A White House program to bring cheap or free internet to 275,000 homes; China censorship watchdog criticizes LinkedIn; and more.
The White House is making a push on the digital divide, launching a new pilot program called ConnectHome that will bring free or cheap internet service from a range of participating companies to 275,000 homes in 27 cities, Issie Lapowsky reports for Wired. “About half of low-income kids in the U.S. have no web access at home,” she notes.
A new infographic from the White House illustrates the depth of the problem. Unfortunately, getting another 275,000 homes online will barely put a dent in it.
Lapowsky also reports for Wired on how the U.S. Digital Service is working to “make the immigration process suck less.”
Following in Hillary Clinton’s footsteps, Jeb Bush’s campaign has announced that it will release the names of its big money bundlers too, Nicholas Confessore reports for the New York Times.
Money from billionaires and millionaires is dominating the financing of nearly all the presidential campaigns, reports Bloomberg News’ Zachary Mider.
Speaking of which, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says his net worth has risen more than $1 billion, to more than $10 billion, since he declared his candidacy, citing rising real estate values, Gerry Mullaney reports for the New York Times.
Bernie Sanders and Ben Carson are the only presidential candidates raising most of their money from small (under $200) donors, Jonathan Topaz reports for Politico.
This is civic tech: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has released Democracy.io, a new tool that makes emailing congressional lawmakers as simple as a one-click process that was inspired by the Participatory Politics Foundation and assisted with open-source Congressional contact data from the Sunlight Foundation. Said EFF Tech Fellow Sina Khanifar, who helped develop the tool, “Advocacy organizations that can afford it have long had access to tools for delivering bulk constituent messages, but those solutions are expensive for regular citizens. Democracy.io helps to fill in that gap by giving people an easy way to have their voices are heard in Washington.”
New York City is rolling out its update to the city’s open data law with a primary goal of making it easier for regular people to access information, Capital NY’s Miranda Neubauer reports. She notes, “As part of the roll-out, the city will be highlighting how to easily visualize data sets from the open data portal using a tool called Data Lens, initially for selected data on universal pre-K locations, restaurant locations, 311 service requests, NYPD motor vehicle collisions, and wi-fi hotspot locations.”
Judging from this story in The Mandarin by Craig Thomler, this year’s GovHack in Australia, an annual event started in 2009, was a huge success with more than 1800 participants across 31 locations (including 6 in neighboring New Zealand). Some of the more intriguing projects include “Can you afford to speed” (a mobile app that shows drivers the fines other speeders have been charged along the route they are driving) and “MineCraft your city” (a topographically accurate map of Canberra that can be explored or played with for city planning purposes).
Tom Trewinnard and An Xioa Mina from Meedan share some tips on how to avoid translation problems in real-time news. This is for anyone who has ever struggled with Google Translate.
Greatfire.org, which fights online censorship in China, takes a whack at LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner for cozying up to the regime.
Alex Alsup of Detroit’s civic hacking company Loveland Technologies explains why they’ve stopped using Google Street View for their amazing parcel-by-parcel map of the city’s beleaguered properties and instead switched to Microsoft Bing’s Bird’s Eye view. Apparently Loveland’s base map uses Open Street Map, and an email from Google told them they couldn’t combine Street View images with non-Google maps.
Next City’s Jen Kinney reports on Credit Explorer, a new app released by Philadelphia’s Water Department to help encourage residents to conserve more.
The good folks at Public Lab (on whose board I serve) are looking for some volunteers to join its “oil testing kit beta.” Get a free kit and help advance citizen science!
Public Agenda, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping leaders and citizens navigate divisive, complex issues and work together on solutions, is looking to hire a new director of public engagement programs.