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Do Finland’s digitally crowdsourced laws show a way to resolve democracy’s “legitimacy crisis”?

There is much discussion about a perceived “legitimacy crisis” in democracy. In his article The Rise of the Mediating Citizen: Time, Space, and Citizenship in the Crowdsourcing of Finnish Legislation, Taneli Heikka (University of Jyväskylä) discusses the digitally crowdsourced law for same-sex marriage that was passed in Finland in 2014, analysing how the campaign used […]

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Creating a semantic map of sexism worldwide: topic modelling of content from the “Everyday Sexism” project

When barrister Charlotte Proudman recently spoke out regarding a sexist comment that she had received on the professional networking website LinkedIn, hundreds of women praised her actions in highlighting the issue of workplace sexism – and many of them began to tell similar stories of their own. It soon became apparent that Proudman was not […]

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Ethics in Networked Systems Research: ACM SigComm Workshop Report

To maintain an open and working Internet, we need to make sense of how the complex and decentralised technical system operates. Research groups, governments, and companies have dedicated teams working on highly technical research and experimentation to make sense of information flows and how these can be affected by new developments, be they intentional or […]

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Crowdsourcing for public policy and government

If elections were invented today, they would probably be referred to as “crowdsourcing the government.” First coined in a 2006 issue of Wired magazine (Howe, 2006), the term crowdsourcing has come to be applied loosely to a wide variety of situations where ideas, opinions, labor or something else is “sourced” in from a potentially large […]

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Uber and Airbnb make the rules now — but to whose benefit?

Ride-hailing app Uber is close to replacing government-licensed taxis in some cities, while Airbnb’s accommodation rental platform has become a serious competitor to government-regulated hotel markets. Many other apps and platforms are trying to do the same in other sectors of the economy. In my previous post, I argued that platforms can be viewed in […]

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Why are citizens migrating to Uber and Airbnb, and what should governments do about it?

Cars were smashed and tires burned in France last month in protests against the ride hailing app Uber. Less violent protests have also been staged against Airbnb, a platform for renting short-term accommodation. Despite the protests, neither platform shows any signs of faltering. Uber says it has a million users in France, and is available […]

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How big data is breathing new life into the smart cities concept

“Big data” is a growing area of interest for public policy makers: for example, it was highlighted in UK Chancellor George Osborne’s recent budget speech as a major means of improving efficiency in public service delivery. While big data can apply to government at every level, the majority of innovation is currently being driven by […]

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Digital Disconnect: Parties, Pollsters and Political Analysis in #GE2015

Digital data generated during election campaigns are a valuable – but underused – source of information for political parties, pollsters and political analysts alike. They contain signals of what political parties are doing, how they are being received, and what people are thinking and talking about. The OII’s Helen Margetts and Scott Hale discuss how use of digital tools and social media by the two largest parties both, in different ways, illustrate a disconnect between the tightly controlled party campaigns, and the electorate on social media. These differences could lend a clue to why the opinion polls throughout the UK’s GE2015 campaign got it so wrong, and provide signposts for parties seeking to rebuild their relatioship with their supporters after this surprising election.

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