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WeGov

Rethinking Government Services Online

BY David Eaves | Tuesday, November 6 2012

Governments have been talking about how they will deliver services online for over two decades. (Anyone up for some e-government?) The sad truth is, at the national level, few users of online government services believe governments have succeeded - most citizens' experience with government websites are marked with frustration, a sense of loathing, and pretty much the opposite of whatever we imagined e-government would be. But there are three reasons why I waded through not one, but three lengthy UK reports about its vision, and now believe that if you care about government services online or better still, advise a government, there are some things worth knowing about the UK's new Digital Government Strategy. Read More

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Ukrainians Document Election Irregularities on Social Media

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, November 5 2012

Social media played a prominent role in reporting results and irregularities in Ukraine's October 28 national elections, which were widely viewed as far from ideal in terms of a level playing field and transparency. Read More

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In Zambia, a Phone App Allows Citizens to Participate in Drafting Their Constitution

BY Lisa Goldman | Friday, November 2 2012

Screenshot from phone app page.

Zambia is in the process of writing a constitution that will reflect the aspiration of the people. In order to make the process inclusive, the government has created a phone app that allows people to read the draft, sharing and commenting on pages. The Zambian draft constitution app is available free for download on Google Play — but not on iTunes, which shows the extent to which low-cost Androids are kicking dust in the face of the prohibitively priced iPhone in developing nations. Read More

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Crisis Tracker: An Open Source Map that Curates Crowdsourced Information

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, November 1 2012

An open source map mines data from Twitter, curates it and presents it with an Ushahidi-like interface. Read More

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Open Source Interactive Map Curates Crowdsourced Information

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, November 1 2012

An open source map called CrisisTracker mines Twitter for reports, clusters them, and supports curation of report clusters with the help of volunteers. Read More

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France's Techies Flap their Wings at Tax Increases With Online "Pigeons" Protest

BY Karim Lebhour | Friday, October 26 2012

The avatar of "Les Pigeons," with Twitter hashtag #GEONPi

They call themselves “Les Pigeons” — in French, “pigeon” is slang for “suckers,” easily fooled and easily abused. The name was adopted by a group of young Internet entrepreneurs who at the beginning of October launched an online campaign in protest of the government's planned tax hike, which they said would hurt small companies like startups. Read More

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Upcoming Hackathon to Investigate Influence of EU Lobbyists

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, October 25 2012

The Open Knowledge Foundation and the European Journalism Centre are hosting a hackathon aimed at creating tools that will make the influence of EU lobbyists more transparent. Open Interests Europe will take place in London at the Google Campus Cafe on November 24-25. Read More

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The Rough and Tumble of Digital Diplomacy, For Better or Worse

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, October 25 2012

Screenshot from the the State Department's blog

Digital diplomacy is a bit of a buzzword these days. It is practiced widely, both formally and informally, by governments across the globe — the United Kingdom has a particularly extensive site. Brian Fung of the Atlantic explores the impact of direct engagement via social media in an article for the Atlantic: Digital Diplomacy: Why It's So Tough for Embassies to Get Social Media Right. Read More

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Watch Australian Dept of Justice Explain its Social Media Policy in Three Minutes

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, October 24 2012

Screenshot from Department of Justice video.

The Department of Justice for Victoria, Australia, created a 3-minute video that explains cogently, in simple terms that do not patronize, what social media is and the steps an employee of the department must take in order to use it responsibly. Read More

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India's New Generation of IT Entrepreneurs Driving Social and Economic Change

BY Lisa Goldman | Tuesday, October 23 2012

As India's information technology sector continues to grow, new startups are looking toward the domestic market rather than focusing primarily on developing technology for export. Driven by a rapidly growing middle class, the boom in India's IT industry is fueling an optimism that would make Silicon Valley veterans shed a tear of nostalgia for the halcyon days of the 1990s. But while these entrepreneurs are driven by old-fashioned capitalism, they also recognize the potential of low-cost, profitable solutions that benefit India’s poor — and, by extension, civil society. Read More