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Tag: government

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At Issue } essential reading

Does Digital Media Advance the Political Process?

Walter Solomon
Jan 23, 2014

Between the massive shifts occurring today among marketers in the use of digital versus “traditional” media (i.e., television, radio, print) – and the associated questions of the relative effectiveness of each – one can’t help but wonder if the use of digital media in politics is actually advancing the political process.

Will Washington Move to Quickly to Regulate the Internet of Things?

Katy Bachman
Jan 9, 2014

Walk the halls of the International CES and listen to tech titans like Cisco’s John Chambers and it’s easy to believe that the Internet of things is the next big thing and that it’s all but here. But while the tech industry may be embracing it, Washington policymakers, fretting over data security and privacy issues, still aren’t sure what to do about it.

A Look at Some of the Key Media Bills Being Introduced

Katy Bachman
Nov 26, 2013

There’s an election in 2014, and lawmakers, particularly those in tough races, need to show they are pursuing legislation on myriad topics, some of which could impact media and marketing.

The Battle for Power on the Internet

Bruce Schneier
Oct 28, 2013

Distributed citizen groups and nimble hackers once had the edge. Now governments and corporations are catching up. Who will dominate in the decades ahead?

What's Driving Demand For Infrastructure And Innovation?

Jonathan Refoy
Sep 30, 2013

Innovation is essential if the world is to serve more people with fewer resources.

Other Countries Talk Tough on Data Privacy, but Enforcement Is Weak

Kate Kaye
Sep 27, 2013

In Areas Recovering From Government Abuse, Data Privacy Is Considered a Right.

The Law that Gave Us the Modern Internet, and the Campaign to Kill It

Derek Khanna
Sep 12, 2013

Ever heard of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act? It gave birth to the social web. Here's why we need more laws just like it.

The New Innovation Battlegrounds Are City Hall And The State House

Julius Genachowski & Zachary Katz
Aug 6, 2013

In cities and states across the country, two forces are engaged in battles with major consequences for the future of the Internet and the U.S. innovation economy.

Judge orders Google to comply with FBI's secret NSL demands

Declan McCullagh
May 31, 2013

San Francisco federal judge tells Mountain View company to comply with FBI's warrantless National Security Letter requests for user details, despite ongoing concerns about law's constitutionality.

How Infographics Are Changing Congress

Mark Wilson
May 2, 2013

Could a recent push by the Congressional Budget Office to include data visualizations in their complex reports drive more nuanced, informed thinking?

It’s Like They’re Reading My Mind

Grady Johnson and Sean Vitka
Mar 25, 2013

How next-generation apps will market your brainwaves.

A Virtual Counter-Revolution

Economist Briefing
Sep 7, 2010

The internet has been a great unifier of people, companies and online networks. Powerful forces are threatening to balkanise it.

Applying the Lessons of Enterprise 2.0 to Gov 2.0

Sep 1, 2010

Last year, MIT professor Andrew McAfee published a landmark book on the business use and impact of social software platforms titled Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges. The book is a collection of McAfee's research since the spring of 2006 when he coined the phrase Enterprise 2.0. Shorthand for enterprise social software, Enterprise 2.0 is the strategic integration of Web 2.0 technologies into an organization's intranet, extranet, and business processes. Those technologies, including wikis, blogs, prediction markets, social networks, microblogging, and RSS, have in turn been adopted by government agencies, a phenomenon that falls under the mantle of Gov 2.0. As the use of such technology has grown, Congress is now considering the risks and rewards of Web 2.0 for federal agencies.

The Future of the Internet

Dan Redding
Aug 16, 2010

The Internet is a medium that is evolving at breakneck speed. It’s a wild organism of sweeping cultural change — one that leaves the carcasses of dead media forms in its sizeable wake. It’s transformative: it has transformed the vast globe into a ‘global village’ and it has drawn human communication away from print-based media and into a post-Gutenberg digital era. Right now, its perils are equal to its potential. The debate over ‘net neutrality’ is at a fever pitch. There is a tug-of-war going on between an ‘open web’ and a more governed form of the web (like the Apple-approved apps on the iPad/iPhone) that has more security but less freedom.

The Future is Another Country

The Economist
Jul 26, 2010

A couple of months or so after becoming Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron wanted a few tips from somebody who could tell him how it felt to be responsible for, and accountable to, many millions of people: people who expected things from him, even though in most cases he would never shake their hands. He turned not to a fellow head of government but to…Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and boss of Facebook, the phenomenally successful social network.

Losing Our Religion

Jul 22, 2010

Yesterday, President Obama signed into law the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. It's a 2,300 page bill containing 533 new regulations. 38% of Americans have never heard of it. Another 33% couldn't explain its key deliverable. If the point of the legislation is to restore confidence in the financial system, it seems like it's dead on delivery, and you can bet that opinion of the bill is only going to get worse (or at best, muddled) as the administration's principled opposition continues to debate settled law and the nutjobs scream that it's further proof of an alien invasion. Consumers are going to continue to lose their faith in the markets. This isn't good for Wall Street.

Interview With Tim O'Reilly on Reasons to Give up Some Privacy

Jul 22, 2010

This Spring, Tim O'Reilly was surprised to find himself defending Facebook's changes to its privacy policy. "There's enormous advantage for users in giving up some privacy online and [so] we need to be exploring the boundary conditions," the founder of O'Reilly Media and international technology thought leader wrote. "It's easy to say that this should always be the user's choice, but entrepreneurs from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg are in the business of discovering things that users don't already know that they will want, and sometimes we only find the right balance by pushing too far, and then recovering." That's an interesting argument when it comes to consumer products and innovation, but I got to sit down with O'Reilly on the first day of his big OSCON conference yesterday and talk about privacy in a different context: health care, government, global cultural change and a crisis of crises.

What if Government Ran Like Business?

Jul 22, 2010

In April, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker announced a new program to restore confidence in government. The effort, known as the Campaign for High Performance Government, couldn't come soon enough. Confidence in government is near an all-time low. A survey released in mid-April by the Pew Research Center found that only a small minority of Americans—22 percent—believe they can trust the federal government "almost always or most of the time." More than half of the respondents (56 percent) said they were frustrated by government's actions; 1 in 5 (21 percent) said Washington makes them angry. And who can blame them? As I noted in an April column, "Managing Perception, Ignoring Reality," Washington appears out of control. The rules of the game seem to be rigged to keep government growing while few problems get solved. Nobody is held accountable and performance seems irrelevant.

Oil Spill Report: BP and White House Sentiment Spills onto Twitter

Jul 19, 2010

This week BP successfully recapped its ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Test results are favorable and show that oil and gas are, for the time being, confined. This news inspires cautious optimism in the hearts of residents and spectators alike. Online, however, the social effect continues to flow across social networks and social graphs, echoing anger, hope, and the demand for resolution and prevention from BP and the Obama administration.

What the Detroit Public Schools Can Teach Marketers

Shiv Singh and Peter Carter
Jul 13, 2010

It wasn't a multi-million dollar television campaign for a Fortune 50 company, nor was it a digital media program for some new-age service. Instead, the Grand Effie award was given to the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) for a very simple, and cost-efficient word-of-mouth program to encourage student enrollment. Here's what they did.

China Renews Google’s License

Jul 9, 2010

The Internet giant Google said Friday that the Beijing government had renewed its license to operate a Web site in mainland China, ending months of tension after the company stopped censoring search results here and pulled some operations out of the country.

How Social Media Is Changing The Way Government Does Business

Jul 2, 2010

There has been plenty of discussion about how governments are using social media to engage with the general public and open up their vast amounts of data to collaborators. The interagency collaboration occurring behind government firewalls using wikis and blogs is also well-publicized. A topic that’s received less attention are the ways that social media and the principles of openness, collaboration, and authenticity are transforming how the government does business. How is social media changing the government contracting process? That’s the $500 billion+ question.

Lights Out for Light Cigarettes

Jun 22, 2010

With the focus squarely on Big Oil, specifically BP, it's easy to forget about Big Tobacco. But June 22 is historic, because today, the U.S. tobacco industry is required to stop selling and marketing "light," "low-tar," and "mild" cigarettes, in compliance with the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. Research shows "light" cigarettes are no less deadly than regular cigarettes. While "light" and similarly branded cigarettes are no longer allowed in the U.S., leave it to Big Tobacco to find a way around the law — they're simply rebranding their products.

BP Agrees to $20 Billion Fund

Jonathan Weisman and Guy Chazan
Jun 17, 2010

BP PLC, under intense legal and political pressure from President Barack Obama, agreed Wednesday to put $20 billion into a fund to compensate victims of the Gulf oil spill, and said it would cancel shareholder dividends for the first three quarters of this year to offset that cost. BP said it would pay another $100 million to a separate fund to help oil-industry workers sidelined by the Obama administration's moratorium on deepwater drilling.

Why Brands and Politics Don't Mix

Jun 8, 2010

Let's take on the worst fears, and perhaps highest hopes, concerning how corporations will use their new rights to influence the election of candidates. (Interestingly, labor unions will enjoy the same rights, but little has been said about this -- as if unions have been loathe to influence elections in the past.) When in this debate people and the press speak of "corporations," you can be pretty sure they aren't speaking of groups like Citizens United. They are speaking of the big brand names of business. The Dow 30. The Fortune 500. The reality is, there are innumerable practical bars to prevent such corporations from using the powers of their new personhood to engage in explicit "electioneering."

FCC Web Rules Create Pushback

Amy Schatz and Spencer E. Ante
May 7, 2010

The head of the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday outlined a proposal for regulating the Internet that he described as a "third way," or middle ground between "heavy-handed" regulation and a do-nothing approach that could hurt competition and leave consumers unprotected.

New U.S. Push to Regulate Internet Access

May 6, 2010

In a move that will stoke a battle over the future of the Internet, the federal government plans to propose regulating broadband lines under decades-old rules designed for traditional phone networks. The decision, by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, is likely to trigger a vigorous lobbying battle, arraying big phone and cable companies and their allies on Capitol Hill against Silicon Valley giants and consumer advocates.

Consumer Groups Say Proposed Privacy Bill is Flawed

Stephanie Clifford
May 5, 2010

Consumer groups have been fighting what they see as the prevalence of online tracking, where online advertising is selected for a certain user — perhaps because he once visited a company’s home page, perhaps because he showed an interest in automobiles or baby products, or perhaps because he is a middle-aged man. As opposition has intensified, companies like Google and Yahoo have adjusted their own privacy policies in response to consumer concern. Industry groups, while arguing that free Internet content depends on this type of sophisticated advertising, have issued their own self-regulatory principles.

Social Media And The Spill

May 3, 2010

With the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico’s oil spill seeming to worsen by the day, expressions of outrage and anguish over the disaster are mounting in the online universe. In addition to thousands of stories on the spill from traditional media sources, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are alight with posts from government, the oil industry and citizens around the globe.

In a World of Ads, Teaching the Young How to Read Them

Apr 27, 2010

A federal agency is undertaking an effort to school youngsters in the ways of Madison Avenue. The initiative seeks to educate children in grades four through six — tweens, in the parlance of marketing — about how advertising works so they can make better, more informed choices when they shop or when they ask parents to shop on their behalf.

Democracy is a Poor Man’s Marketing

Apr 23, 2010

With two weeks to go before the British general election, the media seems to have gone politically bonkers. You can’t turn a page or switch on the TV without an immediate update on the upcoming election. Marketers are not exempt from all this either. We suddenly seem obsessed with the different marketing strategies being applied by the three major political parties. The Lib Dems have gone guerrilla. Labour is relying on user-generated content. And the Tories are using traditional, above-the-line media.

Google Discloses Requests on Users

Apr 21, 2010

Google Inc. moved to highlight the issue of government censorship and demands for information about Web users, just as the Internet company came under fire from a group of government officials over the way it handles user privacy. The Silicon Valley giant Tuesday disclosed for the first time the number of requests it has received from government agencies for data about its users. Google also disclosed how many government requests it gets to remove content from its search engine, YouTube video site, Blogger blogging software and other services.

Airlines Are Now Perceived As “Public” Brands, So We Expect Little

Apr 14, 2010

Americans have come to expect squat from the Postal Service, Amtrak, Congress, utilities and nearly anything run by the government except the U.S. military and Cash for Clunkers. Maybe that’s why we have come to expect so little from airlines these days: Now they’re essentially public brands. They’ve been hemmed in by layer upon layer of new regulations for travel safety, protection from terrorism, smoking, shearing, noise abatement and other things too numerous to mention. And airlines have become squeezed by fuel costs, latent financial liabilities for frequent-flyer tickets, industry-wide consolidation and the devastation of revenues by the Great Recession.

Toyota Delayed a U.S. Recall, Documents Show

Apr 12, 2010

The message was written in January by Irving A. Miller, then a group vice president for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., to another Toyota staff member. Three days later, the carmaker, bowing to pressure from Congress, federal regulators and consumers, issued a recall on sticking pedals affecting millions of vehicles. The cry for action by Mr. Miller, disclosed in documents made public for the first time last week, came at the end of an extraordinary four-month period for the Japanese automaker. In that time, federal regulators say, there had been deliberate efforts by company officials to keep information about possible defects from the government.

Toyota Faces $16.4 Million U.S. Fine

Apr 6, 2010

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said the U.S. plans to seek a $16.4 million fine against Toyota Motor Corp., saying the auto maker "knowingly hid" safety problems from regulators. The proposed fine, the maximum allowed under law against a car maker and far exceeding the previous record of $1 million, is the first linked to Toyota's recall of more than eight million cars globally for gas-pedal and sudden-acceleration problems.

Simplifying Legal Jargon Through Design

Mar 29, 2010

In a short presentation at the 2010 TED Talks, branding expert Alan Siegel emphasized the need to simplify legal documents and presented a proposal for a simplified credit card agreement. Alan Siegel believes that most of the language used in government laws and product and service agreements is incomprehensible by the common man who may act out of ignorance.

In Post-Google China, Censorship is Unfazed

Mar 26, 2010

Chinese Internet users have one less Web search option this week, but otherwise it's business as usual as the People's Republic of China uses technology and intimidation to keep citizens away from objectionable content. Following several months of strategizing and negotiations, Google finally stopped censoring its search results in China and is redirecting visitors to Google.cn to a server based in Hong Kong. There they see unfiltered results and are able to visit sites about Falun Gong, Tiananman Square, and Tibetan independence. As noble as the move might be on Google's part, it changes very little for the approximately 4 million Internet users in China who have lived with restrictions on their online and offline activities for decades.

Stance by China to Limit Google Is Risk by Beijing

Michael Wines
Mar 24, 2010

This is a nation that builds dams, high-speed rail lines and skyscrapers with abandon. In newly muscular China, sheer force is not just an art, but a bedrock principle of its seemingly unstoppable rise to global prominence. Now China has tightened its grip on the much more variegated world of online information, effectively forcing Google Inc., the world’s premier information provider, to choose between submitting to Chinese censorship and leaving the world’s largest community of Internet users to its rivals. It chose to leave.

Zittrain: Google Stands Alone

Mar 24, 2010

Don’t expect an army of web companies to rush to Google’s defense in China v. Google. The lines are drawn but Google will stand alone, according to internet law expert and Harvard Professor Jonathan Zittrain. Other companies, Zittrain argues, are too timid to go toe-to-toe with China, especially with the web’s biggest market at stake. That decision to remain neutral seems like a no brainer — at least from the short-term, dollars and cents perspective — but there’s an argument to be made that Google could eventually emerge as the victor.

No Sense In Marketing Of The Census

Mar 24, 2010

If the U.S. population was represented by Woody Allen's "Manhattan," the Fed's $300 million investment in Draftfcb's 2010 census communications program will probably deliver the greatest ROI in marketing history. This sprawling campaign has been resoundingly criticized for lame humor, lackluster creative and missed targeting. But hold on, folks! Our fellow marketing brethren at Draftfcb didn't even get the contract until September 2007 and only had support from 11 other companies!

China Counters Google Move by Partly Blocking Hong Kong Site

Mar 23, 2010

As Google began redirecting tens of millions of Chinese users on Tuesday to its uncensored Web site in Hong Kong, the company’s remaining mainland operations came under pressure from its Chinese partners and from the government itself. The Chinese government moved on Tuesday to block access to the Hong Kong site, the use of which Google had hoped would allow it to keep its pledge to end censorship while retaining a share of China’s fast-growing internet search market.

Google May Shut Down China Unit in April, CBN Says

Mar 19, 2010

Google Inc. may pull out of China on April 10, China Business News reported today, citing an unidentified Chinese sales agent for the company. The search engine may announce its exit on March 22, the Shanghai-based newspaper reported, citing an unidentified Google China employee. It may also reveal plans for its China workforce on the same day, according to the report.

Google Exit Would Open a Door for Microsoft

Mar 16, 2010

If Google Inc. decides to close the door on its search engine in China, it might open a door for Microsoft Corp. The software giant's Bing search engine is among the potential beneficiaries if Google goes ahead with its threat to close its Google.cn site amid a dispute with the Chinese government over censorship. Although Bing has struggled to gain traction in China, Microsoft has already hired away at least three people from Google's China business, after aggressively pursuing them following Google's threat, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Google Is Poised to Close China Site

Mar 15, 2010

Google Inc. appears increasingly likely to shutter its Chinese-language search engine, a step that would remove one of the last major foreign players from the world's most populous and fastest-growing Internet market. A person familiar with situation said on Saturday that Google is likely to take action within weeks. Separately, Chinese authorities on Friday told local news Web sites that Google's Chinese site is likely to close and that, if it does, the news sites will be required to use only official accounts of the situation, rather than publish stories from anywhere else, according to a person familiar with the order.

No More Shell Game: Oil Brand Ends Gas Sales To Iran

Mar 12, 2010

Consumers boycott brands for almost as many reasons as there are brands. If you were looking for a brand to boycott because it made deals with both the US and the Islamic Republic of Iran (and in possible violation of the Iran Sanctions Act), the New York Times provided a handy list last weekend.

McCain, Lesson Learned

Mar 11, 2010

If there is anyone that learned the branding lesson imparted by the Obama ’08 Campaign, it was John McCain. During the Presidential race there was simply nothing the McCain identity could do to help his chances, especially not Optima, not even at its boldest. Not long after the loss, McCain announced in November of 2008 that he would be running for re-election to his Senate seat in 2010 for the state of Arizona. Earlier this year, McCain presented a new identity for this particular campaign, created by Phoenix-based OVO. What a difference one lost Presidential race makes.

Beverage Giants Team Up in Campaign to Remove Soda From Schools

Mar 10, 2010

As the beverage industry comes under assault with proposed sugar taxes in several parts of the country, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group have begun running print and TV ads touting their joint initiative to remove full-calorie soft drinks from schools across the country. The normally fierce rivals are collaborating on a three-year commitment that has led to an 88% decrease in calories from beverages shipped to schools since 2004.

Facebook Launches Aggressive Advertising In Middle East

Feb 26, 2010

With over 400 million active users, the world’s most popular social networking site has set its sights on the Middle East in an attempt to capture more of the Arab market. In what they described as a “massive” opportunity, Facebook has announced its partnership with the Middle East digital advertising firm, Connect Ads, to launch acquisition campaigns similar to what they did in Europe and Asia. This time though, the socially conservative Arab market will dictate more of their strategy as Facebook looks to expand on its existing Arab customer base of 10 million users.

Pitching Self-Regulation

Feb 16, 2010

A year ago, it looked as if the Internet would find itself in Washington's crosshairs. A new Democratic administration was moving into the White House with a huge majority in Congress. A reckless Wall Street was blamed by many Americans for nearly destroying the economy. Regulation was hot. And besides, in the minds of many lawmakers, the Web was full of shady crooks and needed policing. These days, fears of heavy regulation have abated somewhat, as the online ad market bounces back from a brutal recession, and lawmakers continue to be distracted by bank failures, wars and healthcare legislation.

The Next Age of Government

David Cameron
Feb 16, 2010

The leader of Britain's Conservative Party says we're entering a new era -- where governments themselves have less power (and less money) and people empowered by technology have more. Tapping into new ideas on behavioral economics, he explores how these trends could be turned into smarter policy.

Davos to Hear of Tentative Rebound in Public Trust

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
Jan 26, 2010

Public confidence in companies, governments and non-governmental organisations has staged a recovery since last year's "trust Armageddon", but the rebound is patchy and fragile, according to data to be presented at the World Economic Forum tomorrow in Davos. Trust in business has risen from 49 per cent to 53 per cent around the world year-on-year, says the annual "trust barometer" of well-educated, highly paid and engaged "informed publics", conducted by Edelman, a communications consultancy.

To Attract Shoppers, G.M. to Pay Debt to U.S.

Jan 26, 2010

Like Lee Iacocca at Chrysler, Edward E. Whitacre Jr. thinks the best way to lure consumers back to a bailed-out automaker is to pay back the loans from American taxpayers. In his first comments as the permanent chief executive of General Motors — after deciding to drop his interim status — Mr. Whitacre said Monday that G.M. will retire its remaining $5.7 billion in debt to the federal government by June.

Protecting Consumers Will Undermine Capitalism

Susan Antilla
Jan 25, 2010

Flouting the efforts of lobbyists to shut down his plan for a consumer protection agency, the newly combative President Barack Obama is digging in his heels. Spokesman Robert Gibbs said last week that it’s something Obama “is not willing to give up.” Thus, we open another round in the brawl between Obama and business groups that claim the bill covering mortgage and credit-card lenders is a death sentence for small companies, expensive for consumers, and will “change the way Americans do business forever.”

Obama: Can the Marketing Master Avert Dem Disaster?

Jan 25, 2010

Republican Scott Brown's victory over Martha Coakley in the Massachusetts special election last week makes President Barack Obama an unimpressive zero for three. Since taking office, each time he's tried to help a Democrat secure an election victory -- the gubernatorial races in New Jersey and Virginia being the other two instances -- he has come up empty. It's a pretty stunning turnabout for the man named Ad Age's Marketer of the Year in 2008, when his masterful campaign infected a nation with a fever for change and the Democratic party rode his coattails to the kind of majorities in the House and Senate that all but guaranteed approval of key party policies. Now, undoubtedly, Brand Obama is tarnished. Some political analysts and consultants believe he fell victim to a common marketer mistake: being too slow to react to a new environment.

How Corporate Branding is Taking Over America

Naomi Klein
Jan 20, 2010

In May 2009, Absolut Vodka launched a limited edition line called "Absolut No ­Label." The company's global public relations manager, Kristina Hagbard, explained that "For the first time we dare to face the world completely naked. We launch a bottle with no label and no logo, to manifest the idea that no matter what's on the outside, it's the inside that really matters."

If Google Goes, So Do Many Digital Marketing Opportunities in China

Thomas Crampton
Jan 19, 2010

Normally China's internet censorship is a topic of hot interest for the Human Rights crowd at the State Department, but the fate of Google.cn in China should be watched closely by marketers, too. If the search site does disappear from the mainland, more is at stake than just paid search opportunities. Google is a key player in drawing advertisers to online media. The web -- and particularly the growing number of social networks -- have found the U.S. company to be a key catalyst for online marketing efforts.

U.S. Holds Fire in Google-China Feud

Jay Solomon, Ian Johnson and Jason Dean
Jan 14, 2010

U.S. government officials and business leaders were supportive but wary of taking sides in Google Inc.'s battle with China, a sign of the delicate tensions between the growing superpower and the West. The White House said it would wait to comment until China responded to Google's threat to bolt from China, over censorship and alleged cyber spying. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke called Google's charge that it and dozens of companies were hacked "troubling" and encouraged China "to work with Google and other U.S. companies to ensure a climate for secure commercial operations in the Chinese market."

Citing Attack, Google Says It May End Its Venture in China

Andrew Jacobs, Miguel Helft and John Markoff
Jan 13, 2010

Google’s stunning declaration that it would stop cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship and consider shutting down its operations in the country ricocheted around the world Wednesday. But in China itself, the news was heavily censored. Some big Chinese news portals initially carried a short dispatch on Google’s announcement but that account soon tumbled from the headlines and later reports omitted Google’s references to “free speech” and “surveillance.”

Four Trends for the 'Tens

Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Jan 11, 2010

Farewell and good riddance to the Decade of the Zeroes, when many people felt reduced to nothingness after two big economic bubbles burst. Welcome to the 2010s, a chance for a fresh start — sort of. The year opens with four trends that gained momentum in the past decade.

U.S. to Fine Airlines for Tarmac Delays, Impose 3-Hour Wait Limit

Dec 22, 2009

The U.S. on Monday issued tough financial penalties for airlines that "strand" passengers on the ground in a move likely to provoke an outcry from the industry. The new rules released by the U.S. Transportation Department would prohibit airlines from leaving passengers stuck on a runway for more than three hours and require that passengers be provided snacks and water during such delays. Airlines would be fined $27,500 per passenger for violations, far higher than any penalty so far imposed, and a move that could wipe out industry earnings. Currently, the Transportation Department issues fines for tarmac delays on case-by-case basis. The new rules, which would apply only to domestic flights and would take effect within 120 days, would be more severe than those proposed in legislation introduced earlier this year in Congress, administration officials said.

Murdoch Calls for Relaxation of US Rules

Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Kenneth Li
Dec 2, 2009

Governments can best help the news industry save itself by getting out of its way, Rupert Murdoch said on Tuesday, as he used a Washington podium to call for a relaxation of US media ownership rules. Unsuccessful publishers should be allowed to fail just as “a carmaker who makes cars no one wants to buy should fail,” the News Corp chairman and chief executive said, adding that government assistance “subsidises the failures and penalises the successes”.

When It Comes To Making Data Sexy, You Can't Be Too Graphic

Steve Mollman
Nov 12, 2009

The good news: data from governments and other organizations is increasingly open and online. The bad news: it's rather dull. The result? A booming interest in data visualization, which can transform boring stats into compelling graphical presentations explaining our world. "Institutions, governments and companies more and more are releasing and making publicly available their own data sets," notes Manuel Lima, an interaction designer and data visualization expert. But while "we are collecting data like maniacs," he adds, "our ability to gather data is much greater than our ability to make sense of that data."

How an Economist's Cry for Ethical Capitalism was Heard

Danielle Sacks
Oct 26, 2009

Noreena Hertz had to seduce Bono. The Cambridge University economist was writing a book on the developing world, and Bono's personal saga of getting the U.S. government to cancel more than $400 million of debt was just the pop-culture bridge she needed to move her ideas beyond the wonkish corridors of academia. After all, Hertz's motive for The Debt Threat -- a deep dive into the debt trap that, she argued, would have global consequences for all -- was to juice the campaign that had been building slowly in activist ranks. The book itself would be a battle cry (a postcard inside made it easy for U.K. readers to urge the prime minister to cancel billions owed by the world's poorest countries), and its release was pegged to hit before the 2005 G8 meeting. Hertz sent Bono an email, unsure if it would find him. To her astonishment, it did: "I'm so glad you got in touch," read the rock star's reply. "I'm a real fan of your work. Bono."

Do States Need to Act More Like Brands?

Oct 15, 2009

Do you appreciate your state? Feel like you get a decent return on your tax dollar? Would you recommend your state to friends as a place to live or, conversely, as a place to avoid? Is your state ascending or descending as a brand? States are already "branded" by their histories, economies and populations. California has great weather, beautiful scenery and tons of diversity. It's the land of the Gold Rush, Silicon Valley and Hollywood. Minnesota has icy winters, beautiful lakes and an educated work force. Florida and Arizona are havens for retirees, vacationers and snowbirds. You can look at a map and fill out the brands.

Fallacious Celebrations of Facebook Fans

Dr. Mark Drapeau
Sep 16, 2009

Publishing “top 10″ lists is unfortunately a staple of modern journalism. But alas, writers must drive readers’ eyeballs, even when discussing serious topics like the government. And so we find a new list that mixes Web 2.0 with the government: “Top 10 agencies with the most Facebook fans.” For the record, this list is topped by the White House with 327,592 fans, followed by the Marine Corps, Army, CDC, State Department, NASA, NASA JPL, Library of Congress, Air Force, and Environmental Protection Agency. Congratulations to all these hard-working agencies. But what exactly are we celebrating here?

Proactive Social Media: Filling the Information Space With Great Content

Mark Drapeau
Sep 4, 2009

I recently gave a talk titled Free the People! at the Potomac Forum’s Government 2.0 Leadership, Collaboration, and Public Engagement Symposium in Washington, DC that generated enough interest for me to post my slide deck and write a summary for a wider audience. These thoughts constitute some of my early ideas about “offensive social media” for organizations (this talk was particularly geared towards a government audience, but the fundamentals apply to the private and public sectors more broadly).

Drinks With a Jolt Draw New Scrutiny

Jul 17, 2009

Two hot-selling new beverages have come under scrutiny by state attorneys general concerned that the drinks' alcohol-and-caffeine content is a dangerous mix and may be designed to appeal to underage drinkers.

Can Open Government Be Gamed?

Jul 1, 2009

If information is power, the first step to gaining power is to get the right data. The Obama administration is a big proponent of opening up government data and making it digitally available. Today at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York City, the government’s new chief information officer Vivek Kundra announced USAspending.gov, a new site which launched today that tracks government spending with charts and lists ranking the largest government contractors (Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, etc.) and assistance recipients (Department of Healthcare Services, New York State Dept. of Health, Texas Health & Human Services Commission, etc.). There is also the Data.gov project, which is attempting to digitize government data and make it available in its raw form for citizens and companies to sift through.

Google Makes a Case That It Isn’t So Big

Jun 29, 2009

Google handles roughly two-thirds of all Internet searches. It owns the largest online video site, YouTube, which is more than 10 times more popular than its nearest competitor. And last year, Google sold nearly $22 billion in advertising, more than any media company in the world.

And Data for All: Why Obama's Geeky New CIO Wants to Put All Gov't Info Online

Jun 23, 2009

The Obama administration's most radical idea may also be its geekiest: Make nearly every hidden government spreadsheet and buried statistic available online, all in one place. For anyone to see. Are you searching for a Food and Drug Administration report that used to be obtainable only through the Freedom of Information Act? Just a mouseclick away. Need National Institutes of Health studies and school testing scores? Click. Census data, nonclassified Defense Department specs, obscure Securities and Exchange Commission files, prison statistics? Click click. Click. Click.

The API Revolution

Jeff Jarvis
Jun 18, 2009

It soon will be - if it not already is - known as the Twitter revolution in Iran. But I’ll think of it as the API revolution. For it’s Twitter’s architecture - which enables anyone to create applications that call and feed into it - that makes it all but impervious from blocking by tyrants’ censors. Twitter is not a site or a blog at an address. You don’t have to go to it. It can come to you.

The Gradual Googlifying of the Gov

Jun 4, 2009

With new titles like “deputy chief technology officer” for former Google head of global public policy Andrew McLaughlin, "director of citizen participation” for ex-Google project manager Katie Stanton, and head of the new White House Office of Social Innovation for economist Sonal Shah, once head of Google's philanthropic arm Google.org, it seems pretty clear that the Obama administration is racking up insiders from the grand monopolist of internet advertising just because it can.

Government Agencies Make Friends With New Media

Chris Snyder
Mar 26, 2009

Web 2.0, meet dot-gov. Dot-gov, this is Web 2.0. Or at least that's the plan, now that the Government Services Administration inked landmark agreements with several new media companies that clear up legal issues surrounding liability and government sunshine rules — thus easing their use by government agencies' websites.

All Hope Is Lost

Feb 20, 2009

From everything I can tell, the supposed details of the recovery plans delivered by GM and Chrysler to Washington this week make one thing perfectly clear: all hope is lost. Did anybody hear any reason to think that the Detroit automakers have figured out how to get people to buy their vehicles?

Obama Needs a Secretary of Innovation

Feb 12, 2009

Federal relief alone won't sustain the economy. A new Cabinet position would help to sharpen the focus on the innovation needed in the U.S.—and worldwide.

How Government Is Using Social Media to Respond to Citizens

Feb 5, 2009

Who says government moves too slowly? A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog entry on how the FDA might leverage social media to better address the peanut-butter and salmonella recall issue. Shortly thereafter, some ostensibly random dude named Andrew P. Wilson pinged me on Twitter with a heads-up that the Department of Health and Human Services is making headway on that very issue. Not only that, he said that on that very day, HHS started a social-media team.

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