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.

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.

Civic crowdfunding at #SXSWi 2013 - liveblog

SXSW2013

This week I spoke on a panel at SXSW Interactive on civic crowdfunding, titled "Can crowdfunding save local government budgets (SXSW 2013)?" Here's a liveblog of the talk, by Helena Puig Larrauri and Leah Jones.

Panelists: Eric Engelman - advisor for Mayor of San Diego
Story Bellows - co-director of Mayor’s office of new urban mechanics in Philadelphia
Rodrigo Davies - researcher at MIT and advisor for Spacehive
Jordan Raynor - Co-founder of @citizinvestor

Teaching government how to fail

Image by Soelin (http://www.flickr.com/photos/soelin)

"Our job is to get government used to the idea of failing."

Nigel Jacobs' New Urban Mechanics team at Boston's City Hall has piloted several successful projects since its launch in 2010, from video game-inspired citizen engagement platforms to mobile apps to report potholes. But according to Jacob, one of the most important contributions the team is making to civic innovation is not building great apps and services, but in giving government officials the space to get things wrong.

Pages