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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

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.

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tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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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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