Civic tech for the children; are tech philanthropists discounting expertise of nonprofit leaders because their skills are feminized?; and more.
Today’s civic-tech must-read: Kristen Joiner, the co-founder of Scenarios USA, writes for Stanford Social Innovation Review about the uneasy relationship between tech philanthropists and social change leaders, asking “Is it possible that, in the marriage between the new tech philanthropists and social change leaders, our culture ignores and sweeps aside the expertise of nonprofit leaders simply because critical skills required for social change (like empathy) are feminized, along with the nonprofit sector itself?”
New Haven-based SeeClickFix is partnering with the Oakland-based Workers Lab to develop an app that will make it easier for workers to report occupational safety violations, Caroline O’Donovan reports for BuzzFeed.
UNICEF has announced a $9 million venture fund for civic tech that can benefit children, Ben Schiller reports for FastCoexist. The money comes from governments in Finland and Denmark, plus the Walt Disney Company Foundation and the Page Family Foundation.
Tech and politics: Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign is pushing the limits of political voter surveillance, the AP’s Michael Biesecker and Julie Bykowicz report. Not only does his Facebook app grab his supporters’ personal information—including their location data and lists of their friends and relatives—his campaign is combining that with a privately-built database that has “quantified the personalities of every adult American,” according to its builder Cambridge Analytica’s Alexander Nix. The data allows for precision-levels of pandering. For example, on gun rights, “For voters who care about traditions or family, a message may resonate about guaranteeing the ability of a grandfather teaching shooting lessons. For someone identified as introverted, a better pitch might describe keeping guns for protection against crime.”
Seamus Kraft of the OpenGov Foundation takes a close look at how Congressional staffers actually track and report office expenditures, and the results aren’t pretty.
Code written on GitHub by women is approved at a higher rate than code written by men, researchers have found. But as Julia Carrie Wong reports for The Guardian, this is only true of women coders whose gender was not identifiable on the site.
Life in Facebookistan: Writing for The Atlantic, Adrienne Lafrance explains exactly why Facebook’s “Free Basics” program in India is indeed, colonialism for the digital age.