Gift cards for the homeless; who has control of the largest political email list in the world; and more.
This is civic tech: Handup has launched a gift-card program for the San Francisco homeless community, reports Kim Mai Cutler for TechCrunch. According to Rose Broome, Handup’s founder, in addition to providing donors with more ways to give, they also help connect homeless people to the city’s social service workers. “We don’t have a unified database of the homeless population in many cities, so every time they show up at a new non-profit or government center, social workers have to do a full intake all over again,” she said. “…Some of our really big goals involve not only distributing private money, but also making distributing government benefits more efficient as well.”
And this is NOT civic tech: Tana Ganeva reports for Alternet on a private Facebook group for residents of the Murray Hill and Kips Bay of Manhattan’s wealthy east side called “Third and 33rd (and Beyond!)” where many users post pictures and comments disparaging the neighborhood’s homeless.
If you missed last night’s demos from the Microsoft Civic team at Civic Hall, check out Yangbo Du’s Storify.
Chris Birk, the lead developer for the OpenGov Foundation, attended a meeting of Chicago’s City Council, and came away astounded by the “Mount Everest of paper” generated by just one session. He asks, quite understandably, “In the age of iPhones and Google Docs, is this the best system for running a major city, or any government for that matter? If legislation and laws—the most important information in every democracy—are born digital, shouldn’t they stay digital throughout their lifecycle?”
The Sunlight Foundation is looking to hire its next Labs Director.
Tech and the presidentials: “The largest political email list in the world” is now in the hands of the Democratic Party, Evan McMorris-Santoro reports for BuzzFeed. That is, control of the Obama for America list has now been handed to the DNC. As he notes, “More than just a huge file of emails, the Obama 2012 list includes information about which specific type of appeals a supporter responded to, how much they donated and when, how they prefer to be contacted, and other granular data that helped make Obama’s digital grassroots outreach the best over two separate campaign cycles. DNC control means that eventually the party’s presidential nominee will get access to the email list Obama built.”
Hillary Clinton’s decision to use a private email server while Secretary of State, and her handling of the issue since it has arisen, “has allowed a cloud to settle over her candidacy,” according to interviews with “more than 75 Democracy governors, lawmakers, candidates and party members” done by Patrick Healy, Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman for the New York Times. For example, here’s Clinton supporter Edward Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania: “They’ve handled the email issue poorly, maybe atrociously, certainly horribly. The campaign has been incredibly tone-deaf, not seeing this as a more serious issue. She should have turned over the email server at the start, because they should have known they’d be forced to give it up. But at this point, there’s nothing they can do to kill the issue—they’re left just playing defense.”
According to a new survey by Adobe, 42 percent of Americans check their email while in the bathroom. Apparently a lot of us would like to have a private email server, too. (More seriously, the fact just about everyone uses email must be part of why Clinton’s email issue has resonated; it’s easy for people to understand.)
Sasha Issenberg, author of the Victory Lab, argues for Bloomberg Politics that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Donald Trump doesn’t need a big field operation. He writes, “If supporters are eager to give their free time to the multibillionaire candidate, he would be wise to keep them away from phone banks or doorstep canvasses where they try to influence other voters on his behalf. Instead, he would probably find their labor most valuable building the crowds at events that sustain Trump’s abnormally intense media coverage. The political world can believe that Trump’s ‘much more traditional campaign’ is just around the corner; he just needs to continue to do exactly what he’s been doing.”
Future, Imperfect: Technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci argues in her New York Times column that it’s time for the media to “dampen the copycat effect” and stop giving killers like the gunman who planned his live televised murder of two TV journalists the notoriety they clearly are seeking.
David Roberts of Vox offers a long and meandering take on what “tech nerds” like Elon Musk need to learn about politics. The TL/DR version: if you want to address climate change, don’t treat the two parties as equally guilty for the current lack of action on the problem.
On Monday, Facebook was used by one billion people, the first time ever that it hit that milestone, claims CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Internet provider CenturyLink is slated to receive more than $3 billion over the next six years from the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund for rural broadband expansion, David McCabe reports for The Hill.
The Daily Show, which is getting ready to relaunch with new host Trevor Noah, has hired digital polymath Baratunde Thurston to oversee all of its digital content, Dave Itzkoff reports for the New York Times. Thurston, who is a member of Civic Hall and longtime friend of PDM, was previously the director of digital for The Onion, author of How to Be Black, and founder of Cultivated Wit. Congratatunde!