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First POST: Obscurity

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 4 2014

New "transparency" reports from major tech companies on government data requests; seeing secret surveillance satellites; ElectionMall's troubled history; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Hanging By 834 Threads

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, December 3 2013

Is HealthCare.gov fixed, or will its ultimate fate be decided by the accuracy of the "834" forms it sends to insurers to finish each enrollment?; how Mexico's civic tech sector is making a difference; changes in Facebook's News Feed algorithm threaten the meme industry; and much, much more. Read More

U.S. Tech Companies, Rights Groups Push Lawmakers For More Surveillance Disclosure

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Thursday, July 18 2013

A group of 22 tech companies, six investment management companies, and dozens of rights groups on Thursday demanded that they be allowed to disclose more detailed information about law enforcement requests for user ... Read More

Code for America's Jennifer Pahlka to Take a Year-Long "Fellowship" as Deputy U.S. CTO

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, May 30 2013

Jennifer Pahlka. Photo: transportationcamp

Thursday, Code for America and the White House announced that Jennifer Pahlka will take a leave of absence from her organization to become the next deputy U.S. chief technology officer for government innovation, working for the limited term of one year under current CTO Todd Park. Read More

Developers Are Already Submitting Patches to Obama's New Open Data Policy

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, May 9 2013

Photo: Tom Lohdan / Flickr

The White House on Thursday morning released an executive order from President Barack Obama that mandates any data in information systems created by government agencies going forward be available for anyone to access, download, and use. Read More

White House Supports Online Sales Tax Bill

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Monday, April 22 2013

The Obama administration on Monday said that it "strongly supports" legislation under consideration in the Senate that would allow states to force out-of-state retailers to collect taxes on their online sales. "The ... Read More

White House Threatens To Veto House Version of CISPA

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, April 16 2013

The White House on Tuesday threatened to block the passage of a landmark cybersecurity bill in its current form, saying that it doesn't do enough to protect citizens' privacy when corporations share potential threat ... Read More

Check Out This Cool Thing the White House Is Testing For #SOTU

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, February 12 2013

The director of the White House Office of Digital Strategy, Macon Phillips, is asking folks on Twitter to kick the tires on this tool that looks like it will allow people to offer feedback on any sentence from President Barack Obama's speech tonight with a click of the mouse. Read More

In Google Hangout, Biden Confronts Critics, Coaches Silicon Valley on Gun Advocacy

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, January 24 2013

Shades of Silicon Valley's nascent political activism and the White House's full-bore use of the Internet in its own public engagement efforts were on display Thursday in a "Fireside" Google hangout with Vice President Joe Biden, venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki, and PBS Newshour's Hari Sreenivasan. Read More

White House Deputy CTO Joins World Bank To Implement Bank's New Tech Strategy

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Wednesday, December 12 2012

The U.S.' former Deputy CTO Chris Vein has joined the World Bank. Photo: Flickr/Code for America

Chris Vein is someone who's built a career on bringing innovation to government bureaucracies, first for the city of San Francisco under Mayor Gavin Newsom, and then at the Obama Administration's White House as a deputy chief technology officer. He is now moving on to help the governments of the rest of the world. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

Ruck.us Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like Democracy.com

Ruck.us launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new Ruck.us is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and Democracy.com. And strangely enough, Ruck.us seems to want its early users to ask Democracy.com for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.

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monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.

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The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.

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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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