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First POST: USAID's Exploding Cigar

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 7 2014

Why ZunZeneo, the "Cuban Twitter" funded by USAID, was such a bad idea; some hard questions about the Comcast-TimeWarner merger; tech's "man problem"; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Kinks

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 22 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers:: The HealthCare.gov website mess is getting uglier; StopWatching.us comes under criticism from the liberal-left; Bloomberg's tech legacy for his successor; and much, much more. Read More

Presidential Innovation Fellows Whose LinkedIn Profiles Would Put Yours to Shame

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, June 25 2013

The White House on Monday announced a new group of Presidential Innovation Fellows, many of whom have deep experience in the worlds of business, education, science, finance and technology. Read More

White House Posts 'Help Wanted' Sign Online for Civic-Minded Hackers

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, February 5 2013

The White House on Monday said that it's ready to receive applications for the next round of presidential innovation fellows -- civic minded programmers and entrepreneurs interested in working on and implementing new ... Read More

[OP-ED] White House Innovation Fellows: Where Are the Women?

BY Merici Vinton | Friday, August 24 2012

Former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau tech team co-founder Merici Vinton writes: "On Thursday, the White House announced their new Presidential Innovation fellows and with only 2 of the 18 fellows women it left me wondering, where are the women?" Read More

How the White House Plans to Make Innovation Fellowships Work

BY Christian Bourge | Friday, August 24 2012

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Yesterday morning, the Obama White House launched a new fellowship program aimed at bringing technological innovation to the federal government by fast-tracking the work of online development and tech start-up experts who will serve six-month stints at various federal agencies.

“What we are gunning for is an ecosystem of innovation,” U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park told techPresident following the morning announcement of 18 new Presidential Innovation Fellows at a White House event.

Here's how the administration plans to make Silicon Valley culture work in the White House.

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Meet the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, August 23 2012

The White House this morning announced the 18 techies and experts who will spend six months working on one of five projects using technology to try and improve government as part of the White House Presidential Innovation Fellows program. 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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