How NYC is Adopting Data-Driven Analytics to Address Public Needs

Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced that Michael Flowers, Director of Analytics the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, will now serve as the city’s first Chief Analytics Officer. In an interview, Flowers tells TechPresident the role change comes from the growing importance of cross-agency collaboration in our digital city.

In his new role, Michael Flowers will be helping city agencies share data with one another and the public, turning internal metrics into tools that help the city predict trouble spots and prioritize its response to complaints.

Under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, New York City has emerged as a world leader in technological innovation. As mentioned in the article:

As with Chief Digital Officer Rachel Haot and Chief Information and Innovation Officer Rahul Merchant, Flowers is the first person in city history to hold his title. Sterne’s first job was to get the city’s front-facing web presences and social media communications strategies in order, as well as open channels of communication between city officials and New York’s top tech talent. Merchant, as CIIO, has authority to direct IT strategy across agencies, consolidating and sharing services.

Personal Democracy Plus subscribers can read the full interview here.

Last Tuesday at the American Society of News Editors annual conference, on a panel called “Watergate 4.0: How Would the Story Unfold in the Digital Age?” (Click photo to read)

“The basic point is: The truth of what goes on is not on the Internet. [The Internet] can supplement. It can help advance. But the truth resides with people. Human sources.”-  Veteran Investigative Journalist, Bob Woodward
How the German Pirate Party's "Liquid Democracy" Works

As their numbers grow, the Pirate Party’s uniquely technological bent has come in handy. Members have tools at their disposal to discuss issues online in large-scale dialogue, then bring the conversation offline to reach official consensus at party conventions.

External image

The Pirates was the first party to try implementing liquid democracy, but others now are cautiously following suit.

Fill out NYC's Civic Hacker survey and be entered to win a ticket to PDF 2014
TL;DR version > FILL OUT THIS SURVEY & WIN PDF TICKETS! > Great news from our friends at Personal Democracy Media!!! If you fill out the BetaNYC survey you will be eligible to win 1 ticket to the Personal Democracy Forum conference (value $650) or one of 5 subscriptions to TechPresident, a daily newsletter on tech and government (value $75). Don’t worry, anyone who has filled out the BetaNYC survey is eligible to win.  A huge thank you to PDM for their support of BetaNYC! Personal Democracy Forum - is in its second decade of being the hub of politics and technology. June 5th and 6th, 2014, people will gather in NYC from dozens of professional, political, and cultural stratifications, from down the block, and across the world. TechPresident is your daily source for news about how technology is changing politics, government and civic life. This offer ends, March 15.  Winners announced on March 17th.
"Why The Remarkably Similar Circumvention Tools uProxy and Lantern Are Not Overkill" - Jessica Mckenzie for TechPresident

Want to learn more about uProxy, Lantern, and other circumvention tools? Jessica Mckenzie interviews Adam Fisk for TechPresident about the differences between uProxy and Lantern, and the future goals for Lantern.

Could 18f Work on Meaningful Problems?

When I left working full-time at the Sunlight Foundation (I’m officially in Day One of my retirement) I wasn’t sure whether I would write much – and still am not sure whether how much I will contribute to this blog.  But I find that even as I begin to settle  into this next phase of my life, I want to muse from time to time.

Tonight I ran across this article (from my good friends at Tech President) about the redesign of, the author suggesting that the design project is a perfect fit for the innovative and creative new in-house government tech team (populated by many former Sunlighters) at 18f, part of the GSA. The goal: to develop a new government portal outdoor trip planning. 

Think. About. That. For. A. Nanosecond.

Why in God’s name would the talented people at 18f spend their time to help people – or travel businesses or nonprofit organizations – improve their use of government data for travel planning?  I bet that in 10 seconds you could name 10 other important data sets that should be made accessible for third party applications that could, do something really useful such as, improve the health of people working around dangerous chemicals, the cleanliness of our restaurants, the safety of miners, etc.

If 18f spends its time working on issues like this one – even if they build the coolest app ever – it will be a total waste. When there are so many problems facing this country, maybe 18f should focus on one or two – or three of four –  that might create some meaningful change or accountability?

Thanks to Jessica McKenzie and Tech President for this article, the overall content is great. However, we want everyone to know that we love our friends at Tor Project, no one is better at anonymity than them! Our focus is on getting people fast access to censored sites. We encourage people to use Tor for anonymity and Lantern for access. We are not looking to compete, nor are we seeking to be bigger and better - instead we are hoping to build a more open and uncensored internet together.

The Second Open Government Partnership Summit


The goal of the Open Government Partnership is to get governments to make (and carry out) concrete commitments that promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance.

How’s that going? At the end of the month about 1,200 OGP participants came together for the initiative's third annual summit. Over the course of the event we shared analyses and documentation of the issues that made it onto the agenda, the lessons learned and the next steps.

Running Posts in the Open Thread: