This week’s political/digital news focused on issues of transparency, from public records to open data to President Barack Obama releasing his long-form birth certificate online. It’s a clear indication that the web is an ever more important platform for engaging the public.
The web and social media have already become major battlegrounds in the run-up to the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Mashable is keeping you up to date on the details in this weekly series tracking the intersection of digital technology and politics. Have an opinion? Join the conversation in the comments.
After years of speculation, the White House decided to release the long-form version of Obama’s certificate via the White House Blog Wednesday. The certificate, from Hawaii’s Department of Health, shows exactly what we knew from the short-form certificate released in 2008: Obama was born in the United States and is eligible to be the president. While the release calmed the debate, some — like Donald Trump — demanded more papers, such as Obama’s college records. (Trump’s actions forced at least one top-tier advertiser to distance itself from his NBC show, The Apprentice.)
“We do not have time for this kind of silliness,” Obama said at a press conference Wednesday. “We’ve got better stuff to do. I’ve got better stuff to do.”
U.S. Congresswomen Denounce Hacker Attacks on Change.org
This week Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton asking her to publicly denounce attacks on Change.org, a social activism platform. The site recently suffered DDoS attacks from unnamed hackers following a campaign calling for the release of Chinese artist Ai WeiWei. Ai was taken into custody by police at an airport in Beijing earlier this month. Change.org has been sporadically blocked in China in the past few years, said a spokesperson for the social activism site. “There’s no evidence that this has come from the Chinese government, but clearly the circumstantial evidence is pretty powerful,” the spokesperson said.
DeLauro was joined by Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., minority leader of the House of Representatives, who announced her participation with this tweet: “@NancyPelosi: I join @rosedelauro in denouncing attacks from China on @change because of activism to free Ai WeiWei.”
House Speaker & Majority Leader Call for New Data Standards
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., wrote a letter to the House calling for the development and adoption of new electronic data standards to help make legislative information more accessible and transparent.
“The Rules of the House, adopted on the opening day of this Congress, directed the Committee on House Administration to establish and maintain electronic data standards for the House and its committees. We have asked that this standard be developed … for the purpose of transitioning the House to more open data formats, such as XML.”
In the letter, Boehner and Cantor say that legislative data is the property of the American public and as such should be made available in order to “rebuild the trust between Congress and the people we serve.” Both pegged the Internet as the right tool to bridge that gap and promote transparency.
Donald Trump Dominates the Social Web
Given his penchant for controversy, it’s not surprising that potential presidential candidate Donald Trump is outranking all his competitors when it comes to social media chatter. An infographic released by Meltwater Group shows how much The Donald outranks major GOP players like Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney.
For more Social Media coverage:
- Follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter
- Become a Fan on Facebook
- Subscribe to the Social Media channel
- Download our free apps for Android, Mac, iPhone and iPad