Copyright Done Right? Finland To Vote On Crowdsourced Regulations


Fast-Feed: “Talk about crowdsourcing: Finland is set to vote on a set of copyright laws that weren’t proposed by government or content-making agencies: They were drafted by citizens.
Finns are able to propose laws that the government must consider if 50,000 supporters sign a petition calling for the law within six months. A set of copyright regulations that are fairer to everyone just passed that threshold, and TorrentFreak.com reports that a government vote is likely in early 2014. The new laws were created with the help of the Finnish Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the body has promised that it will maintain pressure on the political system so that the law will actually be changed.
The proposed new laws would decriminalize file sharing and prevent house searches and surveillance of pirates. TorrentFreak reminds us of the international media outcry that happened last year when during a police raid a 9-year-old girl’s laptop was confiscated on the grounds that she stole copyrighted content. Finland’s existing copyright laws, under what’s called the Lex Karpela amendment, are very strict and criminalize the breaking of DRM for copying purposes as well as preventing discussion of the technology for doing so. The laws have been criticized by activists and observers for their strictness and infringement upon freedom of speech.”

The Role of Digital Media in Participatory Politics


Interview with Joseph Kahne, chair of the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics: “What we found was that many games provided civic learning opportunities, such as opportunities to take on the role of a leader—the president, for example—or opportunities to help others. There also were simulations where players had opportunities to work on a societal issue and to learn about institutional processes—how a legislature works, for example. And we found that when games provided those kinds of civic learning opportunities, playing them was associated with much higher commitments to civic engagement. We think some of the relationship was due to youth with civic interests choosing to play those games, and that some of the relationship was due to these games orienting youth towards the potential of civic activity. – …

Historically, the way I thought about how people engaged with the internet did not emphasize what Henry Jenkins and others refer to as “participatory culture.” I focused on whether people send email or look things up on the web. But that’s really not so different than what people did before. It’s just more efficient. The more I got involved, though, the more I began to see that the ways in which people participated with digital media actually transformed or enabled new kinds of engagement—or at least greatly facilitated the kinds of engagement that might have been possible before but would have been much less common. Such participation teaches norms and skills that end up being quite valuable in the civic realm—and it connects youth and adults to networks where they learn about issues and ways to get involved. – …
We found that many youth engage in nonpolitical forms of interest-driven activity— they’re part of online groups connected to their hobbies or sports or entertainment, for example. And we found that youth who engage in those nonpolitical, interest-driven activities become more engaged civically and politically even after controlling for their prior levels of civic and political engagement. That’s fascinating. – “

Why Contests Improve Philantropy


New Report from the Knight Foundation: “Since 2007, Knight Foundation has run or funded nearly a dozen open contests, many over multiple years, choosing some 400 winners from almost 25,000 entries, and granting more than $75 million to individuals, businesses, schools and nonprofits. The winners believe, as we do, that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. The contests reflect the full diversity of our program areas: journalism and media innovation, engaging communities and fostering the arts. Over the past seven years, we have learned a lot about how good contests work, what they can do, and what the challenges are. Though contests represent less than 20 percent of our grant-making, they have improved our traditional programs in myriad ways.
A 2009 McKinsey & Company Report, “And the winner is…, ” put it this way: “Every leading philanthropist should consider the opportunity to use prizes to help achieve their mission, and to accept the challenge of fully exploiting this powerful tool. ” But of America ‘s more than 76,000 grant-making foundations, only a handful, maybe 100 at most, have embraced the use of contests. That means 99.9 percent do not.
Sharing these lessons here is an invitation to others to consider how contests, when appropriate, might widen their networks, deepen the work they already do, and broaden their definition of philanthropic giving.
Before you launch and manage your own contests, you might want to consider the six major lessons we ‘ve learned about how contests improved our philanthropy.
1. They bring in new blood and new ideas.
2. They create value beyond the winners.
3. They help organizations spot emerging trends.
4. They challenge routines and entrenched foundation behaviors. 
5. They complement existing philanthropy strategies.
6. They create new ways to engage communities.
…Depending upon the competition, the odds of winning one of Knight’s contests are, at their lowest, one in six, and at their highest, more than one in 100. But if you think of your contest only as a funnel spitting out a handful of winning ideas, you overlook what’s really happening. A good contest is more a megaphone for a cause.”

Code for America: Announcing the 2013 Accelerator Class


Press Release: “Code for America opened applications for the 2013 Accelerator knowing that the competition would be fierce. This year we received over 190 applications from amazing candidates. Today, we’re pleased to announce the five teams chosen to participate in the 2013 Accelerator.

The teams are articulate, knowledgeable, and passionate about their businesses. They come from all over the country — Texas, North Carolina, Florida, and California  — and we’re excited to get started with them. Teams include:

ArchiveSocial enables organizations to embrace social media by minimizing risk and eliminating compliance barriers. Specifically, it solves the challenge of retaining Gov 2.0 communications for compliance with FOIA and other public records laws. It currently automates business-grade record keeping of communications on networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Moving forward, ArchiveSocial will help further enforce social media policy and protect the organizational brand.

The Family Assessment Form (FAF) Web is a tool designed by social workers, researchers, and technology experts to help family support practitioners improve family functioning, service planning for families, and organizational performance. The FAF is ideal for use in organizations performing home visitation services for families that address comprehensive concerns about family well-being and child welfare. FAF Web enables all stakeholders to access essential data remotely from any internet-enabled device.

OpenCounter helps entrepreneurs to register their businesses with the local government. It does so through an online check-out experience that adapts to the applicant’s answers and asks for pertinent information only once. OpenCounter estimates licensing time and costs so entrepreneurs can understand what it will take to get their business off the ground. It’s the TurboTax of business permitting.

SmartProcure is an online information service that provides access to local, state, and federal government procurement data, with two public-interest goals: 1. Enable government agencies to make more efficient procurement decisions and save taxpayer dollars. 2. Empower businesses to sell more effectively and competitively to government agencies. The proprietary system provides access to data from more than 50 million purchase orders issued by 1,700 government agencies.

StreetCred Software helps police agencies manage their arrest warrants, eliminate warrant backlogs, and radically improve efficiency while increasing officer safety. It helps agencies understand their fugitive population, measure effectiveness, and make improvements. StreetCred Software, Inc., was founded by two Texas police officers. One is an 18-year veteran investigator and fugitive hunter, the other a technology industry veteran who became an cop in 2010.”

Index: Participation and Civic Engagement


The Living Library Index – inspired by the Harper’s Index – provides important statistics and highlights global trends in governance innovation. This installment focuses on participation and civic engagement and was originally published in 2013.

  • Percent turnout of voting age population in 2012 U.S. Presidential election: 57.5
  • Percent turnout in 2008, 2004, 2000 elections: 62.3, 60.4, 54.2
  • Change in voting rate in U.S. from 1980 to most recent election: –29
  • Change in voting rate in Slovak Republic from 1980 to most recent election: –42, the lowest rate among democratic countries surveyed
  • Change in voting rate in Russian Federation from 1980 to most recent election: +14, the highest rate among democratic countries surveyed
  • Percent turnout in Australia as of 2011: 95, the highest rate among democratic countries surveyed
  • Percentage point difference in voting rates between high and low educated people in Australia as of 2011: 1
  • Percentage point difference in voting rates between high and low educated people in the U.S. as of 2011:  33
  • Number of Black and Hispanic U.S. voters in comparison to 2008 election: 1.7 million and 1.4 million increase
  • Number of non-Hispanic White U.S. voters in comparison to 2008 election: 2 million decrease, the only example of a race group showing a decrease in net voting from one presidential election to the next
  • Percent of Americans that contact their elected officials between elections: 10
  • Margin of victory in May 2013 Los Angeles mayoral election: 54-46
  • Percent turnout among Los Angeles citizens in May 2013 Los Angeles mayoral election: 19
  • Percent of U.S. adults that used social networking sites in 2012: 60
  • How many of which participated in a political or civic activity online: 2/3
  • Percent of U.S. social media users in 2012 that used social tools to encourage other people to take action on an issue that is important to them: 31
  • Percent of U.S. adults that belonged to a group on a social networking site involved in advancing a political or social issue in 2012: 12
  • Increase in the number of adults who took part in these behaviors in 2008: four-fold
  • Number of U.S. adults that signed up to receive alerts about local issues via email or text messaging in 2010: 1 in 5
  • Percent of U.S. adults that used digital tools digital tools to talk to their neighbors and keep informed about community issues in 2010: 20
  • Number of Americans that talked face-to-face with neighbors about community issues in 2010: almost half
  • How many online adults that have used social tools as blogs, social networking sites, and online video as well as email and text alerts to keep informed about government activities: 1/3
  • Percent of U.S. adult internet users that have gone online for raw data about government spending and activities in 2010: 40
  • Of which how many look online to see how federal stimulus money is being spent: 1 in 5
  • Read or download the text of legislation: 22%
  • How many Americans volunteered through or for an organization at least once between September 2011 and September 2012: 64.5 million
  • Median hours spent on volunteer activities during this time: 50
  • Change in volunteer rate compared to the year before: 0.3 decline

Sources

Digital Public Spaces


FutureEverything Publications: “This publication gathers a range of short explorations of the idea of the Digital Public Space. The central vision of the Digital Public Space is to give everyone everywhere unrestricted access to an open resource of culture and knowledge. This vision has emerged from ideas around building platforms for engagement around cultural archives to become something wider, which this publication is seeking to hone and explore.
This is the first publication to look at the emergence of the Digital Public Space. Contributors include some of the people who are working to make the Digital Public Space happen.
The Digital Public Spaces publication has been developed by FutureEverything working with Bill Thompson of the BBC and in association with The Creative Exchange.”

Accountability.Org: Online Disclosure by Nonprofits


Paper by Joannie Tremblay-Boire and Aseem Prakash: “Why do some nonprofits signal their accountability via unilateral website disclosures? We develop an Accountability Index to examine the websites of 200 U.S. nonprofits ranked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. We expect nonprofits’ incentives for website disclosures will be shaped by their organizational and sectoral characteristics. Our analysis suggests that nonprofits appearing frequently in the media disclose more accountability information while nonprofits larger in size disclose less. Religion-related nonprofits tend to disclose less information, suggesting that religious bonding enhances trust and reduce incentives for self-disclosure. Health nonprofits disclose less information, arguably because government-mandated disclosures reduce marginal benefits from voluntary disclosures. Education nonprofits, on the other hand, tend to disclose more accountability information perhaps because they supply credence goods. This research contributes to the emerging literature on websites as accountability mechanisms by developing a new index for scholars to use and proposing new hypotheses based on the corporate social responsibility literature.”

The Durkheim Project


Co.Labs: “A new project, newly launched by DARPA and Dartmouth University, is trying something new: Data-mining social networks to spot patterns indicating suicidal behavior.
Called The Durkheim Project, named for the Victorian-era psychologist, it is asking veterans to offer their Twitter and Facebook authorization keys for an ambitious effort to match social media behavior with indications of suicidal thought. Veterans’ online behavior is then fed into a real-time analytics dashboard which predicts suicide risks and psychological episodes… The Durkheim Project is led by New Hampshire-based Patterns and Predictions, a Dartmouth University spin-off with close ties to academics there…
The Durkheim Project is part of DARPA’s Detection and Computational Analysis of Psychological Signals (DCAPS) project. DCAPS is a larger effort designed to harness predictive analytics for veteran mental health–and not just from social media. According to DARPA’s Russell Shilling’s program introduction, DCAPS is also developing algorithms that can data mine voice communications, daily eating and sleeping patterns, in-person social interactions, facial expressions, and emotional states for signs of suicidal thought. While participants in Durkheim won’t receive mental health assistance directly from the project, their contributions will go a long way toward treating suicidal veterans in the future….
The project launched on July 1; the number of veterans participating is not currently known but the finished number is expected to hover around 100,000.”

The Future of Co-Creation and Crowdsourcing


New paper by Nick van Breda and Jan Spruijt: “This article reviews how co-creation is developing over the world and how different businesses are able to use co-creation. To give a clear sight of that, stories of companies, marketers and trend watchers will be used to tell about this phenomenon called crowdsourcing and co-creation. Marketers found a method to combine co-creation with the existing method of creating something new. Based on research we can now predict how co-creation will develop over the following years.
The evolution of co-creation is more exciting than we previously thought and we think that these results have to do with how the internet and social media have developed. A revolution is coming up and organizations will see an increase in turnover based on fast innovation and participation by the crowd.
We are living a world with a new dimension: a dimension where large organizations have no reason for existence when customers aren’t satisfied with their purchase, the organization’s service and most of all their feeling of participation. Consumers feel that they should have the power to change visions and missions of the old fashioned marketing way: the manipulative way to earn money. A dimension where 24/7 online is the key to succeed, fast responses to questions and remarks. In this time if continuous changes, creativity is a must.”

Governing Gets Social


Government Executive: “More than 4 million people joined together online in December 2011 to express outrage over the Stop Online Piracy Act, a bill Congress was considering that would have made content-sharing websties legally responsible for their users’ copyright violations, with punishments including prison time.
Experts called the campaign a victory for digital democracy: The people had spoken— the ones who don’t have lobbyists or make large campaign donations. And just as important, their representatives had listened.
There was a problem, though. Through social media, ordinary citizens told Congress and the president what they didn’t want. But the filmmakers, recording artists and others concerned about protecting intellectual property rights, many of whom supported SOPA, had a legitimate beef. And there was no good way to gauge what measures the public would support to address that.
A handful of staffers in the office of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., thought they might have a solution. As the debate over SOPA rose to a boil, they launched the Madison Project, an online forum where users could comment on proposed legislation, suggest alternative text and vote those suggestions up or down. It was a cross between Microsoft Word’s track changes function and crowdsourced book reviews on Amazon.
Not all examples of this new breed of interactive social media happen at the macro level of legislation and presidential directives. Agencies across government have been turning to the platform IdeaScale, for instance, to gather feedback on more granular policy questions.
Once an agency poses a question on IdeaScale, anyone can offer a response or suggestion and other discussion participants can vote those suggestions up or down. That typically means the wisdom of the masses will drive the best ideas from the most qualified participants to the top of the queue without officials having to sift through every suggestion….
What many people see as the endgame for projects like Madison and Textizen is a vibrant civic culture in which people report potholes, sign petitions and even vote online or through mobile devices.
The Internet is great at gathering and processing information, but it’s not as good at verifying who that information is coming from, says Alan Shark, a Rutgers University professor and executive director of the Public Technology Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on technology issues affecting local governments.
“Star Trek is here,” Shark says. “We have these personal communicators, their use is continuing to grow dramatically and we’re going to have broader civic participation because of it. The missing piece is trusted identities.”