Philly finally freed city property records; The Intercept enters the documentary space; and more.

  • This is civic tech: Juliana Reyes of Philly reports on how persistent efforts by open data advocates and civic hackers led to the city finally liberate city property records. In her careful report is the back-story to how changes in personnel and approach apparently won the day. As she details, Philly’s first chief data officer Mark Headd—a Civicist contributor—quit in some frustration at bureaucratic footdragging; his successor Tim Wisniewski managed to finish what he started working with a different and more progressive head of the city’s Office of Property Assessment.


  • MIT and Boston University have created a new legal clinic to support cutting-edge student innovation, responding to a series of incidents where students have run into legal troubles including Aaron Swartz’s prosecution. MIT Civic Media graduate student Nate Matias, who helped spearhead the effort, explains how it came to be.

  • The Sunlight Foundation’s Lindsay Ferris attended the Buntwani conference in South Africa last month, which brought together 70 key advocates for open government from across the region, and offers her takeaways from the event.

  • A year ago yesterday, we got the keys to 156 Fifth Avenue, Civic Hall’s home. Here’s a progress report that we just shared with Civic Hall members on our first six months of operation, from February through July 2015.

  • This is civic dreck: California VC and sometime politician Steve Westly, who is considering another run for governor, allegedly helped arrange an expensive retainer for longtime political fixer Willie Brown to get the San Francisco district attorney to intervene in a domestic abuse investigation into the CEO of digital-ad company RadiumOne, Jeff Elder reports for the Wall Street Journal. At the time, RadiumOne was trying to launch its IPO and Westly was on its board; its CEO, Gurbaksh Chahal, was allowed to plead guilty to two misdemeanors. A home-security video of Chahal allegedly striking his girlfriend more than 100 times over a 30-minute period was ruled inadmissible in court.

  • Indymedia: The Intercept and First Look Media are launching a documentary unit led by CitizenFour director Laura Poitras and two partners that will produce 40-50 short nonfiction films a year, Dave McNary reports for Variety. The unit, Field of Vision, will start with a short-form film by Poitras called “Asylum” focused on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

  • CNN is going to stream the September 16 GOP presidential debate online for free, unlike Fox News which made the first debate in August unavailable to millions, reports Jeff John Roberts for Fortune.

  • Work futures: Discussing the sharing economy and election 2016, Freelancers Union head Sara Horowitz tells Politico’s Emily Guendelsberger that “I think that there are employees who are misclassified [as independent contractors], and that it’s completely right for the Department of Labor to go after those companies….[and]whether we call them employees or independent contractors or come up with some other type of classification—we have to come up with a safety net that supports that new part of the workforce.”

  • is looking to hire software engineers; you can live anywhere.