Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >
WeGov

Capture the Ocean: Paving the Way for a "Lean Data" Future

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, March 28 2014

Moonjazz / Flickr

“One of the things I would say to a large company,” began one comment from Edward Snowden at SXSW earlier this month, “is not that you can’t collect any data; it is that you should only collect the data and hold it for as long as necessary for the operation of the business.” A new research project called Capture the Ocean hopes to make business models like the one described by Snowden possible by identifying, explaining and comparing global laws regulating data collection, use and retention.

Read More

#PDF14 Speaker Preview: An Interview With An Xiao Mina

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 27 2014

Starting today, we're going to be running short interviews of many of the great speakers coming to Personal Democracy Forum 2014, conducted by our terrific new conference coordinator Sonia Roubini. First up, An Xiao Mina, who first appeared at PDF 2012 and who will be giving a main hall talk. She is also helping us curate a breakout panel focused on how organizers make the move from political memes to movements. Read More

WeGov

TRAC FM Stirs Debate in Uganda By Merging Radio and Data

BY Erin Byrnes | Wednesday, January 29 2014

A radio presenter using the TRAC FM online platform (credit: TRAC FM)

Margaret Caroline Adong, 33, doesn’t own a smartphone or have access to the Internet where she lives in the Serere district in rural Uganda but she does participate in every TRAC FM poll that she hears over the radio or receives a text about. This SMS-based polling platform facilitates citizen engagement with interactive radio programs in Uganda through data collection and a radio broadcast of the mapped poll results. Read More

WeGov

Can Facebook Zero Aid Development Work in Africa?

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, October 28 2013

Usha Venkatachallam, founder of a technology consulting company, divides her time between Washington, D.C. and Coimbatore, India, but the global nature of her development work has recently led her to Uganda where she is working on creating a digital health platform in Apac, a remote rural area of the country. Part of the project will utilize Facebook Zero, which Venkatachallam says will prove useful for engaging users in “resource constrained environments.” Read More

WeGov

Making All Voices Count: Getting Governments to Respond to Citizen Feedback

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, October 2 2013

Government transparency and civic engagement are all well and good, of course, but it's only when governments respond to citizen feedback that palpable change can take place in societies. That is the driving idea behind Making All Voices Count, an initiative backed by a consortium of civil society organizations which will provide funding for projects tackling “citizen action and government responsiveness" in order to "close the feedback loop." This initiative will pack a punch: they have $45 million bucks behind them. They are soliciting the first round of proposals now, due by November 8, so we contacted director Marjan Besuijen to learn more.

Read More

WeGov

Ugandan Program to Promote Safe Sex Makes Things Worse

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 1 2013

Even after Google told them to, some Ugandans did not want to wrap it up (robertelyov/Flickr)

A mobile health initiative meant to encourage safe sex practices in Uganda failed to effect positive change. In fact, researchers found it made the community, on average, even more promiscuous. Read More

WeGov

New Web Platform Allows Students in Kenya, Uganda to Report Corrupt Professors

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, May 6 2013

Screengrab from Notinmycountry.org

Students in Kenyan and Ugandan universities now have an outlet to anonymously report professors and university personnel for corrupt activities or ineffective and lazy work. Read More

WeGov

For Kenyans Living Abroad, Election Season Brings Frustrations

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, February 14 2013

The first Kenyan presidential debate was held on Monday, February 11 in Nairobi (YouTube screenshot)

Kenya’s first-ever presidential debate reached a worldwide audience on Monday night, nearly eclipsing the Pope’s resignation as top Twitter trend as eight candidates for the country’s highest office addressed key issues at stake in the March 4 election. Among the most active participants in the online discussion were members of the 3.5 million-strong Kenyan diaspora. For Kenyans living abroad, the success of the debate is a point of great pride.  Yet as election season progresses, many diasporans remain frustrated at not having a voice in the political process – even as their activism benefits Kenyans at home. 

Read More

WeGov

Weekly Global Readings: Creativity

BY Lisa Goldman and Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, January 23 2013

This week's theme is "creativity," whether it be photos of graffiti by Syrian anti-regime activists or a social media platform that fosters creativity and collaboration between young Indians. Read More

WeGov

Abayima Makes SIM Cards Into E-Readers to Combat Information Blackouts

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 22 2013

Over the past decade, mobile tech has grown into a dominant force in journalism, activism, and revolution across the globe. Yet one organization is going lo-tech to get information in the hands of the people – by transforming basic cellular phones into e-readers loaded with news that might be otherwise censored by the government. 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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

More