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WeGov

With Open Data, The Transparency Medium Can Matter As Much as the Message

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, January 30 2013

This is going to sound crazy, but bear with me: Transparency matters, even when no one seems to be watching. Read More

WeGov

Israel Has Two Pirate Parties That Hate Each Other

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, January 30 2013

In a 21st century digital echo of Monty Python's Life of Brian, Israel, a country of just over 7 million, has two Pirate Parties. One is called Pirate Party Israel and the other the Israel Pirate Party. Neither party recognizes the legitimacy of the other; nor do their founders have anything positive to say about one another. Read More

WeGov

Blank Spot No More: North Korea Now Visible on Google Maps, Via Volunteer Cartographers

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 29 2013

A view of downtown Pyongyang, via Google Maps.

Three weeks after Eric Schmidt’s visit, Google has made its first inroads in North Korea — at least virtually. The once-blank spot occupied by the country on Google Maps has been revised to include a wealth of geographic and locational detail. Read More

In Uruguay, Quesabes.org Helps Citizens Use Their Right to Open Government

BY Elena Casas-Montanez | Tuesday, January 29 2013

Screenshot from Quesabes.org

When Uruguay passed a freedom of information law in October 2008, international watchdogs applauded. The country of just 3 million people, squeezed in between Argentina and Brazil, became a regional leader in freedom of information. Citizens could access nearly any piece information held by the government, with exceptions for issues like national security. There was just one problem — nobody was actually using their rights under the law. That's where www.quesabes.org came in. Read More

WeGov

Idle No More, a Canadian Social Justice Movement, Goes Viral On and Offline

BY Elisabeth Fraser | Friday, January 25 2013

Idle No More demonstration in Washington, D.C. (credit: Jonathon Reed/Flickr )

A new social justice movement has sprung up in Canada and is spreading throughout North America. Some call Idle No More, which started with aboriginals protesting government budget cuts to environmental issues, the new Occupy. With high visibility on social media and a viral hashtag, Idle No More has achieved wide public awareness. But critics fear the movement has undermined its potential by straying too far from its original mandate. Read More

WeGov

Nonprofits Should Share Their Data, Too

BY David Eaves | Thursday, January 24 2013

Whenever I'm at a hackathon — or any discussion about open data, really — I'm always disappointed to see that there are few people there from the non-profit sector. Obviously this is a sector with limited resources and capacity, but not without a history of effective open data use. For example, some nonprofits — particularly those that provide housing for the elderly, or engage in advocacy around homelessness — are big consumers of census data as it helps them either plan or spot longer term trends that impact their core issues. Such analysis can help ensure scarce resources are allocated more effectively, enhancing the organization's impact. But there's more that nonprofits could be doing. Rather than just use data others create, shouldn't more nonprofits be sharing their data for like-minded organizations to re-use? Read More

WeGov

Weekly Global Readings: Creativity

BY Lisa Goldman and Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, January 23 2013

This week's theme is "creativity," whether it be photos of graffiti by Syrian anti-regime activists or a social media platform that fosters creativity and collaboration between young Indians. Read More

WeGov

After the Hype, What's Next for the German Pirate Party?

BY Jon Worth | Friday, January 18 2013

German Pirate Party supporters at 2009 demonstration (credit: Piraten/Flickr)

The German Pirate Party's poll numbers have declined significantly since the early days. This is partly due to infighting, but analysts believe the party still has an opportunity to get its act together and make an impact in the upcoming elections. Read More

WeGov

Two Indian States Launch Government Portals for Mobile Phones

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 18 2013

Public services in Kerala state, with their SMS codes.

As mobile saturation transforms and connects the country, Indian states are making strides with mobile-accessible portals for civic services and information. Read More

WeGov

Weekly Global Readings: Wellbeing

BY Lisa Goldman and Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, January 16 2013

The theme for this week's global readings is wellbeing. In China, cartoonists use social media as a platform for cartoons lampooning state censorship, evoking the old line about laughter being the best medicine. In Kenya, smartphone users can access healthcare services via a phone app. And in the Netherlands, a human rights organization is launching a campaign to show bloggers how to protect themselves. Read More