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

First POST: Signals

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, July 18 2014

FCC in the cross-hairs on net neutrality and local broadband pre-emption; the political mood at Netroots Nation; how an Israeli rocket-alert app affects perceptions of the conflict with Gaza; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

[Op-Ed] Tech, Democracy and USAID

BY Katrin Verclas | Thursday, April 10 2014

Among a myriad of controversies surrounding ZunZuneo is the illicit collection of millions of cell phone numbers (teleyradio)

There has been much debate about the ill-fated "Cuban Twitter" program funded by USAID, the US development agency, and administered by Beltway contractors Creative Associates and MobileAccord. While "Cuban Twitter" was indeed completely mismanaged, USAID is involved in a myriad of other projects that are supporting democracy efforts, citizen oversight over institutions, political party development, and fair elections. Many of these purport to have a technology component as well. So how do they fare? Read More

First POST: Cockamamie and Catastrophic

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, April 9 2014

More fallout from the "Cuban Twitter" misfire; Snowden explains how he is not like Assange; the benefits of open data; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Stunts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 8 2014

USAID pushes back in defense of ZunZeneo; Indian candidate copies from Obama data playbook; cities from Boston to Philly to San Francisco roll with the web; and much much more. Read More

First POST: USAID's Exploding Cigar

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 7 2014

Why ZunZeneo, the "Cuban Twitter" funded by USAID, was such a bad idea; some hard questions about the Comcast-TimeWarner merger; tech's "man problem"; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: The Problem with ZunZuneo and "Cuban Twitter"

BY Anne Nelson | Monday, April 7 2014

Rock painting of the "Cuban Five" (Photo copyright: Anne Nelson, 2013)

On April 3, the AP broke the story of ZunZuneo, a USAID-funded text messaging service in Cuba designed to circumvent government censorship and build a platform for dissent. Latin America expert and new media scholar Anne Nelson explains why the covert project was such a bad idea. Read More

WeGov

Mobile App Helps El Salvador's Police Combat Sky-High Homicide Rates

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, July 2 2013

The El Salvadorian government has partnered with USAID and Qualcomm to give police officers crime fighting tools on their mobile phones. The program, called Seguridad Inalambrica (Wireless Security) was first tested in Santa Tecla. In September 2012 the program entered phase two and was expanded to cover other municipalities in the San Salvador metropolitan area. In June, a USAID representative spoke to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs about the reduction of crime in Central America and the Caribbean and mentioned the El Salvador program as one they hope to expand to cover other regions.

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

Obama Administration Looking To Award Prize Money For Ideas On Preventing Mass Atrocities

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, April 23 2012

An exhumed mass grave outside of Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 2007. Photo: Adam Jones

The Obama administration on Monday issued a call to the public to come up with creative ideas for tracking and preventing mass genocide and other atrocities in countries across the globe. The call is part of the Administration's new campaign against mass atrocities, and involves $600,000 in prize money that will come from USAID and The Omidyar Group's Humanity United foundation. Read More

Tech-Savvy FCC Managing Director Wraps Up Stint, Heads to USAID

BY Nancy Scola | Thursday, June 9 2011

Steve VanRoekel Today's the last day in the office for Steve VanRoekel, the managing director of the Federal Communications Commission. Appointed by FCC chair Julius Genachowski, during his two year stint VanRoekel ... Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

GO

thursday >

NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

GO

More