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This Is What Happens When You Talk Too Loudly on the Acela While Briefing a Reporter "On Background"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 24 2013

Tom Matzzie, a former online organizer for MoveOn.org, the Kerry 2004 presidential campaign, and the AFL-CIO, happened to be on the Acela this afternoon when he overheard Michael Hayden, the former director of the National Security Agency, talking to a reporter on his cell phone. He started tweeting. And this is what followed. Read More

First POST: Touchy

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 24 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:The NSA scandal is having repercussions now in Germany; How to successfully launched a government website; Why "big government" can't be agile; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Surging

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 21 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Will a "tech surge" of the "best and brightest" save HealthCare.gov?: FWD.us holding a hackathon to build engagement tools to help win the immigration reform fight; David Carr's chat with Pierre Omidyar; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Kludgeocracy

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 17 2013

Some shocking remarks from a top Silicon Valley VC about the government shutdown; more details on Pierre Omidyar's new online journalism endeavor with Glenn Greenwald; Code for America is thinking about how to help cities go "beyond transparency"; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Harvesting

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 15 2013

Lost your address book? No worries, the NSA probably has it; Ezra Klein raps the failures of HealthCare.gov; Why Jack Dorsey's mother loves Twitter; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

It's Not New, But "Twiplomacy" Is Increasingly Refined

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, October 11 2013

"Real-time fire hose" (Wikipedia)

Oh, the things you can read on “that real-time fire hose of public opinion known as Twitter,” as the New York Times so aptly called it.

During the United Nations General Assembly meeting that took place in the last few weeks, it was the place to go for progress reports on negotiations over Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons. It was also where the president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, announced his “historic” phone call with Barack Obama, the first exchange of its kind between the United States and Iran in more than 30 years.

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First POST: Root Causes

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 10 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus: Just how far has the Obama administration strayed from its promise to be the most open and transparent in history?; how government procurement practices led to the HealthCare.gov mess; Ari Fleischer's Twitter meltdown; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Counting

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 9 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:The latest details on the health care exchange signups (and problems); a new tech advocacy group launches; Nick Bilton's forthcoming book on Twitter gives the unvarnished version of its founding; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Sabotage

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 8 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The latest explanations for HealthCare.gov's troubled start; why journalists need to reverse engineer algorithms; how fact-checking sites may be improving the behavior of politicians; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Losers

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, October 4 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:: The secret list where Ted Cruz plots strategy; The American Prospect gives Jim Gilliam a full-length feature profile; Bitly shares real-data traffic data for the top 40 media sites in the US; and much, much more. Read More

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

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wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

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The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

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tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

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Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

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monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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