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First POST: Losses

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, February 13 2015

Why so many media folks are mourning David Carr's death; what to make of Jeb Bush's tech stumbles; more pushback on 'sharing economy' companies Uber, Lyft and Waze; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Stalking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 27 2015

How the DEA tracks millions of America motorists; will the Senate enter the 21st century?; Obama veteran Jeremy Bird's role in the upcoming Israeli election; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Uber Falles

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, November 18 2014

Uber exposed for plan to dig up dirt on journalist critics; sneaking a SOPA provision into the USA Freedom Act; high-speed free WiFi coming to NYC; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Reminders

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, October 22 2014

Why the RNC hasn't managed to reboot how Republican campaigns use voter data; new ways of using phone banking to get out the vote; how the UK's digital director is still ahead of the e-govt curve; and much, much more. Read More

Civic Tech and Engagement: With Waze, Who's in the Driver's Seat?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 21 2014

Screenshot of Waze.com's live map for Rio de Janeiro

Can you be a "connected citizen" if you don't know that you are connected to government? That's the question that's been on my mind since Waze, the crowdsourced traffic data company recently acquired by Google, announced a major new partnership with ten local cities and governments around the world called "Connected Citizens." Under this program, Waze will be giving city, state and county authorities like the New York Police Department and Rio de Janiero's Operations Center real-time traffic incident data (aggregated and anonymized) and in turn getting timely and relevant data from the authorities about scheduled events (construction, marathons and the like) that can also cause traffic problems. Since the program's announcement, dozens more governments have been applying to join in. At first glance, this can only be seen as a net plus good where everyone wins. But upon further inspection, Waze's new "Connected Citizens" program can teach us a lot about the potential, and limits, of tech-empowered civic engagement when the users aren't really in the driver's seat (pun intended). Read More

First POST: First They Came For the Muslims

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, July 9 2014

The Intercept details NSA and FBI surveillance of Muslim-American civic leaders; Om Malik urges Google and Facebook to take their big data responsibilities more seriously; the New York Public Library attacks the digital divide; and much, much more. Read More

New Knight Report Maps Growing Civic Tech Ecosystem

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, December 4 2013

Investor networks in civic tech, per Knight Foundation report

The Knight Foundation has released a fascinating and valuable, if incomplete, report on "The Emergence of Civic Tech: Investments in a Growing Field." It's the first major effort I've seen to define and map this growing space, and covers 209 companies that have received funding since 2011 in its purview. Read More

Book Review: What Code for America Has, and Hasn't, Learned About Getting "Beyond Transparency"

BY Susannah Vila | Monday, November 18 2013

Code for America recently published a book of case studies written by members of its network. While it’s called Beyond Transparency: Open Data and the Future of Civic Innovation, its biggest value lies not in futurism but in the book's descriptions of the lessons learned by people working on open data releases in U.S. cities over the course of the past few years. Many of these examples could help local-level reformers now - both in the U.S. and overseas. And they also show that there's still a lot of hard work to be done moving from making civic data accessible to users, to actually getting people to use it. Read More

First POST: Hearing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 27 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: What Dianne Feinstein doesn't understand about metadata and surveillance; ActBlue's new one-click fundraising tool; Josh Marshall's college days with Ted Cruz; and much, much more. Read More

San Francisco Hackathon To Focus On Improving Public Transportation

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, October 5 2012

San Francisco is a laggard in the field of public transportation when compared to many other big cities of the world. Unlike Hong Kong, London or New York City, it's often not possible to take a bus or subway to get ... Read More