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WeGov

The Fingerprints of a Drone Strike

BY Rebecca Chao | Wednesday, March 19 2014

A woman works with a forensic architect in recreating the scene of a drone strike in Waziristan (Forensic Architecture)

A woman dressed in a black hijab is highlighted by the glare from a computer screen as she works with forensic architects in digitally recreating her home, the scene of a drone strike in Mir Ali, North Waziristan, Pakistan where five men, one of them her brother-in-law, were directly hit and killed on Oct. 4, 2010. This is the spot where she had laid out a rug in the courtyard, she explains, and where her guests sat one evening when the missile dove into their circle, leaving a blackened dent in the ground and scattering flesh that later, she and her husband had to pick up from off of the ground so they could bury their dead. Morbidly, the reconstruction of a drone strike is similar – the gathering of flecks of information when nothing else is available: through satellite imagery and video, the length of a building’s shadow, the pattern of shrapnel marks on a wall, and the angle of a photo, can help forensic architects determine where a missile struck and determine how it led to civilian deaths. Read More

WeGov

Has technology changed politics? One British MP says, not so much.

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, September 30 2013

Nadhim Zahawi (center) sans musical tie (Policy Exchange/flickr)

Nadhim Zahawi is no stranger to the power of the Internet. He is better known as the British MP who set off his musical tie while speaking in parliament, a moment captured on video, which received 500,000 hits. He is also the founder of YouGov, a company that conducts polls via the Internet that performed fairly well. In a talk he gave on Sept. 25th (see the full transcript here) at the British think tank, Centre for Policy Studies, Zahawi argued that while Internet technology hasn’t changed the substance of politics, it has changed the shape of it. While he spoke specifically about British politics, the points he makes is applicable to most Western governments struggling with how to engage an evermore wary public. Read More

WeGov

Entering a New Era of Open Data in the U.K.?

BY Rebecca Chao | Tuesday, September 17 2013

Not your average data catalog (dfulmer/flickr)

The U.K. government, last week, began releasing its inventory of hitherto "unpublished" data on data.gov.uk while also allowing users to comment on the quality and content of the data. Is the U.K. onto something new or is it some of the same old? Read More

WeGov

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

U.S.'s Noveck to Help Open British Government

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, May 16 2011

Photo credit: Joi Ito Beth Noveck, until January the Obama administration's point person on open government, has been recruited to the British government to help in its "open-source policy making" efforts, ... Read More

In the Future, Will 'Big Brother' Watch You, Or Will Your Neighbors?

BY Nick Judd | Monday, November 15 2010

A recent report to British Parliament found an increasing trend towards crowdsourced surveillance — in which monitoring of cameras in public spaces is left to the crowd crowd. Photo: Zigazou / Flickr The city of ... Read More

Britain Experiments with a Language-Based Data.gov

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, November 11 2009

You can teach an old country new tricks, it seems. The United Kingdom is in the final stages of releasing Data.gov.uk, shamelessly modeled off of the Data.gov hub built under the leadership of Vivek Kundra, CIO of this ... Read More

Membership Data Becomes Newest Weapon Against Britain's Far-Right BNP

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, October 21 2009

Why might the British National Party not exactly be thrilled that its membership list was revealed to all the world on Wikileaks, that online clearinghouse of sneaky bits created by Chinese dissidents and geared towards ... Read More