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 thursday >

NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

monday >

Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

GO

More