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Transparency Optional? Try Poderopedia

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, February 21 2014

Transparency is important (Seth Thomas Rasmussen/Flickr)

In many parts of the world, political transparency is still considered to be optional. Take Panama, for example, where political candidates are not required to declare assets, sources of funding or potential conflicts of interest. This puts the onus of discovery and exposure on the public. However, before Panama voters head to the polls in May they can check a Poderopedia-powered platform chock full of vital information crowdsourced (and verified) by journalists and citizens. The project is called “Cuida Tu Voto” (“Watch Your Vote”) and launched in Panama City earlier this week.

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For Presidential Election Commission, Long Lines at Polls Are a Technology and Data Problem

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, January 29 2014

Election Resource Calculator

In his State of the Union speech last night, President Obama praised the work of his bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Administration, emphasizing that it "has offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote." On Election Night 2012, noting that many had "waited in line for a very long time," he emphasized "we have to fix that." With its report published last week, the commission outlines how the widespread ground-level adoption of new innovative election technology is directly tied to shorter lines at the polls. Read More

WeGov

Good Faith Efforts To Improve Democracy in Indonesia?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, January 24 2014

Photo: Flickr/KCIvey

Democracy in Indonesia has two things going for it this year—a new organization called Ayo Vote, which hopes to mobilize young people and get them to the polls, and a government sponsored website where voters can peruse the CVs of their potential representation.

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Voting Information Project Automation Effort Draws on State Innovation

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, January 17 2014

The Voting Information Project announced this week it would be providing general election data for all fifty states and Washington D.C and primary election data in selected states this year, as it works on automating the process in the future. Read More

New York City Council Members Consider Internet Voting and Free Airport WiFi

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, December 19 2013

Even as the Presidential Commission on Election Administration is still considering improvements to the U.S. election system, politicians on the local level are also looking at ways to address voting problems that came up in recent elections. The New York City Council Technology and Government Operations Committees on Wednesday held a hearing to consider the "Promise and Perils of Internet Voting" in municipal elections. Read More

Survey Finds Young People Disapproving of Obama, Conflicted over Snowden

BY Miranda Neubauer | Wednesday, December 4 2013

A majority of young people 18 to 29 disapprove of President Obama, Congress and the Affordable Health Care Act, according to the new fall survey from Harvard University's Institute of Politics, which also found mixed opinions about how young people viewed Edward Snowden and government collection of personal digital information for security purposes. While three out of four respondents said they did not consider themselves politically engaged or active, an analysis of the data found a correlation of between political engagement and a higher number of social media accounts. Read More

WeGov

Italy, a Test Lab for Participatory Democracy

BY Carola Frediani | Wednesday, November 6 2013

Beppe Grillo Rallying the Crowd at Piazza Dante in Naples. (Avanguardie.info Web Magazine/flickr)

Online platforms for participatory democracy are flourishing in Italy and they are being initiated by civil society and local governments alike. Some of these tools are limited to 'social reporting,' where citizens are asked to recount problems and disruptions; others strive for empowering people with some sort of liquid democracy that allows people to debate and even propose legislation. But all of these platforms grew out of a deep dissatisfaction toward Italian politics and politicians. Now, a variety of tools to enable bottom-up decision making are being tested by local municipalities in Italy and being developed by small groups of volunteers. 
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First POST: The 16-Year-Old Vote

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 5 2013

Some pesky petitions that the White House still hasn't responded to; more evidence of the NSA's violation of Google's and Yahoo's data networks; the new book on Jeff Bezos gets reviewed by his wife MacKenzie Bezos, on Amazon; and much, much more. Read More

New York City Looks to Technology to Grow Voter Turnout

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, August 9 2013

(NYCCFB/Facebook)

Even though New Yorkers will have to vote with old-fashioned lever machines in the September primary elections, New York campaign finance officials and candidates are looking to 21st century technology to try and encourage voter participation and interest, especially among younger voters. Read More

First POST: Nihilists

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, August 8 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The latest twists in the NSA scandal, advice for Republican would-be techies and wannabe innovative cities; why Samantha Power will break our hearts; and much, much more from around the web. 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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