Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Connections

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, August 12 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: The connection between Edward Snowden and Jeff Bezos; how Moore's Law is destroying privacy; responses to Obama's Friday press conference; Twitter's new #PAC; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Print is Dead

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, August 6 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: What to make of Jeff Bezos's purchase of the Washington Post; more reverberations from the NSA surveillance scandal; a British government agency proves you can make smart use of the web AND work in government; and more in today's round-up of news about technology in politics from around the web. Read More

The Top Tech-Politics Developments of 2013, So Far

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, August 1 2013

Every six months or so, we add more items to our "Politics and the Internet" Timeline, a living document that now includes more than 160 items stretching back to 1968 and covering a range of domestic, international and online events. Keep in mind, this isn't an official list but just our best subjective judgment on the most important developments at the intersection of technology and politics. If you would like to suggest something that we've left out, or make a correction to the record, please use this form. After the jump--Here's what we've added for the period from January 2013 to the end of July: Read More

What Edward Snowden Could Have Guessed About Bradley Manning's Verdict

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, July 31 2013

Photo: Ben Sutherland / Flickr

For the one man with the single biggest reason to follow the verdict issued Tuesday in the case of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, the ruling will offer very little he did not already know. Read More

NSA Leaker Snowden Casts Net Wide In Bid For Asylum

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, July 2 2013

Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who U.S. authorities are hunting down for espionage, has applied for asylum from 19 countries through Wikileaks, the anti-secrecy organization said late ... Read More

The New Yorker Hopes "Strongbox" Is a Wiretap-Proof Sieve for Leaks

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, May 16 2013

The New Yorker yesterday became the first outlet to implement DeadDrop, a new system for sources to submit information to journalists online in a more secure and anonymous way than, for example, email. Read More

Gavin Newsom On the Meaning of "Citizenville:" A Q&A

BY Sarah Lai Stirland | Tuesday, February 26 2013

Sergey Brin helps Gavin Newsom put on a pair of Google glasses. Image: Current TV

California's lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom, has just published "Citizenville," a light volume at around 240 pages that urges American citizens and their local governments to re-imagine how the process of governing might work in the digital age. In an edited Q&A, Sarah Lai Stirland asks Newsom to explain the meaning behind his manifesto. Read More

Why Julian Assange is Wikileaks' Single Point of Failure

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, August 16 2012

Is this Wikileaks' future home? Photo by David Torres Costales / @DavoTC

Julian Assange is back in the news today because, after nearly two months of holding out in Ecuador's London embassy, he has been granted "political asylum" by the Ecuadorian government. The decision has set off a diplomatic stand-off, with the U.K. government threatening to revoke the embassy's diplomatic status, and Ecuador responding with anger. In this article, I argue that the cause of transparency is far, far bigger than the legal troubles of one brilliant, courageous but ultimately flawed individual. Unfortunately, he has turned into Wikileaks' single point of failure. Britain ought to let Assange to Ecuador, because there's little chance he can get a fair trial in either Sweden or the United States, but then let's be done with him. Those of us who want freedom of information to thrive should learn a key lesson from Assange's case. For information to flow freely, there can't be any single point of control. Read More

Computer Programmers Create Algorithm that Predicts When and Where Violence Will Erupt in Afghanistan

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, July 23 2012

A group of computer programmers has developed an algorithm that they say allows them to predict where and when violence will break out in Afghanistan. The Los Angeles Times reports that the programmers created the algorithm in 2010, based on 77,000 incident reports to create a map that showed all the border hotspots. Then they built on their success by applying the algorithm to Wikileaks data on written reports from 2004-2009. Read More

With "Syria Files," Has WikiLeaks Broken Its Slump?

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, July 5 2012

WikiLeaks began today to publish the "Syria Files" — more than two million emails that the document-leaking organization says chronicle exchanges with Syrian officials dating from August 2006 to March 2012. WikiLeaks itself warns that not every document it is publishing can verifiably be said to be authentic, and has not indicated yet where it got the tranche. 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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

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.

GO

friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

More