The Personal Democracy Forum conference has always been a celebration of technology’s role transforming politics and redefining democracy. But this year’s celebration included particularly strong notes of caution, like danah boyd’s talk on the unintended consequences of code, Mark Surman’s warning that internet freedom is shrinking and Mariana Ruiz Firmat’s reminder that equity within our organizations is a design imperative, not just a good hiring practice.

The chorus of realistic voices was my second favorite thing about PDF16. My favorite was our own cautionary panel, “Is the Civic Tech Story Broken?”, which I presented with panelists Sam Dorman, Elizabeth Eagen and Shaifali Puri.

(L-r) The trolls: William, Tom and Bert (performed by PETER HAMBLETON, MARK HADLOW and WILLIAM KIRCHER respectively) in the fantasy adventure “THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY,” a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), released by Warner Bros. Pictures and MGM.

Look who owns the Google result for "Hillary Clinton" as of tonight at 10:00 pm.

If you've read my Twitter stream this summer you've seen various levels of disdain for Donald Trump. Sometimes it's important to push back when someone peddles bs. Sometimes it's necessary to beat back loud, noxious, memorable exclamations with something just as loud and just as memorable.

But sometimes sensationalism is a trick to control the conversation. I fell for that trick today, Tweeting too much when the GOP candidate "walk[ed] up to the line of treason" and stole attention from the country's history-making nomination of the first female presidential candidate from a major party.

From Data Extractors Workshop, Harare, May, 2016 (Photo: PWYP)

This is the second in a two-part Q&A about PWYP’s Data Extractors programme, its progress and its potential to help PWYP members seize the opportunities of open data. The programme’s manager James Royston, PWYP Advocacy Officer, spoke with Jed Miller, a longtime digital strategist and PWYP colleague who helped facilitate the Data Extractors workshops in Indonesia and Zimbabwe.

Q (Jed Miller): The past 20 days have been a critical time for the PWYP movement, with multiple oil companies releasing new data and details about their payments, and with U.S. regulators announcing a final version of the long-delayed Dodd-Frank rules for company reporting. So even though you and I spoke just a couple of weeks ago, a lot has happened. What are the members of the Extractors programme seeing over these first few weeks of “the new normal?”

View Blog
I help mission-driven organizations and foundations align vision, digital strategy, communications and day-to-day work. See recent work ...


The World Bank      

Visualizing how money moves from companies and aid groups to governments and citizens

Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Promoting evidence-based decisions to upgrade criminal justice in the U.S.

Open Contracting Partnership

Defining strategy for a new organization at the forefront of the global fight on corruption

View All Work