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First POST: New Year's Eve

BY Nick Judd | Monday, December 31 2012

The politics of the Internet

  • Just for First POST readers: We thought about doing a year-in-review post, but decided to stick with chronicling the entire political history of the Internet instead. In time for the new year, we've added more than 30 entries, from Douglas Engelbart's 1968 "mother of all demos" to the Pope's arrival on Twitter on Dec. 12, 2012. We'll have a post up soon listing all of the additions.

FISA passed

  • In case you missed it, Alex Pareene explains why the passage of the FISA Amendments Act — you know, the one about warrantless wiretapping — is so troubling. While "fiscal cliff" talks continue with frustrating incrementalism, only two senators — Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, and Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, emerged to challenge the renewal of the federal government's ability to monitor electronic communications under very limited judicial oversight. Americans are probably caught up in skeins cast, law enforcement says, for terrorists abroad — but the law does not permit the public to know how many or under what circumstances. So Congress has demonstrated less concern for the shape of the Fourth Amendment in the 21st century than for how to balance the national checkbook across the next 15 or 20 years, and, at least so far, has gotten away with it. So long as the cat videos are safe, apparently, most of the Internet will remain politically dormant.

    It's not only this: Federal regulators are pushing to install "black boxes" in private vehicles. Recall that the Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement officials need a warrant to install GPS tracking devices in a suspect's car. In this other arena, Wired's David Kravets writes, it's still the "wild west."

Could be worse

The Massachusetts move

2012 in review

Around the web

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

Beyond @Congressedits, Capitol Hill Looks for Entry to Wikipedia

As he recently told techPresident, the creator of Congressedits did not aim to make Members of Congress look bad, but said he hoped that they would recognize the importance of Wikipedia as a public space and engage more with its community. "If staffers and politicians identified as Wikipedians, that would be super. You could imagine politicians' home pages with a list of their recent edits, that they would be proud of the things that they are doing." On Capitol Hill, there is in fact interest in making that vision a reality, starting off with an initial conversation that could create a framework for more Wikipedians in Congress. GO

wednesday >

In the Philippines, Citizens Go Undercover With Bantay to Monitor Public Offices

The Philippines, a country of almost 100 million, is considered among the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia, despite a boost in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in the past few years (from 134th in 2010 to 94th in 2013 out of 175.) Corruption involves all levels of government, but benefits also from a mindset of tolerance, says Happy Feraren, the co-founder of Bantay.ph, an anti-corruption educational initiative that teaches citizens how to monitor the quality of government services, sometimes by going undercover. GO

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