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WeGov

The Future of Election Monitoring

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, December 13 2013

What does an algorithm know about the difference between tamales and Tamale, Ghana? (Flickr/fcastellanos)

The Social Media Tracking Centre (SMTC) is an election monitoring process that pulls in information from multiple data streams—Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and blogs and websites—and can be used to generate visualizations and other analytics. It was first launched to monitor Nigeria's elections in April 2011, and then subsequently used in Liberia, Ghana and Kenya.

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WeGov

Social Change Is What Happens When You're Busy Making Other Plans

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, November 19 2013

Cover image courtesy of Ken Banks

During his time as a fellow at Stanford University in 2007, Ken Banks noticed a growing number of students going to school to study social innovation and social entrepreneurship. “Then they leave the gates of the building and go 'Right, what can I fix?'”

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First POST: The Clash

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, September 30 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: As Congress goes over the cliff, is it time for a clean slate?; Is the NSA mapping your social network?; a new sharing company built that connects cooks to hungry city dwellers is taking off in Athens; and much, much more. Read More

WeGov

Mostly Thumbs Up for Uchaguzi Election Monitoring in Kenya

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, July 12 2013

Uchaguzi election monitoring map of the "POSITIVE EVENTS" that were reported

To ensure a fair and free, nonviolent election in Kenya earlier this year, the non-profit tech company Ushahidi launched an election monitoring platform called Uchaguzi. This month iHub Research released a report based on a six month long assessment of the use of Uchaguzi in Kenya this year. The review was performed in order to assess scalability, replicability and long term sustainability.

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WeGov

Bulgaria Employs Online Tools to Ensure Safe and Fair Elections

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, May 9 2013

Bokyo Borisov after his resignation via Wikipedia

While some activists threaten violence in the run up to Bulgaria’s upcoming election on May 12, others have created online tools to help inform voters and safeguard the electoral process.

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WeGov

Internet You Can Actually Stick in a Suitcase

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, May 7 2013

Erik Hersman, aka @whiteafrican, in a Brck video screengrab

More than six months after Hurricane Sandy knocked Verizon’s landlines and Internet service out of commission, there are New Yorkers still waiting for their Internet to come back online. While a rarity in the States, unreliable access is not so uncommon in developing countries. A new device from Ushahidi hopes to solve that problem. Read More

WeGov

Mapping Violence Against Journalists, Social Media Users and Bloggers in Mexico

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 3 2013

Screengrab from crowdsourced map

In a country where 87 journalists have been killed and 17 have disappeared since 2000, a new crowdsourced map offers a safe way to report and record attacks against journalists, bloggers, Facebook and Twitter users. A combined effort between Freedom House and the International Center for Journalists, as of May 3 the map already had 48 reports. Reports included physical, judicial, psychological and digital attacks.

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WeGov

In Syria, Can Crowdmapping Technology Help Women Under Siege Find Justice?

BY Anna Therese Day | Tuesday, February 26 2013

Screenshot from Women Under Siege: Syria.

Human rights organizers utilize crowdmapping technology for the first time in history to document sexualized violence in Syria’s ongoing war. Read More

WeGov

Can Technology and "Testimony" Prevent Violence in Kenyan Elections?

BY Sara Jerving | Wednesday, February 6 2013

Kenya's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) campaigning in Kibera (credit: Sara Jerving)

Community organizers, activists and civil society workers are hoping a mix of technology and on-the-ground organizing can stave off political violence around Kenya's upcoming elections. Read More

WeGov

For Recovering Liberia, Tech Hub a High-Speed Link to a Digital Future

BY Tamasin Ford | Tuesday, January 22 2013

Graduates of a course for women at iLab Liberia (image: iLab Liberia)

Struggling to recover from a devastating civil war, few Liberians have access to computers or even electricity. In the capital city of Monrovia, an Ushahidi initiative called iLab Liberia is an oasis where instructors teach courses in everything from basic computer skills to programming languages. 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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