Government 2.0

White House Will Allow Tech Team to Continue Dressing Like Brogrammers

Kind of like this. (Getty)

The White House is trying to join the 21st century by adding a “digital strike team to improve government technology,” the Hill reports. And in an effort to make the code monkeys feel more at home, the powers that be are not requiring them to dress up for work.

U.S. Digital Service head Mikey Dickerson isn’t necessarily rolling up to the office in a hoodie and Adidas slides, but he does keep it casual “in untucked shirts and rumple khakis,” the Hill says. Mr. Dickerson used to work for Google and was brought in to fix HealthCare.Gov last year. Read More

Government 2.0

White House Hires Ex-Googler To Fix Hideous Government Websites

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It doesn’t take a star UX designer to see that United States’ government and state websites are atrocious. No, it really only takes a quick visit to Florida’s official webpage to see that our national web presence is in serious need of an overhaul.

To that end, the White House announced yesterday that they’ve established the United States Digital Service to rehabilitate the government’s websites, the New York Times reports. The team lead is Mikey Dickerson, the man who was brought in to save Healthcare.gov after its complete release-date meltdown and subsequent troubles. Read More

We the People

The White House Says They’d Love for You to Be Able to Unlock Your Phones So Take It Up With Congress

"Should I go for a black car?" (Photo: blogcdn.com)

At the end of January, it became technically illegal for you to unlock your phone without your carrier’s permission, even if your contract had expired. The call was made by the Librarian of Congress, who (for some reason) oversees exceptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and decided that cellphone unlockers would no longer get a pass. Read More

Internet Democracy

Your Stupid White House Petition Now Requires 100,000 Signatures

(Photo: WhiteHouse.gov)

After a slew of stupid petitions cluttered the White House’s official petition platform We the People, the administration has decided to raise the bar for the amount of signatures required to elicit a White House response. Now, instead of 25,000 signatures (a number easily attainable by Redditors and 4chan enthusiasts), a petition will require 100,000 signatures in order to garner a response. Read More

Internet Democracy

White House Removes Petition for State Pokemon Because Seriously, This Is Getting Old

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This morning a petition on the White House’s official petition portal, We the People, began circulating across the web that asked the government to consider assigning each state a Pokemon character to represent it. It received under 1,000 signatures, but delighted swaths of “’90s ubernerds” nostalgic for a time when trading Pokemon cards on the playground was the most emotionally-fraught adventure of the day.

But a few hours after news of the petition broke, the White House yanked it from We the People, claiming that it violated the site’s Terms of Participation. We have to assume recognizing a state Pokemon is not exactly high up on the administration’s lengthy list of priorities. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Celebrating Diwali White House Style and Ben Lerer’s Beer Pong Skills

(Photo: Twitter)

In less than a week, you’ll be sitting on your parents’ couch with a belly full of booze and turkey watching shitty cable TV, because ain’t life grand? To tide you over until that wondrous day, we’re back with another batch of juicy rumors. Happy Friday!

Beer Me Storied New York venture capital firm Lerer Ventures knows its target audience. According to a tweet from Scoutmob cofounder Dave Payne, Lerer is hosting a beer pong tournament for some of the companies it has invested in. “just got invited to a beer pong tourney by one of our venture investors,” tweeted Mr. Payne. “that’s hard core @lererventures. well done.”

Competition at the tournament seems like it will be quite fierce. “hope you’ve been practicing,” responded Northeastern student Scott Edelstein. “i’ve seen@benjlerer win with his eyes closed.”

In fact, here’s proof: Read More

Big Data

Obama Administration Unveils Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights

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President Barack Obama is about to tear the wrapping off an apparent gift to Internet privacy advocates, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. The bill’s goal is to “protect all Americans from having their information misused by giving users new legal and technical tools to safeguard their privacy” from user data hogs like web giants Google, Apple and Microsoft. The measure will address your ability to control the information gathered about you as well as “transparency, respect for context, security, access and accuracy; focused collection and accountability.” Read More

The Third Degree

White-House-Approved Gen Y Seed Fund Helps Entrepreneurs from the 99 Percent With Student Loans

Mr. Gerber

Yesterday a new $10 million early stage seed investment fund called Gen Y Capital Partners launched out of its home base in New York City.

Its no coincidence that the White House’s announcement about easing student loan burdens for entrepreneurs came on the same day. After all part of Gen Y Capital’s business plan, which gets name-checked in the White House release, leverages the recently-reformed Income-Based Repayment plan to help startup founders pay off their student loans. Yup, you read that right. Pay off, not defer.

Betabeat talked to Gen Y founder Scott Gerber, author of Never Get a “Real” Job and founder of the non-profit Young Entrepreneur Council, about how student loans play into entrepreneurship and why Gen Y can help the 99 percent. Read More