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.
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
Legislation passed in China requires Internet users to give their real names before posting information publicly, perhaps taking a cue from some of the United States' most-viewed news websites.
The Massachusetts move
If Rep. Ed Markey wins a campaign to succeed John Kerry as the next senator from Massachusetts, it would change the dynamics of the House Energy and Commerce committee. Kerry may become the next Secretary of State, leaving a Senate seat to slowly cool until a special election determines a successor.
2012 in review
Alex Howard has 14 trends for 2013.
Steve Freiss at Politico has 2012's social media moments in politics.
Around the web