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Alexander Howard
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In May 2015, Alexander B. Howard became the first senior editor for technology and society at The Huffington Post. He is a former research fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University and the Ash Center for Democratic Innovation in Governance at the Harvard Kennedy School. In 2013, Howard founded, a blog focused on open government and civic technology. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent for O’Reilly Media, an associate editor at TechTarget, and contributed to TechPresident, TechRepublic, WIRED, National Journal, PBS Mediashift, The Daily Beast, NextGov, Forbes, Buzzfeed, Slate, The Atlantic, Govfresh, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, and The Association for Computer Manufacturing, among other fine publications. Howard is a frequent speaker, conference moderator, and occasional analyst for public radio. He is a graduate of Colby College. You can reach him at

Entries by Alexander Howard

OK, Google: Please Collect Air Pollution Data With Street View Cars

(0) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 10:27 AM

Imagine asking your phone to calculate the optimal route for cycling to work while enjoying the best air quality, or calculating whether it's better to just take the train or bus to reduce pollution. Similar requests might soon be possible.

On Tuesday, Google and Aclima, a San Francisco-based startup that...

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White House Responds To Remaining 'We The People' E-Petitions

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2015 | 9:51 AM

The White House responded on Tuesday to all of the unanswered online petitions that have met the minimum requirement of 100,000 signatures on its "We The People" platform

Twenty petitions received responses, including one requesting a pardon for Edward Snowden, one to require labels for genetically modified foods and...

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Software And Robots Eat Jobs. Now What?

(0) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 11:05 AM

In a story for Vox Monday, Matt Yglesias argues that we shouldn't be worried about losing our jobs to robots -- or to any other kind of sophisticated tech that can do the work of a human. What should worry us, Yglesias suggests, is the possibility that this doesn't happen.


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How Uber And The On-Demand Economy Are Changing The Way We Live

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2015 | 1:32 PM

Now that the Uberization of everything is breaking into mainstream politics, it's time to talk about what on-demand apps such as Uber or Pager will mean for transport, health care or other aspects of modern life and work.

MIT research professor Andrew McAfee is the co-author of The Second...

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Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'Accessibility Rights Are Human Rights'

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2015 | 10:22 AM

As the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act draws near, how the landmark accessibility law will apply to websites is still in limbo. In a tweet Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook made one of the clearest statements by any business leader to date about the importance of...

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Online Town Halls Like Clinton's Facebook Q&A Aren't A Substitute For Real Press Conferences

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2015 | 10:00 AM

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hasn't given many national media interviews on the campaign trail, so when she took to Facebook on Monday for a question-and-answer session, journalists eagerly peppered her with queries. (Clinton answered a question I asked her there, signaling her support for more flexible benefits for workers...

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U.S. Government Acquires FAFSA Website That Was Confusing Students (UPDATE)

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2015 | 2:44 PM

The federal government has been taking down websites that host illegal activity for years, but in taking over a website -- specifically,, which until recently had been operated by the company Student Financial Aid Services, Inc. -- the Department of Education is doing something unusual.

FAFSA is the Free Application for...

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New Federal Watchdog Has Dubious Track Record

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2015 | 11:17 AM

The U.S. has a new ombudsman for the Freedom of Information Act. This week, Archivist of the United States David Ferriero announced that James Holzer would be the new director of the Office of Government Information Services at the U.S. National Archives, beginning on August 9. Among other things, he'll be...

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Google Patents A Way To Search A Video Archive Of Your Life

(0) Comments | Posted July 22, 2015 | 2:02 PM

The future can often arrive sooner and more mundanely than we expect.

This morning, I learned that Google took another small step toward replacing our brains by enabling the users of its Maps software to visualize all of the places they have been with their smartphone.

In the afternoon, I learned that...

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Knight News Challenge Gives $3.2M To 22 Ideas To Inform The Public And Increase Voting

(1) Comments | Posted July 22, 2015 | 12:30 PM

If the voting process is easier, maybe more people will vote. If the public is more inspired about the electoral process, maybe more of us will participate. If more information about politicians is disclosed, maybe more of the public will be better informed. If the campaign speeches of candidates are...

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We Need To Protect Drivers' Privacy As We Connect Cars To The Internet, Sen. Blumenthal Says

(0) Comments | Posted July 22, 2015 | 9:29 AM

Connecting a car to the Internet raises different concerns than putting sensors, appliances, parking meters or thermostats online. That's why Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act on Tuesday. If passed into law, the bill would require automobile manufacturers to...

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On The 25th Anniversary Of The ADA, The Future Of Online Accessibility Is In Limbo

(0) Comments | Posted July 21, 2015 | 1:11 PM

President Barack Obama may be talking to telepresence robots in the White House, but his administration is still deciding to what extent website operators should accommodate the disabled people using them. 

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Senate Bill Aims To Lock Hackers Out Of Connected Cars

(1) Comments | Posted July 21, 2015 | 9:51 AM

The road to our connected future may be paved with good intentions, but it may not be secure enough to drive on.

As reporter Andy Greenberg recently detailed in Wired, hackers were able to remotely disable a Jeep while he was driving it. In a country where car ownership and the...

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Hillary Clinton Hints She'd Support Flexible Benefits For Gig Economy Workers

(0) Comments | Posted July 20, 2015 | 3:22 PM

If America's economic future includes on-demand labor in a "gig economy," then American policymakers will need to build modern safety nets to protect and support tens of millions of people seeking income on mobile platforms like Uber.

In a Facebook question-and-answer forum on Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton...

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'Civic Eagle' App Wants To Bring Americans Face To Face In Online Debate

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2015 | 5:10 PM

Whether a social network will become popular depends upon far more than the technology its creators deploy. Its fate rests on who its earliest users are and how they put its features to use. As many failed efforts demonstrate, the success or failure of social networks also may depend on...

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Nation's 'Father-in-Chief' Bans Phones From The Family Dinner Table

(1) Comments | Posted July 16, 2015 | 11:50 AM

President Barack Obama made a simple request Wednesday to young people spending eight hours a day looking at their screens: Please look up. In announcing the "Connect Home" initiative to provide Internet access to low-income communities, Obama shared some advice in an aside, suggesting that America's teenagers may be a...

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White House Wants To Close Homework Gap

(1) Comments | Posted July 16, 2015 | 9:57 AM

The White House launched a new Housing and Urban Development program Wednesday to connect low-income households in dozens of communities to the Internet. Called "Connect Home," the initiative will provide low-cost or free Internet to thousands of people in 27 cities around the United States and, crucially, subsidized tablets and digital...

Read Post Makes It Easier To Email Your Representatives

(1) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 5:44 PM

In 2015, emailing your U.S. representative and senators is still far harder than it should be. The appropriately titled was designed to solve this problem. (In the technology world, I/O refers to input/output, which aptly describes communicating with your representatives in Congress.)

Instead of visiting,

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Health Care On Demand? There's Now An App For That, Too.

(0) Comments | Posted July 14, 2015 | 2:03 PM

Years ago, doctors on call used to wear a pager. Today, Pager uses the Internet to connect doctors with people who need care.

In New York City, 20 board-certified doctors and 15 nurses...

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It's Time To Talk About The 'Gig Economy'

(0) Comments | Posted July 14, 2015 | 9:40 AM

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have focused on middle-class wages in a sweeping economic policy speech Monday, but her comments on the "gig economy" are drawing fire as Republicans seek to bolster their tech credibility. Get ready for an "Uber Election," with Uber's allies in the...

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