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First POST: Recriminations

BY Miranda Neubauer | Tuesday, November 13 2012

Tuesday must-reads

  • GigaOm spoke to Obama for America CTO Harper Reed about how the online campaign was conducted. Reed highlighted the use of Amazon Web Services, developing methods to stay online even as cloud services crashed, and looking at how people used technology. "The president’s technology team knew ... that voters in urban areas where Obama was counting on high voter turnout were more likely to use a mobile phone rather than a laptop as their primary means of internet access. They’re also more likely to use Android devices than iOS devices, as are many potential swing voters who generally don’t care too much about technology. So, Reed said, the team designed apps to run on multiple operating systems and used responsive design to ensure apps ran well on whatever devices voters were using."

  • A mesh network is helping people in Red Hook, still without power after Hurricane Sandy, connect to the Internet.

  • A Montreal hackathon brought the city's usual geeky suspects together, but with a new twist — asking them to focus their efforts on tools to highlight and fight government corruption.

  • The scandal in the U.S. military appeared to widen late last night, as reports emerged that the FBI had uncovered 20,000 and 30,000 documents, mainly emails, of "potentially inappropriate" communications between Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, and Jill Kelley, the woman whose contact with the FBI about threatening emails she had been receiving started an investigation that ended David Petraeus' tenure at the CIA, the Washington Post reported. The New York Times reported: "The [defense official], who briefed reporters on Mr. Panetta’s plane, said that 'there is the distinct possibility'' that the e-mails were connected to an ongoing F.B.I. investigation into Mr. Petraeus and Ms. Broadwell."

  • Earlier, the Associated Press had reported in more detail how David Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, had interacted over e-mail:

    Petraeus and Broadwell apparently used a trick, known to terrorists and teen-agers alike, to conceal their email traffic.One of the law enforcement officials said they did not transmit all of their communications as emails from one's inbox to the other's inbox. Rather, they composed some emails in a Gmail account and instead of transmitting them, left them in a draft folder or in an electronic "dropbox." Then the other person could log onto the same account and read the draft emails there. This avoids creating an email trail which is easier to trace.

Around the web

  • Gawker highlighted another blogger's discovery that an anonymous Wikipedia edit to Paula Broadwell's page after her Daily Show appearance may have been a reference to the affair.

  • The University of Denver briefly removed YouTube video of Petraeus biographer Paula Broadwell discussing the Benghazi attacks at a university event.

  • The New York Times reported on how the Obama campaign took an innovative approach to TV advertising, focusing on cable, reruns and somwhat more obscure TV programming.

  • ICYMI: Nate Silver analyzed the accuracy of various polling operations and found that those conducted online, such as Google Consumer Surveys, IPSOS/Reuters, and YouGov, were among the most accurate. Business Insider profiled the three-person Public Policy Polling operation. Director Tom Jensen told BI that its polls benefited from its simple screening process: "We have a very simple likely voter screen. 'If you don't plan to vote in this fall's election, hang up now.' What we find is that if you're someone who's not willing to take the time to answer a telephone poll, you probably aren't going to vote. But if you are willing to take the time to answer a telephone poll, you probably are going to vote. So it's a much less-complicated voter screen than somebody like Gallup or Rasmussen has, but I think that it's a better barometer of the electorate." The Washington Post noted that according to exit polls, "fully one-in-three Election Day voters nationally said they do not have land-line telephones, up from 20 percent four years ago and 7 percent eight years ago."

  • Federal Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel confirmed via Twitter that he plans to stay on for Obama's second term, Nextgov reported.

  • Nieman Lab reviewed traffic for online news sites on Election Night.

  • Google shared some statistics from the 2012 campaign with an emphasis on its four-screen philosophy:

    "Total US Mobile searches related to finding a voting location increased by 164% from Monday to Tuesday. This trend was even more pronounced in battleground states."

    Total US Mobile searches related to finding a voting location increased by 164% from Monday to Tuesday. This trend was even more pronounced in battleground states."

    Google also claims that nine of the top 11 U.S. Senate races who spent more online with Google won on Tuesday.

  • ICYMI: In the days before the election and beyond, a letter by a 10-year-old girl who has two gay fathers to President Obama praising his support for marriage equality, and the President's response, have gone viral.

  • TechCrunch reported from a VetsinTech hackathon that was held in San Francisco over the weekend.

  • Demand Progress has launched a petition in response to a news report that ousted Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), a supporter of the Stop Online Piracy Act, could be in the running for Secretary of State.

  • A petition is asking Target to not open in the evening on Thanksgiving.

  • Popular Facebook page and blog Humans of New York is partnering with Tumblr on an Indiegogo fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy victims. Both Indiegogo and Paypal are waiving their fees, accordign to the blog post.

  • OccupySMS is helping connect aid and volunteer efforts in response to the hurricane via text message. Another web application tracks stranded elderly residents.

  • Great Neck Patch reported that a Long Island radio station produced a Gangnam-style parody video called LIPA Style to criticize the slow response of the Long Island Power Authority.

  • The New York Times summarized new tools available for disaster aid.

  • The New York Stock Exchange had to suspend trading on over 200 stocks due to a technical glitch.

  • The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart wrote that the election of Senator Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) is bringing "Occupy to Congress."

  • Pandodaily profiled the Counterpoint, a new online site to showcase informed political arguments.

  • Data from Twitter and Google suggests that migraines peak during the work week.

  • The College of William and Mary has received a federal grant to lead a new center that will track and map the disbursement of foreign aid.

  • An audit suggests that the State Department may still be vulnerable to Wikileaks-style breaches.

  • The Boston Globe wrote about crowdfunding sites, focusing on Citizinvestor and other efforts involved in Boston-based projects.

  • The Ad Council is running online ads promoting, a campaign to reduce the high school drop-out rate.

  • Many seniors are resisting the upcoming switch to electronic social security payments.


News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

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

What Has the EU Ever Done For Us?: Countering Euroskepticism with Viral Videos and Monty Python

Ahead of the May 25 European Elections, the most intense campaigning may not be by the candidates or the political parties. Instead, some of the most passionate campaigns are more grassroots efforts focused on for a start stirring up the interest of the European electorate. 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.