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WeGov

A “World First”: France's Data.Gouv.Fr Opens Platform To Citizen Submissions

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, January 7 2014

Data.Gouv.Fr is an open book, and you can help write it. (Flickr/muffin9101985)

The French task force for open government data, Etalab, launched the new open data platform in December, one that is open to submissions from anyone. This marks “a world first for a government open data portal,” write Rayna Stamboliyska and Pierre Chrzanowski, of Open Knowledge Foundation France.

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WeGov

How Did A Spanish Lawmaker's First Experiment in Direct Democracy Fare?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, September 18 2013

Screenshot of Congreso Transparente

A Spanish lawmaker reached out through the Internet to ask citizens how he should vote on Spain's new transparency bill, which was passed in parliament on September 12. Joan Baldoví promised voters he would vote along with the majority of respondents. It was the first time a Spanish politician has experimented with direct democracy.

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WeGov

Obeying French Courts, Twitter Hands Over Identities of Users Who Employed Anti-Semitic Hashtag

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 22 2013

Screenshot of a #UnBonJuif tweet by @mafiacorsica

On July 12, Twitter gave the French authorities the necessary data to identify the authors of anti-semitic tweets accompanied by the hashtag #UnBonJuif (#AGoodJew). The decision officially ends a lengthy legal battle with France's Union of Jewish Students (UEJF) and several anti-racism groups. The case pitted hate speech laws against free expression and privacy on the Internet. Hate speech laws triumphed, but the outcome has reignited public debate on the subject of rights and responsibilities of both Internet users and companies.

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WeGov

Is This the End of Iceland's Crowdsourced Constitution?

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, April 3 2013

Icelandic citizens who drafted the constitution last year. (Skrifstofa Stjórnlagaráðs / Flickr)

When Iceland faced a fiscal catastrophe in 2008, residents took to the streets with pots and pans to demand change from the government.  Leaders in the country took the spirit of the crowd to heart. In 2011, Iceland announced that it would be crowdsourcing its next constitution, an effort that ultimately resulted in a full draft bill.  Yet amid Iceland’s election season and the turmoil to determine the country’s future, the crowdsourced constitution has now been effectively scrapped. 

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WeGov

Viennese Transport Authority to Release Transit Data in Response to Online Petition

BY Miranda Neubauer | Friday, March 29 2013

The Viennese Transit Authority Wiener Linien announced Friday that it will make its transit data available to third parties this summer after coming under pressure from an online petition started by two developers. Read More

WeGov

Finnish Parliament Must Vote on Citizens' Petition for Same Sex Marriage Law

BY Antonella Napolitano | Monday, March 25 2013

Helsinki Cathedral in Midnight Sun (credit: Visit Finland/Flickr)

Over the course of a single day last week, Finnish advocates of equal marriage rights gathered 50,000 signatures for a petition that proposes granting legal recognition to same sex couples. According to the Citizen's Initiative Act, a modification of the Finnish constitutionthat was passed last year, this is the minimum number of signatures required for a legislative vote: the proposal has therefore been submitted to parliament. Read More

WeGov

Spanish People's Party Hires Out Online Commenters to Toe the Party Line

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, March 22 2013

Last month, a major political scandal in Spain came to a head when the media was prohibited from attending press conferences addressing payoffs and other financial corruption within the left-wing People's Party. Now new evidence has surfaced that regional People's Party of the Balaeric Islands - Spanish-owned Mediterranean territories which include Majorca, Minorca, and Ibiza - has been recruiting netizens to comment on online articles that contradict the party line. Read More

WeGov

To Fund a Political Rally, French Politician Turns to the Crowd

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, March 20 2013

Patrick Mennucci, on the Ulule page for Pour Marseille 2014.

Platforms like Kickstarter have gotten citizen activist movements off the ground around the world. Yet in Marseille, France, this week, a local official started a funding campaign for a political engagement rally in the city, in what may be the one of the first instances of a political office using a commercial crowdfunding site. Read More

WeGov

Open Science Breaks Down International Barriers for Researchers

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, March 18 2013

The Research Data Alliance website (screengrab).

Two decades ago, scientists at CERN in Switzerland were among the earliest non-military users of the World Wide Web, posting the first photo to what had been a purely text-based medium, among other innovations.  This week, an international group from the scientific community aims to set new precedents for the future of the Internet, with the launch of a major open data initiative for research and knowledge. 

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WeGov

EU Court to Determine if People Googling Themselves Have the Right to Censor Search Results

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, February 27 2013

Google Spain.

If an Internet user sees that their reputation is getting tarnished online, should they have the right to request that the data be removed from search results?  That’s the premise of a case from Spain that the European Court of Justice will be deliberating over the next several months, after the country’s highest court ruled that Google was responsible for the spread of the harmful information. 

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