Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Understanding the Data

BY Miranda Neubauer | Thursday, November 8 2012

Was this going to be Mitt Romney's transition website?

Around the web

  • ICYMI: Micah L. Sifry writes that the best stories about social media during election season don't have much to do with the election: "In truth, the most interesting uses of social media in this election cycle were not directly focused on the presidential campaigns, but outside them. First with the Tea Party and Ron Paul movements, and then later with Occupy Wall Street, we saw that when ordinary Americans want to, they can use these tools to make powerful cause with each other."

  • Sarah Lai Stirland outlined how the Obama campaign used a digital infrastructure to win and Nick Judd writes that the Romney campaign was frequently a half-step behind.

  • Cryptography researcher Matt Blaze said he obtained the link to the mockup of what would have been Mitt Romney's transition website, which he posted online. While it was taken down shortly thereafter, Politicalwire and the Huffington Post were able to obtain screenshots.

  • Politico and the Washington Examiner reported that the Romney campaign's Project Orca application, intended to monitor voter turnout in real time, experienced frequent glitches.

  • The Guardian's Ed Pilkington suggested that the President's thanks to "the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics. The best. The best ever." was in effect his thanks to the campaign's data operation. Yesterday, Obama visited his Chicago headquarters to meet with campaign staff, and a photo showed him hugging Jim Messina.

  • Erik Wemple argued that CNN had the best coverage on election night, in large part due to its combination of superior technology with county-level reporting and anchor John King's demonstrated knowledge of voter data context.

  • Adweek noted how pro-Obama Super Pac Priorities USA Action had blanketed Twitter with ad buys in the day leading up to the election, while Obama campaign accounts for Michelle Obama and Joe Biden sent targeted direct messages. On Election Night, the PAC was buying promoted tweets for the hashtag #JohnKing.

  • According to Adweek, the Romney campaign did not make it into a list of the top 100 online advertisers by ad volume until October, and then was only at 100th place, compared with Obama, who was at fourth place. Early data for November showed Obama at Number 2 and Romney at Number 5.

  • In a post-mortem New York Times story on how Obama managed to win in spite of the first debate, Stephanie Cutter is quoted as saying, "We are getting bombed on Twitter," as Romney managed to score points.

  • Ars Technica noted that three lawmakers who had sponsored SOPA had been voted out.

  • Cnet analyzed the tech winners and losers of the election.

  • For Public Knowledge, Gigi Sohn summarized what the election means for the Internet.

  • Wired suggested that Obama had won "the nerdiest election ever."

  • Matt Ortega bid Mitt Romney farewell with to the tune of "I Will Remember You."

  • The White House website underwent a slight update with a photo of Obama, a quote from his acceptance speech, and the encouragement to sign up to receive updates from Obama and senior officials.

  • Democrats are collecting online petition signatures to congratulate President Obama on his victory.

  • Pew used Google Consumer Surveys to conduct a reaction survey after the election, in which 44 percent of respondents said they were happy about the outcome and 43 percent said they were unhappy about the outcome.

  • ReadWriteWeb suggested that Instagram has come of age during Hurricane Sandy and the election.

  • A Microsoft Surface tablet was tested as a balloting device in Virginia.

  • An image circulating on Facebook comparing the election results map with free states and slave states has been shared over 18,000 times.

  • TechCrunch suggested that Facebook is not decreasing the reach of page posts in the newsfeed to benefit promoted posts.

  • The New York Times reported on how Silicon Valley objects to proposals that would regulate the privacy of children online. Rep. Ed Markey told the New York Times, "What children post online or search as part of their homework should not haunt them as they apply to colleges or for jobs."

  • The Hill reported that plans to further implement Do Not Track on the web seemed at a stand-still more than nine months after a high-profile White House event focusing on the issue.

  • French Prime Minister Francois Hollande was mocked for signing off a letter posted in a congratulatory Tweet to President Obama with the term "friendly," the literal translation of the French sign-off "Sympathique, François Hollande."

  • The New York Times explored the role of social media in the legal case against George Zimmerman over the death of Trayvon Martin.

  • Over a year after a Twitter-fueled scandal ended his time in Congress, former Rep. Anthony Weiner sent his first tweet since his resignation to post a video related to Hurricane Sandy relief.

  • Airbnb is partnering with the City of New York to help displaced Sandy victims find free housing.

  • The New York Daily News noted the success of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Super PAC.

  • A judge has blocked California's new law that restricts online anonymity for sex offenders, which as approved by voters Tuesday, after an appeal supported by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

  • Hank the Cat, Virginia U.S. Senate candidate, received over 6,800 votes. Tim Kaine won the race with over 1.9 million votes.

  • A Maine state Senate candidate who attracted attention — and derision — for her World of Warcraft experience won her race.

  • New York Long Island Rail Road staff were using an Apple iPad app to help customers affected by route changes due to Hurricane Sandy.

  • Two German illustrators have visualized the U.S. election on a Tumblr page with images of burgers and fries.

  • ICYMI: Hugh Atkin created a supercut video showing 60 years of U.S. election ads from Ike to Obama.

  • Max Fisher wondered whether Chinese Internet users were discussing the U.S. election more online than Americans.

  • A draft report by the U.S.- China Economic and Security Review Commission suggested that China is "the most threatening actor in cyberspace," Bloomberg News reported.

  • Canadian officials are concerned that the poor quality of information routinely collected from airline passengers could hurt plans to compile a comprehensive database of everyone entering or leaving the continent.

  • Egypt is moving towards banning online pornography.

  • Reporters without Borders noted that an amendment to Russia's online child protection bill adds prohibitions on the use of anonymizer and filter- bypass tools.

  • Gabon said it was suspending the website, the domain where Kim Dotcom announced he wanted to launch a Megaupload successor.

News Briefs

RSS Feed today >

Another Co-Opted Hashtag: #MustSeeIran

The Twitter hashtag #MustSeeIran was created to showcase Iran's architecture, landscapes, and would-be tourist destinations. It was then co-opted by activists to bring attention to human rights abuses and infringements. Now Twitter is home to two starkly different portraits of a country. GO

At NETmundial Brazil: Is "Multistakeholderism" Good for the Internet?

Today and tomorrow Brazil is hosting NETmundial, a global multi-stakeholder meeting on the future of Internet governance. GO

Brazilian President Signs Internet Bill of Rights Into Law at NetMundial

Earlier today Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff sanctioned Marco Civil, also called the Internet bill of rights, during the global Internet governance event, NetMundial, in Brazil.


tuesday > Reboots As a Candidate Digital Toolkit That's a Bit Too Like launched with big ambitions and star appeal, hoping to crack the code on how to get millions of people to pool their political passions through their platform. When that ambition stalled, its founder Nathan Daschle--son of the former Senator--decided to pivot to offering political candidates an easy-to-use free web platform for organizing and fundraising. Now the new is out from stealth mode, entering a field already being served by competitors like NationBuilder, Salsa Labs and And strangely enough, seems to want its early users to ask for help. GO

Armenian Legislators: You Can Be As Anonymous on the 'Net As You Like—Until You Can't

A proposed bill in Armenia would make it illegal for media outlets to include defamatory remarks by anonymous or fake sources, and require sites to remove libelous comments within 12 hours unless they identify the author.


monday >

The Good Wife Looks for the Next Snowden and Outwits the NSA

Even as the real Edward Snowden faces questions over his motives in Russia, another side of his legacy played out for the over nine million viewers of last night's The Good Wife, which concluded its season long storyline exploring NSA surveillance. In the episode titled All Tapped Out, one young NSA worker's legal concerns lead him to becoming a whistle-blower, setting off a chain of events that allows the main character, lawyer Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), and her husband, Illinois Governor Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), to turn the tables on the NSA using its own methods. GO

The Expanding Reach of China's Crowdsourced Environmental Monitoring Site, Danger Maps

Last week billionaire businessman Jack Ma, founder of the e-commerce company Alibaba, appealed to his “500 million-strong army” of consumers to help monitor water quality in China. Inexpensive testing kits sold through his company can be used to measure pH, phosphates, ammonia, and heavy metal levels, and then the data can be uploaded via smartphone to the environmental monitoring site Danger Maps. Although the initiative will push the Chinese authorities' tolerance for civic engagement and activism, Ethan Zuckerman has high hopes for “monitorial citizenship” in China.


The 13 Worst Bits of Russia's Current and Maybe Future Internet Legislation

It appears that Russia is on the brink of passing still more repressive Internet regulations. A new telecommunications bill that would require popular blogs—those with 3,000 or more visits a day—to join a government registry and conform to government-mandated standards is expected to pass this week. What follows is a list of the worst bits of both proposed and existing Russian Internet law. Let us know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed anything.


Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.