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First POST: "Who Watches?"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 8 2014

The Obama administration won't release a legal memo giving the FBI warrantless spying powers; one of the 1971 burglars who exposed FBI domestic spying back then explains her actions; cops use social media to catch gangs; cops get caught on social media defrauding the taxpayer; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Harvesting

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, October 15 2013

Lost your address book? No worries, the NSA probably has it; Ezra Klein raps the failures of HealthCare.gov; Why Jack Dorsey's mother loves Twitter; and much, much more. Read More

First POST: Traffic

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 3 2013

Exclusively for Personal Democracy Plus subscribers: Government shutdown of web services irking journalists; Grover Norquist is a Guy Fawkes fan; Lavabit's embattled owner explains why he shut his service down; and much, much more. Read More

Book Review: Our Computers, Ourselves--Living With Present Shock

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, June 21 2013

Douglas Rushkoff speaking at PDF 2013 (Photo by Esty Stein/Personal Democracy Media)

I read Douglas Rushkoff's new book Present Shock two months ago, and found myself underlining and taking notes on nearly every page. Somehow, he ties together dozens of seemingly disparate phenomena--the popularity of reality TV, the death of ideology, how news has been replaced by spectacle, our compulsion to constantly "check in" on our digital inputs, the rise of the Tea Party and Occupy movements, even our culture's fascination with zombies and impending apocalypse--and finds the signal in all the noise. It's worth a listen. Here's my review. Read More

To Spur Donations, Obama Campaign Reminds Donors of What They've Given Already

BY Nick Judd | Wednesday, October 10 2012

Appealing to donors' sense of urgency and their history with the campaign, Barack Obama's re-election effort is sending people on its email list a fundraising ask that includes information on how much they've given in the past — going all the way back to the 2008 campaign. Read More

WeGov

In Wake of Public Outcry, Iran Lifts "Indefinite" Block on Gmail After One Week

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, October 1 2012

One week after announcing that access to Gmail and Google search would be blocked indefinitely in the Islamic Regime of Iran, regime officials restored access to the popular online platforms while claiming that they had unintentionally blocked them while trying to filter the crude anti-Islam film, "Innocence of the Muslims." Meanwhile, the Ministry of Telecommunications launched its own official email service, which requires users to register. Read More

In an Email "Mistake," a New York Campaign Takes a Rival's Name in Vain

BY Nick Judd | Tuesday, August 14 2012

New York State Senator Greg Ball's re-election campaign is caught up in a web peccadillo that might put Ball on the wrong side of a law he himself supported.

Our friend at Capital New York, Azi Paybarah, reports that Ball's campaign sent out an email in the name of Justin Wagner, a Westchester attorney and Ball's Democratic opponent. The campaign told the Journal News that putting Wagner's name in the "from" field was a mistake corrected in subsequent emails, Paybarah notes. The email linked to a website, Wackywagner.com, full of less-than-flattering prose about Wagner.

Wagner is asking the district attorney's office to investigate the email, to which a 2008 change in the law — one that happened with Ball's support — seems relevant.

Read More

Poetry of the Email Subject Line: Urgent

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, July 12 2012

Hey This is important Also Help Excuse me I want to buy you a cup of coffee Drop what you're doing Urgent A big problem right now Scary We could lose if this continues I will be outspent --B.H. Obama Answer this call ... Read More

Poetry of the Email Subject Line: Anticipation

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, June 15 2012

The steganographic gods are at it again. Read More

Jon Stewart and Barack Obama's "Techno-Wizard" Ways

BY Nick Judd | Friday, April 6 2012

By now you may have seen this video of Jon Stewart taking Barack Obama's re-election campaign to task for the barrage of casual requests for money that tend to crop up towards the end of each month and as campaigns approach quarterly filing deadlines with the Federal Election Commission. Besides Stewart being Stewart, the idea that the President of the United States doesn't need to resort to headlines like, "Hey," to get money, and a brief clip of techPresident publisher Andrew Rasiej, the video is worth watching because it's an example of another thing the Obama campaign is casually doing: Figuring out exactly what to say to you online. Read More

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

First POST: Scary Monsters

Facebook opens up about its experiments on tweaking voting behavior; breaking news in the FCC net neutrality battle; getting hard data on civic tech's impact on political efficacy; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: System-Gaming

Why techies interested in political reform are facing challenges; the latest data on Democratic voter contacts in 2014; Hungary's anti-Internet tax demonstrations are getting huge; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Gimme Shelter

The link between intimate partner violence and surveillance tech; the operational security set-up that connected Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden; how Senate Dems are counting on tech to hold their majority; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Tribes

Edward Snowden on the Internet's impact on political polarization; trying to discern Hillary Clinton's position on NSA reform; why Microsoft is bullish on civic tech; and much, much more GO

monday >

First POST: Inventions

How voter data-sharing among GOP heavyweights is still lagging; why Facebook's News Feed scares news publishers; Google's ties to the State Department; and much, much more. GO

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