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We the People

  1. The White House “We the People” Petition Site Gets a New API, Third-Party Sites and Apps Can Soon Host Petitions

    Does this mean more pointless petitions? Probably.

    Since we're a geek culture site we tend to focus on the sillier "We the People" petitions like asking Obama to recreate The Incredibles, give each state its own Pokémon, or build a Death Star. We have a feeling we'll be seeing more of these, because the White House is opening up the site's API to let third-party outlets host petitions.

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  2. White House Officially Agrees We Should Be Able to Unlock Our Phones

    When it's not wasting time answering demands to build a Death Star, the White House's We The People online petition site can actually be used to get real responses to legitimate concerns on issues facing Americans. Today, in response to a petition signed by over 114,000 people, the White House issued a response on the issue of it now being illegal to unlock cell phone. The response? They agree it should be legal, because of course it should.

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  3. Kickstarter Jumps the Shark, Offers Campaign to Fund a Death Star

    Fifty years from now, when we all look back at what once was, and we fondly remember how Kickstarter used to be a great way for artists and inventors to fund projects that might not otherwise be possible, we could very well remember this campaign as Kickstarter's jump-the-shark moment. After the White House refused to build a Death Star, someone started a joke Kickstarter campaign to build one anyway, and it already has more than 1,000 supporters.

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  4. Facebook Launches Meaningless New “Ask Our CPO” Feature

    Facebook is trying to make it look like they are keeping their public dialogue on user privacy going by introducing their new "Ask Our Chief Privacy Officer" feature. It allows users to ask direct questions of Facebook CPO Erin Egan, but it's based around the idea that one person can answer the questions of a billion users. Every month Egan will answer a few submitted questions, but I have a better suggestion for how Facebook can deal with concerns from users.

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  5. The White House is Officially Sick of This Crap, Requires More Signatures for Petition Responses

    Since the Obama administration launched online petition site We The People in September 2011, the digital team at the White House has learned some valuable lessons about human behavior on the Internet -- namely, that if you offer people a forum for voicing their opinions on the Internet, they are mostly just going to troll you with demands for Death Stars and official state Pokemon and that they be allowed to go start their own country because they really don't like the way most people voted, which is how democracy works. While it's kind of disappointing that the digital team for the White House didn't apparently see this sort of thing coming -- you've seen the Internet before, right digital team? -- it seems like they're starting to get a handle on things, or at least stemming the tide of petitions that will require action. Yesterday, they announced that they are quadrupling the number of electronic signatures a petition needs to get to merit an official response from the government from 25,000 to 100,000.

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  6. Petition to Fire Aaron Swartz’s Prosecutor Hits Required Signatures for White House Response

    Aaron Swartz committed suicide on January 11th, and while no one but Swartz will ever truly know why, many have speculated that the legal troubles he was facing were a factor. He was being aggressively prosecuted for unlawfully obtaining information and recklessly damaging a protected computer after he made repeated efforts to steal files from JSTOR. The District Attorney leading the case against him was D.A. Carmen Ortiz, and the We the People petition to have her fired has already hit the required number of signatures needed to receive a White House response.

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  7. Anonymous Posts Petition for White House to Declare DDoS Attacks Protests, Not Crimes

    Yesterday we covered the White House's response to the petition asking them to build a working Death Star. Sometimes though, people try to use the government's We the People petition program to try to accomplish things that might be possible. Anonymous has posted a petition to the site asking that the US Government officially declare Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks to be a form of protest, and not a crime. This stands about as much of a chance as the government building a Death Star, and the response probably won't be nearly as funny.

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  8. This Isn’t the Article on the White House’s Death Star Petition Response You’re Looking For

    As you may or may not be aware, there's a petition over on We the People, which is where folks post petitions to potentially receive an official response from the United State government, requesting that the Obama administration "[s]ecure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016." Like, Star Wars Death Star. Ordinarily, this would just be an amusing blip on the radar, covered by our sister site The Mary Sue back in December. That was before Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, penned an official White House response to it.

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  9. We Can Still Send Master Chief to The White House… As a Statue

    The 2012 presidential election is over, and despite a valiant campaign, Halo series hero Master Chief will not be bringing his personal brand of interstellar diplomacy to the White House any time soon... Or will he? There's still a chance that fans could get the government to bring everybody's favorite nondescript space marine to the nation's capital, at least as a lawn ornament. You see, someone filed an official petition this week suggesting that president Obama commission a statue of Master Chief petty officer spartan John-117 and put it outside the White House.

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  10. White House Responds to Two Anti-SOPA Petitions

    Just because there is a system for everyday folks to submit petitions to the White House doesn't mean that the Obama administration has to respond. However, in the case of two anti-SOPA petitions, the White House decided to weigh in on the subject. Not to spoil it, but if you were hoping for a firm promise to veto the legislation, you're going to be disappointed. It's not all bad news, though, and the response does give insight into the stance of the Executive Branch of government on this hot-button topic.

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