April 2012

SODO Business Association Has a New Look

Check out the SODO Business Association’s new interactive website launched in March! With support from a Technology Matching Fund Civic Engagement grant, the association added features like blogging to enable them to interact with the SODO community as well as surrounding communities. Give your opinion on the possibility of a new basketball-hockey stadium in the area. Read and comment on issues affecting the SODO community that are important to you.

City Clerk’s Office Unveils New Homepage

The Seattle City Clerk’s Office launched their new homepage today. This is the first step in improving overall site and database navigation and access to the City’s vast collection of legislative and archive records.

Visit the City Clerk’s Office online here.

“Seattle City Council is proud to enhance government access and transparency. This new web portal does just that,” stated Council President Sally J. Clark.

The City Clerk’s homepage features a slide show of civic and historical education campaigns and a live feed of the City Clerk’s blog entries, including access to summaries of legislation recently passed by the Council. This new design follows a similar layout of the City Council’s homepage, which brands the City of Seattle’s Legislative Department.

“We are pleased to share the updated homepage featuring user-friendly access standards and infrastructure improvements,” according to Seattle City Clerk Monica Martinez Simmons. “The Clerk’s Office is the frontline for legislation, records and archives access. We look forward to better serving our residents and community stakeholders.”

Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast and Webcast live on Seattle Channel 21 and on the City Council’s website. Copies of legislation, Council meeting calendar, and archives of news releases can be found on the City Council website. Follow the Council on Twitter and on Facebook.

National Digital Inclusion Framework Out

There are still 100 million Americans who do not have a broadband connection to the Internet. In response, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), together with the University of Washington and the International City/County Management Association, has released Building Digital Communities: A Framework for Action and its companion primer Building Digital Communities: Getting Started, to help communities raise awareness and plan strategies for greater broadband access and adoption. See more on the IMLS press release.

New City Tech Advisors

Ben Krokower and Beryl Fernandes have been appointed to the City of Seattle’s Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB). Beryl is serving on the Digital Inclusion Plan committee and chairing the Seattle Channel committee. Ben is on the Broadband and Get Online Week / Community Capacity Building committees.

Both new members bring a great deal of valuable experience to the board. Ben is the owner of Upwards Technologies, providing web site and database consulting for local non-profit and political organizations. He has worked with the Downtown Seattle Association, the Pride Foundation, and on various campaigns. He also worked at Microsoft as a Development Lead.

Beryl Fernandes is an urban planning, community development, and performance management consultant. She has more than 20 years’ professional experience in the public, nonprofit and small business sectors. Beryl is also very familiar with the work of community technology centers and has been a mentor for El Centro de La Raza’s after-school technology program.

Free Internet for Nonprofits

Are you running a nonprofit school, library or community institution? Are you attempting to bridge the digital divide or providing technology services to your constituents? Are you in Seattle? Then you may be eligible to receive high speed Internet access. The City of Seattle has contracted with the City’s cable internet providers to provide high speed Internet access to a limited number of nonprofits in the area. Contact Derrick Hall at (206) 233-5061 or email derrick.hall@seattle.gov.

Google’s Privacy Policy: How It Affects You

On March 1, Google collapsed 60 privacy policies and combined them into a single one that combines information about its users. While the change has caused a lot of concern, Google is actually just codifying what it already does.

The new privacy policy doesn’t allow Google to collect more information about its users, but what it does is allow itself to do more with the information it already collects across it’s services – YouTube, Gmail, Blogger, Google TV, Google Plus and Web History collected through Google.com. This information is then used to fine-tune its targeted advertising and could be tailored to a user’s search history.

The problem: Let’s say a person searches for a topic that they don’t want to have known to others, such as “domestic violence.” The next time the browser is opened, there may be increased advertisement of domestic violence prevention services available in their area. The next person using this computer, and browser, may not be the same person who conducted the search initially.

While you can’t prevent Google from collecting any of your search data, there are a few steps you can take.

Users can turn off the setting that allows Google to record their search history. To get to this menu, go to google.com/history or head to the “Account Settings” menu from the top navigation bar you see when signed in to your Google account. Scroll down to the “Services” section. From here, you can pause, edit or remove all Web History. On some accounts, you can also go to the “Products” section of your account settings and click the “Edit” link next to “Your Products.”

Another way is to not sign in to any accounts, but this can be difficult if you are always signed into your Gmail account. YouTube, Google Search and Google Maps don’t require a sign on in order to search, but they will still collect data.

We will try to continue to bring you more information and useful tips over the next few months about how these changes have impacted users and ways you can continue to protect your privacy while using Google services.

For more security tips, check out the techtalk blog.

Next 50

April kicks off Seattle Center’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the World’s Fair and it’s going to be awesome and packed with activity online and on the ground. Each month features a different theme with arts and culture running throughout. See more here.