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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

HHS' "Entrepreneur-in-Residence," Todd Park, to Become Next White House CTO

BY Nick Judd | Friday, March 9 2012

Todd Park at an event in September. Photo: Maria Ly / Flickr

The White House has announced that the Department of Health and Human Services' Chief Technology Officer, Todd Park, will take that title again at the federal level as the next U.S. CTO. Chopra announced in late January that he would be stepping down and return to Virginia, but hasn't yet said what he'll be doing next. Park has described his role at HHS as that of an "entrepreneur in residence," which meant, in practice, spending a lot of time working to change the way HHS handles data. "The President has asked him to bring that same approach to a broader mission – helping to replicate those and other best practices across government and bring them to scale," the White House announced in a press release. Another White House official, Tom Power, will serve in another role that Chopra held, that of OSTP's associate director for technology, until a permanent replacement is found. Read More

White House CTO Aneesh Chopra's Exit Interview

BY Nick Judd | Monday, February 6 2012

On his way out of the White House and back to Virginia, where he is expected to run for public office — but will neither confirm or deny that's the plan — Aneesh Chopra describes the shape of the post he pioneered as the country's first-ever chief technology officer.

As a result of Chopra's interview with The Atlantic's tech/politics correspondent, Nancy Scola, there's now a public record of what this first-ever CTO thinks the CTO's job actually is ("On any topic that is a priority for the president, my role is evaluate how technology, data, and innovation can advance, support, and improve upon those strategies," among other things) and how it might be improved.

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Chopra: I'm Going Back To Virginia

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Friday, January 27 2012

Aneesh Chopra at a World Economic Forum event in Nov. 2011. Photo: World Economic Forum

"After an incredible three years as the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer," White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra said in a statement, "I am returning to my home state of Virginia to continue my work using innovative new technologies and platforms to improve health care, education and energy – and to grow the jobs and industries of the future." Read More

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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tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

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Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

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monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

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