Emerging Tech

special report

We The People

We the People was launched on Whitehouse.gov for petitioning the Obama administration. Online petitions that meet a threshold of signatures are reviewed by officials. Popular petitions have included federal legalization of marijuana, UFO investigations and secession from the United States.

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A member of the St. Louis County Police Department points his weapon in the direction of a group of protesters in Ferguson, Mo.

We the People Weighs in on Ferguson

August 15, 2014 The popular petition site is calling for new technology to curb police abuse.

White House Makes It Easier to Sign We the People Petitions

June 26, 2014 Site no longer requires an account.

The Canadian pop star's concerts involve pyrotechnics and backupdancers.

White House: No Deportation for Justin Bieber

April 21, 2014 Obama administration declines to comment on anti-Bieber We the People petition.

Not a Belieber: Senator Offers to Sign Digital Petition to Deport Pop Star

February 4, 2014 Warner tells Virginia radio show that he'll join the We the People effort once he finds it online.

Never Say Never: Bieber Deportation Lands on Obama's Desk

January 31, 2014 We The People petition gets enough signatures to require a White House response.

The White House Owes Responses to 30 Citizen Petitions; Some Have Been Waiting for Years

January 2, 2014 The administration faces a backlog of qualifying petitions under a program it created.

FCC Deal Makes It Easier to Unlock Your Cellphone

December 13, 2013 Agreement comes after 114,000 people petitioned the White House.

This 6-Year-Old Wants to Be an Astronaut, So He's Petitioning the White House to Save NASA

December 10, 2013 Connor Johnson started by donating his allowance to the cause. Then he decided to do more.

Protestors gathered in Kiev on Nov. 30.

We the Ukrainian People

December 2, 2013 The White House site has been flooded with petitions related to violence in the former Soviet state.

White House Must Weigh In on Kimmel-China Controversy

November 22, 2013 We the People petitioners upset after child on Kimmel’s show suggests killing Chinese people.

Testers Wanted for New Tool to Make It Easier to Petition the White House

November 4, 2013 We the People Write API will help groups gather petition signatures.

 Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is one of the lawmakers signed up for the service.

Now You Can Petition Some Members of Congress Directly

October 23, 2013 Paul Ryan and Elizabeth Warren are among the early adopters of a website that invites citizens to tell lawmakers what they really want.

A Key Element of SOPA Is Back

August 27, 2013 And so are the petitioners on We the People, as they try to keep YouTube song covers from becoming felonies.

Analysis: Is Online Transparency Just a Feel-Good Sham?

August 21, 2013 Programs claim to let Americans participate more directly in government, with few tangible results, critics say.

The White House Didn't Promise to Respond Quickly

August 14, 2013 Website listing unanswered We the People petitions is built with streaming data supplied by the White House.

White House Responds to Another Round of Gun Petitions

August 13, 2013 The appeals followed the shooting of 20 children at a Connecticut elementary school in December.

Is Engagement Delayed Engagement Denied?

July 23, 2013 Two We the People petitions have waited 22 months for a White House response.

Miley Cyrus performs on NBC's 'Today' at Rockefeller Center, in New York.

Miley Cyrus Fans Petition the White House for a New National Anthem

July 8, 2013 More than 300 people have signed on to replace "The Star-Spangled Banner" with "Party in the USA."

Westboro Baptists Are Broadly Reviled, White House Shows

July 3, 2013 Map shows signatures of people who see controversial church as a hate group.

Snowden Petition Shows Many Paths to a White House Response

June 25, 2013 A post-indictment boost gave a petition to pardon the NSA leaker enough signatures for an official administration reply.

China Thwarts Its Citizens’ Access to White House Petition

June 12, 2013 The appeal asked the U.S. to deport a well-connected Chinese woman accused of trying to poison her college roommate in the 1990s.

Petition to Pardon NSA Leaker is Among Most Popular Ever Posted to White House Site

June 10, 2013 It drew 1,000 signatures an hour Monday afternoon.

White House Defends Obamacare on We the People

May 17, 2013 The petition response came the same day the House voted to repeal the 2-year-old healthcare law.

White House Responds to 19-Month-Old Palestine Petition

April 30, 2013 The administration also sided with petitioners opposing controversial cybersecurity legislation.

Nicolas Maduro followed Hugo Chavéz as president of Venezuela.

White House Petition Site Draws Venezuelan Crowds

April 30, 2013 Viral We the People petition seems to have been most popular abroad.

Merge the Dakotas and Ban Butterscotch Candies?

April 3, 2013 More fun with We the People petitions, courtesy of Comedy Central's Daniel Tosh.

Newtown, Aurora Victims Seek National Compassion Fund on White House Petition Site

March 28, 2013 The proposal would deliver tax-deductible donations to victims’ families with no overhead.

Measuring Government Social Media Part II: We the People

March 15, 2013 About half of petition signers say they learned something from a White House response.

Who's Going to Blink First on Cyber — Obama, or the House?

March 14, 2013 A public plea for Obama to stop CISP, has crossed the 100,000-signature threshold required for an official response.

President Barack Obama uses a laptop computer to send a tweet during a "Twitter Town Hall."

How Obama's Tech Tools are Changing the Debate

March 5, 2013 Critics deride the White House's fondness for platforms like Google Plus and web petitions, but they're proving potent tools for surfacing issues the media would otherwise ignore.

Unlocking Cellphones Should be Legal, White House Says

March 4, 2013 The administration statement comes in response to a We the People petition.

Sequestration Could Hurt Research on New Data Analysis Tools

February 25, 2013 White House wants to make results of studies more available to the public.

White House Will Respond to Petition to Re-legalize Unlocking Cellphones

February 21, 2013 Petitioners are also sounding off about the Pentagon’s decision to give medals to drone pilots.

We the People (of the World)

February 19, 2013 Azerbaijanis make a strong showing on the White House’s increasingly international petition site.

White House Touts Citizen Responses to State of the Union

February 13, 2013 The Obama administration is collecting sentence-by-sentence responses to the speech using a new digital tool.

First White House Petition Crosses Raised Response Threshold

February 7, 2013 Officials now require 100,000 signatures for an official response.

When the people speak, is anyone listening?

February 5, 2013 Secession petitions point out strengths and weaknesses of White House website.

White House plans to release We the People 2.0

February 5, 2013 The updated version will allow petitioners to collect signatures outside the White House domain.

White House drops first names from We the People petitions

January 28, 2013 The move to initials follows a surge in signatures on the site.