Uber uses app as advocacy platform; Georgia, Argentina, and Mexico are tougher campaign finance regulators than the US; and more.
Many tech companies are reluctant to use their platforms directly for political purposes. Think of what it took for Google to decide to make its homepage “go dark” to protest SOPA/PIPA. Not so Uber, which has just added a “DE BLASIO” button for its app users in New York City that takes them to a page promising long delays on their service if New York’s mayor and city council isn’t stopped from putting a temporary cap on the number of new cars Uber can add to its base. As Bloomberg News notes, this isn’t the first time the company has made such a move.
Here’s the petition site that Uber is driving users to. The city council is expected to vote next week on the bill. According to the New York Times, Uber execs met with the mayor and other top officials this week and made clear that they wouldn’t accept a higher cap, leading first deputy mayor Anthony Shorris to say that the company’s opposition to regulation seemed like “some kind of religious issue.”
In the New York Times, Michael Barbaro and Ashley Parker trace how many of the presidential candidates, from Jeb Bush to Rand Paul to Hillary Clinton, are navigating the debate over Uber, and by extension, the changing nature of work today. The comments on Bush’s post on LinkedIn yesterday attempting to position himself as a disruptive innovator suggest that he isn’t in the best position, historically, to claim such a role for himself.
So far, claims by the leading presidential candidates that they are garnering huge grassroots support are not borne out by their actual small-donor fundraising, Kenneth Vogel and Tarini Parti report for Politico.
Less than 1/5 of Hillary Clinton’s campaign funds have come in amounts of $200 or less, the proverbial small-donor threshold, and the reason may well be this: fewer than 100,000 of the 2.5 million email addresses garnered by her 2008 campaign were still active, as Nicholas Confessore and Maggie Haberman report for the New York Times.
The countries of Georgia, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Mexico all score higher than the United States in terms of how stringently they regulate campaign finance, according to this new global analysis of 54 countries conducted by Global Integrity, the Sunlight Foundation and the Electoral Integrity Project. In terms of actual, practical enforcement of their laws, the United Kingdom comes out way ahead of everyone else.
Read former Reddit CEO Ellen Pao’s powerful commentary on the challenges of online free speech, and then ponder the choice of her Washington Post editors to title it “The trolls are winning the battle for the internet.” As I read Pao, that’s exactly the opposite of what she believes.
Alex Howard reports on the fun argument that broke out between Clay Johnson and Eric Mill (former colleagues at the Sunlight Foundation’s Labs) over whether the launch of Democracy.io (noted here yesterday) is a good thing. Johnson thinks really solving the problem of email and Congress requires making software that “helps Members of Congress receive and sort through their messages.” Mill says that that burden is on Congress, and enabling more people to participate in communicating with their representatives is a good thing. Otherwise, one just ensures “that Congress is never made uncomfortable.” As Howard says, “both men have a point.”
New from Accela’s Mark Headd on Civicist: Why 18F’s new approach to procurement reform matters.
Related: We’re holding a “Symposium on Innovative Procurement” next Tuesday, July 21 at Civic Hall with NYC CTO Minerva Tantoco, Kevin Ryan of Gilt, former HHS CTO (and Civic Hall senior fellow) Bryan Sivak, Gino Menchini of National Strategies, Scott Anderson of Control Group, Mark Headd, and many more. Register here.
In Medium, Alana Hope Levinson explores the “new pink ghetto” of newsrooms: the job of social media editor, which is disproportionately held by women, asking if it is genuinely a stepping stone to other jobs or a repeat of women being delegated to supporting roles in journalism.
On TechCrunch, Jennifer Vento, the managing director of Women Online (and longtime PDM colleague and friend), writes about the rise and spread of Femhack, a grassroots international feminist hackathon inspired by the life and work of Pakistani activist Sabeen Mahmud.
Wanna get to know Civic Hall’s incoming project director Erin Simpson, who is starting with us next month? Check out this exit interview she just did with Microsoft Chicago, where she has been a technology and civic engagement fellow.
Ah, if only this were true (those of you who have been to Personal Democracy Forum will appreciate the joke).