution, but there are signs that the government has not really stopped snooping. Read More

WeGov

NGO Project Will Allow Local Gov't to Use Voice Recognition Instead of Transcribers

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, September 13 2012

mySociety, the U.K. transparency NGO, is developing software that would allow cash-strapped local governments to keep and transcribe minutes of their meetings using voice-activated technology. Read More