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First POST: Caught

BY Miranda Neubauer | Monday, November 12 2012

Petraeus' emails betrayed him

  • An FBI investigation into threatening e-mails uncovered the affair between CIA Director David Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell. The New York Times reported:

    The involvement of the F.B.I., according to government officials, began when Ms. Kelley, alarmed by about half a dozen anonymous e-mails accusing her of inappropriate flirtatious behavior with Mr. Petraeus, complained to an F.B.I. agent who is also a personal friend. That agent, who has not been identified, helped get a preliminary inquiry started ... Because the sender’s account had been registered anonymously, investigators had to use forensic techniques — including a check of what other e-mail accounts had been accessed from the same computer address — to identify who was writing the e-mails. Eventually they identified Ms. Broadwell as a prime suspect and obtained access to her regular e-mail account. In its in-box, they discovered intimate and sexually explicit e-mails from another account that also was not immediately identifiable. Investigators eventually ascertained that it belonged to Mr. Petraeus ...

    The Wall Street Journal reported:

    They learned that Ms. Broadwell and Mr. Petraeus had set up private Gmail accounts to use for their communications, which included explicit details of a sexual nature, according to U.S. officials. But because Mr. Petraeus used a pseudonym, agents doing the monitoring didn't immediately uncover that he was the one communicating with Ms. Broadwell.

Around the web

  • Ars Technica, Politico and the Boston Globe had more details on difficulties with the Romney campaign's "Project Orca" poll-watching software. The Atlantic noted that the Obama campaign's 2008 version of a similar tool also ran into problems.

  • On Saturday, the Romney campaign sent out its first "Thank You" tweet and e-mail.

  • Michael Donohoe, an engineering director at Quartz News, has created a website tracking "unlikes" on Romney's Facebook page in the wake of his election loss.

  • Ad Age interviewed the designer behind Obama campaign banner ads. Buzzfeed reported, "Every night, Obama's analytics team would run the campaign 66,000 times on a computer simulation. 'And every morning,' said Messina, 'we would come in and spend our money based on those simulations.' Their models ultimately predicted Florida results within 0.2%, and Ohio within 0.4%. The only state they got wrong, noted Messina, was Colorado, 'where we got one more point than we thought we would.'

  • Half of young voters cast their ballots, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University, and 60 percent of those voted for Obama.

  • Securities and Exchange Commission staffers left some of their computers vulnerable to cyber-attacks, Reuters reported.

  • In Wired commentary, Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union, writes about his views on proposed Internet regulations to be discussed at the World Conference on International Telecommunications.

  • Buzzfeed profiled Dronestagram, which documents the sites of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

  • WNYC and the New York Times looked at the role of Occupy Sandy in the recovery efforts for the storm, while others explored how people used Facebook to organize individual recovery efforts.

  • Occupy Wall Street is planning a "Rolling Jubilee" to buy up and forgive debt, ThinkProgress reported.

  • The Atlantic detailed how a Facebook campaign helped lead to 4,000 write-in votes for Charles Darwin in a Georgia House race to mock Republican Rep. Paul Broun, who sits on the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, for stating in an online video that evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang were "lies straight from the pit of hell."

  • Pandodaily looked at whether House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology would be more open to science and technology with the departure of Todd Akin.

  • Voters passed a proposition in San Francisco that will help technology companies save on payroll taxes.

  • Facebook has given the California town of Atherton $350,000 to compensate for increased congestion stemming from its move to Menlo Park.

  • Buzzfeed posted several map graphics showing what the election outcome would have looked like without universal suffrage.

  • Mother Jones mapped reports of voting problems across the country.

  • The AP suggests that Estonia, with its online voting system, could be a model for the election issues Obama said in his speech he wanted to address.

    But, but but! The same article acknowledges three key problems: Estonia's model is based on a national ID card, which would be problematic to have in the United States; when states have tried electronic voting, they've been deeply concerned by vulnerability to attack; and very few other countries have had any success with electronic voting.

  • Obama supporting Super Pac Priorities USA Action is pointing to its success in reaching out to swing state voters via YouTube.

  • The Daily Dot looked at the Obama campaign's signficant presence on Tumblr leading up to and including Election Day.

  • Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan explained in detail why Google seemed to personalize search results based on "Obama" searches, but not based on "Romney" searches.

  • Betabeat reported via Reddit that Rick Santorum's Patriot Voices website appears to include a photo of 4Chan creator Chris Poole. The website was created by a web design firm on behalf of Nationbuilder.

  • The developer of surveillance software that, according to some reports, has been used by repressive regimes, has defended the product and pointed to the ways authorities have used the tools to protect lives.

  • Inside Facebook tries to explain in detail the background of Facebook's newsfeed algorithm in light of accusations that the social network has reduced the exposure of posts from pages to the point where the only solution is to buy sponsored posts.

  • The new RIM platform has won a U.S. government security clearance.


  • Jumping on the Skyfall bandwagon, the Israeli Defense Forces are circulating the article "3 Amazing IDF Gadgets James Bond Wishes He Had."

  • The BBC looked at how social media could bring change to Oman.

  • Thousands have signed a petition nominating young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, who was severely injured in a Taliban attack, for the Nobel Prize.

  • British Prime Minister David Cameron is testing a mobile application to keep track of government affairs such as jobs and housing data as well as polls and social media posts. According to the developers of the tool, "He liked it so much, he was looking forward to showing it to President Obama at the G8 summit."

  • A report found that around 15 million people in Britain lack basic online skills.

  • A British report said it was naive for the government to expect "an army of armchair auditors" to examine raw spending posted online for waste because it was largely unusable, the BBC reported.

  • The Australian government is backing away from plans for a national Internet filter, but still plans to block sites related to child abuse.

  • The Indian government is introducing a new and improved version of a cheap tablet computer aimed at colleges and universities.

  • A German public broadcaster based in East Germany on Saturday live-tweeted the events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.


Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.


monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.


friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.


The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.


wednesday >

Everything You Need to Know About Social Media and India's General Election

The biggest democratic election in the world to date is taking place in India from April 7 to May 14, and, for the first time in India, the results might hinge on who runs a better social media campaign. The Mumbai research firm Iris Knowledge Foundation has said that Facebook will “wield a tremendous influence” but Indian politicians are not limiting their attentions to India's most popular social media platform. In addition to virtual campaigning are initiatives to inform, educate and encourage Indians to participate in their democracy.


EU Court Rejects Data Retention Law, But Data Retention Won't End Overnight

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg struck down a data retention law Tuesday that required telecoms to keep customers' communications data for up to two years, declaring it violated privacy rights. However, experts warn that the ruling will have no automatic effect on relevant laws in member states, which could lead to “messy consequences.”