Civic Engagement

How an Investigation of Fake FCC Comments Snared a Prominent DC Media Firm

Millions of records that the Federal Communications Commission’s top lawyer once fought to hold back from state law enforcement officials now serve as key evidence in a year-long probe into cases of Americans being impersonated during the agency’s latest net neutrality proceeding.

Inclusion and Civic Engagement in Public Technology Building and Planning

Whether they are Wi-Fi kiosks, urban sensors, fiber networks, or built-from-scratch “smart” neighborhoods, new urban technology deployments are under the microscope. Despite the potential of these projects to drive innovation and economic growth, they are often met with mixed reception and a myriad of justifiable questions. Take the Quayside project in Toronto led by Sidewalk Labs.

U.S. Press Freedom in Crisis: Journalists Under Arrest in 2020

Freedom of the Press Foundation's newest report shows that there have been at least 117 verified cases of a journalist being arrested or detained on the job in the US in 2020. The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker is also still investigating more than a dozen additional reports of arrests or detentions. Arrests of journalists skyrocketed by more than 1200% in comparison to 2019. In just one week, from May 29 - June 4, more reporters were arrested in the U.S. than in the previous three years combined. Arrests occurred in more than two dozen cities across the country.

Increasing Public Engagement and Transparency at the FCC by Holding a Second Monthly Meeting

This proposal outlines a series of actions to introduce a second monthly meeting of the five commissioners who comprise the Federal Communications Commission. During the additional meeting, FCC staff should present on major items that might be brought before the Commission for a vote in the next several months. This forward-looking monthly meeting gives the public information needed to provide meaningful input to the Commission prior to its decision-making. The meeting would also improve the Commissioners’ own ability to respond to policy recommendations.

A Democracy Without Broadband

Access to affordable broadband is crucial for a functioning 21st century democracy. As technology advances, many of our basic democratic values depend on robust connectivity. Broadband enhances civic engagement, participation in the democratic process, and a responsive government.

Census 2020 Exposes Deep Digital Divide and Reinforces Need for Paper Options

Popular narratives about the digital divide that separates our nation are too often anchored narrowly on the mere availability of broadband in a community. And now, emerging narratives about Census 2020 self-reporting issues routinely fail to look beyond the pandemic disruptions. Physical paper Census forms had been the traditional means of survey and reply, and the expectation for generations of respondents. But the Census Bureau made the calculation this year that 78.2% of households should want to, would be able to — and simply would just jump online to self-report crucial information.

American Views 2020: Trust, Media and Democracy

For the 2020 American Views survey, Gallup and Knight polled more than 20,000 U.S. adults and found deepening pessimism and further partisan entrenchment about how the news media delivers on its democratic mandate for factual, trustworthy information. Many Americans feel the media’s critical role of informing and holding those in power accountable is compromised by increasing bias. As such, Americans have not only lost confidence in the ideal of an objective media, they believe news organizations actively support the partisan divide.

The Summer of Our Discontent

The summer of our discontent steams more hotly by the day: a deadly and surging pandemic taking more than 130,000 lives across the nation; an economy bleeding millions of jobs and livelihoods and denying basic subsistence to many; mass protests assembling in streets nationwide to demonstrate against systemic racism and police brutality; and dysfunctional government at all levels and in every branch from White House to Congress to courthouses to statehouses and often beyond. Can we handle it? Can America conquer its ills and overcome? Can our democracy itself deal with its discontents? 

G&T Podcast: Tip of the Iceberg: How Law Enforcement Surveils Protestors & Communities of Color

On Episode 5 of G&T: Tech on the Rocks, Gigi Sohn talks to Color of Change Campaign Advisor Brandi Collins-Dexter about the history of surveillance of civil rights protestors and communities of color, how sophisticated technologies have made spying ubiquitous and what protestors can do to protect themselves. They also discuss Color of Change's efforts to get Facebook to moderate hate speech and how to ensure that tech companies incorporate civil rights principles in every aspect of their businesses.

They Used Smartphone Cameras to Record Police Brutality—and Change History

In the last decade, the smartphone has become a tool for witnessing police violence toward African Americans. From the 2009 killing of Oscar Grant to the 2020 killing of George Floyd, we reviewed the footage and talked to the people who captured it, to see how the accounts of racial injustice became clearer as the phones evolved. “This is our only tool we have right now. It is the most effective way to get us justice,” said Feidin Santana, who used his smartphone in 2015 to film a police officer killing Walter Scott in South Carolina. “The smartphone is a weapon that tells the story.