You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Checking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, March 20 2015

US pressures Germany to not offer asylum to Snowden; study shows the extent to which political advertising overshadows political news coverage; new site gives a minute-by-minute breakdown of most popular US gov't websites; Upworthy co-founder apologizes for breaking the Internet; and much, much, more. Read More

With Quorum, See What (and Who) Makes Congress Tick

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, March 5 2015

(Wikipedia)

Trying to influence Congress is hard work. You have to know who cares about what issues so you approach the right people. It also helps to know who has the power to actually make waves so you don't waste your time with ineffective members. In January, two Harvard seniors launched an online platform called Quorum that does the bulk of that work automatically, using a number of public data sources.

Read More

On Jackie Robinson West and Coming to Terms With the Use (or Misuse) of Public Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, February 13 2015

These are boundaries in Chicago. (urbanoasis.org)

Earlier this week a Little League baseball team was stripped of their championship title because of a whistleblower. That is what Chris Janes is: a concerned citizen who perceived an injustice and acted accordingly, trawling through public records until he had the evidence to take to the appropriate authorities. So why does his triumph make people feel so bad?

Read More

In Brooklyn, Testing a Texting Platform That Connects Locals, Representatives & Community Leaders

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 14 2014

The neighborhoods in Brooklyn where Heartgov is being tested.

Civic engagement shouldn't be a one way street. In New York City, for example, you can text 311 to report something like a pot hole, but what if you wanted to start a dialogue about charter schools in your neighborhood? The information hotline wasn't built to handle conversations like that, but a new text message-based platform called HeartGov is.

Read More

Libraries Hope to Help Close the Digital Divide by Lending WiFi Hotspots

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, June 27 2014

Computers for public use at the New York Public Library (Wikipedia)

Two plans to begin lending portable WiFi hotspots to underserved communities were among the winning projects of the Knight News Challenge to strengthen the Internet for free expression and innovation. Although the mechanics of the Chicago Public Library and New York Public Library initiatives are unique, the goal—to expand Internet access and promote digital literacy—are the same. Since the target demographic for these projects are underserved, often poor communities, the libraries will have to be careful to not infringe on users' privacy or digital freedoms in order to demonstrate the success of the projects.

Read More

[Transcript] Surveillance and Its Discontents: A Conversation Across Cyberspace with Edward Snowden and John Perry Barlow

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, June 12 2014

John Perry Barlow and Edward Snowden at PDF14 (Photo: Doc Searls/Flickr)

A full transcript of the Personal Democracy Forum 2014 keynote, Surveillance and its Discontents: A Conversation Across Cyberspace, with Edward Snowden and John Perry Barlow Read More

Where the White House "Big Data" Report Falls Short

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, May 6 2014

Big data by Gerd Leonhard

The White House released its report on big data Friday to general approval from civil rights advocates for its acknowledgement of the dangers of discrimination through new ways of manipulating, combining and analyzing personal data. However, a number of concerns remain: that the report was too starry-eyed about big data; that the report gave preference to industry stakeholders rather than citizen consumers; and that its policy recommendations were not forceful enough.

Read More

WeGov

A First: Reporters Without Borders Declares UK, US “Enemies of the Internet”

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, March 17 2014

Screenshot of a graphic from the Reporters Without Borders report

It's official: the surveillance activities of the NSA and the GCHQ have earned the United Kingdom and the United States a new title: “Enemy of the Internet.” They share the honor with the likes of China, Cuba, Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Syria, among others.

Read More

What We Really (Should) Talk About When We Talk About Big Data

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, March 7 2014

Corporations don't need census data to guess your race & use it against you (Wikipedia)

Discrimination. Redlining. Racial profiling. These practices predate the Internet, and yet there is every indication that technology can enable infringements on civil rights to an even greater extent than before. Last week, in an effort to put civil rights at the forefront of the ongoing debate about digital privacy and security, a coalition of civil and human rights organizations jointly released “Civil Rights Principles for the Era of Big Data,” five tenets to guide policy-making.

Read More

The Day We - But Not Wikipedia - Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, February 11 2014

Screen shot of the defunct Wikipedia planning page for The Day We Fight Back

Drop by the Wikipedia main page today and you will find a featured article on the constellation Perseus. Conspicuously absent is The Day We Fight Back banner so many other websites like reddit, Boing Boing, and Upworthy are flying. Nor did they set Edward Snowden as the featured article, as someone suggested in a thread on what, if any, action should be taken today. Although it was discussed in multiple Wikipedia forums, no consensus was ever reached, and so Wikipedia is sitting this one out.

Read More