government

Government in the context of civic media work is any form of civil authority at any level from local to national and international. It can refer to entities that are elected or appointed. The term also includes the processes involved in government: deliberation, voting, election campaigns, and making policy.

Q: Why bother with emerging economies + narratives of work?

Work is a heartbreaking story, and a confusing one, too. Or at least the most familiar prescription of work in the U.S.

I grew up in Silicon Valley, too young to understand the dot-com bust but old enough to see the sinking morale. Researcher Gina Neff (@ginasue) says, "Economic downturns, company layoffs, booms and busts—these are collective phenomena, but people attribute managing these risks to individual." When my stepfather was ready to retire, he'd chuckle about the raw deal the next generation of workers were getting. This was when employees still expected companies to take care of them somehow. He retired with a pension, but he'd joke, what is this 401k business? I'm a few generations of work later, and I don't even know many young people who have a 401k.

Where does civic crowdfunding fit on a city's roadmap?

Bogardus Triangle Plaza map - from http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/downloads/pdf/plaza-bogardus-map.jpg

Several city officials I've spoken to about civic crowdfunding in the past few months raised the following problem: "Isn't resource allocation the primary function of government? You can't remove that and replace it with the will of the crowd. How could we possibly design a policy framework to accommodate this?"

Meet my thesis: Peer economy as an emerging narrative of work

This sums it up perfectly: "Job security is about as real as a free lunch."

With the first year of grad school over, I'm rolling up my sleeves for thesis research. I haven't talked about it much on the Civic blog, but I've been refining my idea since I arrived at MIT: how do narratives of work move into the mainstream, and what is an emerging narrative?

The short of it is this: Since the mid-20th century, we've idolized the full-time, salary + benefits narrative. That's been on the decline for the last 30 years—in entrepreneurship, in number of jobs even though gross domestic product climbs. We're graduating more qualified people into a shrinking job market; this narrative is not realistic anymore, which makes room for new narratives of work to emerge. 

6 productive responses to PRISM

new PRISM logoAlong with the other free peoples of the internet, we've been discussing our reactions to PRISM, and whether and how US (and global) citizens might be able to organize against this unprecedented domestic spying. There are more questions than answers at the moment, and the enormous challenge of confronting an extra-legal entity like the NSA with people-power is strongly felt. But here are 5 things you can do that could prove more productive than petitioning the White House to respond. Thanks primarily to Sasha Costanza-Chock for the roundup:

1. Encrypt yourself
See The Guardian Project's Android apps, Security in a Box, and Tor. If you have the skills, go further: build tools / better UI / How To Guides / visibility to encourage more people to encrypt themselves, too.

81 Ways Humanitarian Aid has Become Participatory

Update: I've since posted my full thesis and a short summary of it.

My Media Lab Master's thesis argues that information and communication technologies, and particularly the web, have expanded the range of ways the public can help in times of crisis, even (or especially) if we're nowhere near said crisis. Or, to be more formal about it, participatory aid is mutual, peer-to-peer aid mediated or powered by information and communication technology. We're building a platform to help coordinate participatory aid projects, but first, I wanted to share some examples.

Organizing the Internet to Protect the Open Internet #NCMR13

Future of the Internet panel

Josh Levy, Internet Campaign Director at Free Press, introduces the topic. The SOPA protest was the biggest online protest we've seen. Millions of people participated and made a real impact. For organizers who have been fighting on open internet issues, it was exciting to see so many people take action and recognize that the internet is something you have to proactively protect, or else the openess that you know and love and maybe didn't think about before could go away.

An alphabet soup of bills and meetings have followed in SOPA's wake (CISPA, ECPA, CFAA, WCIT and FISA). We've had to learn what they mean and figure out how to leverage this newly engaged network to beat back the bad bills and support the good bills and educate the public on why the open internet is so important.

Panelists:

Susan Crawford's Captive Audience Talk at the MIT Media Lab

Liveblog of Susan Crawford talking about her new book Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age at the Media Lab Conversations Series.

Molly Sauter contributed to this liveblog, and Rodrigo Davies previously posted our transcription of the Q&A portion of the event.

Introduction and Biography
Susan Crawford was at the Media Lab today to talk about her new book Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age. She is a highly-respected lawyer and professor and has taught at Cardozo Law School, University of Michigan, Yale, and now Harvard Law School. She was on Obama's transition team reviewing the FCC, and a special advisor to Obama Administration on Innovation and Tech policy. She is also a former board member of ICANN and founder of OneWebDay.

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