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First POST: About That "G"

BY Nick Judd | Thursday, May 23 2013

Around the web

  • Researchers say they have algorithmically processed two million tweets related to the tornado that struck Moore, Okla., extracting requests for aid and offers of help. They're making that dataset available to organizations responding to the tornado, Patrick Meier writes on his blog.

  • Tomnod has set up an instance of its crowd-image-processing platform asking users to identify damage in satellite imagery of the disaster-stricken region.

  • Developers have built a Firefox browser extension that sends the browser to random websites when not in use, reducing the value of the tracking done by marketing agencies trying to build browsing history into a consumer profile.

  • EFF activist Trevor Timm writes for the Freedom of the Press Foundation, "... unfortunately now it's clear: virtually every move made by the Justice Department against WikiLeaks has now also been deployed on mainstream US journalists."

  • In Chicago, the University of Chicago has announced its inaugural class of Eric & Wendy Schmidt Data Science for Social Good summer fellows. The fellows will spend the summer applying quantitative skills to urban social issues.

  • Technology Review reports from a conference on Bitcoin:

    “What’s going on right now is a transformation from stage one, supported by the purists that are devoted to the idea, to a period where we are asking ‘What does this do for global commerce?’ ” Chris Larsen, CEO of OpenCoin, told me at his company’s booth, one of about 20 in the conference’s exhibition space.

  • House and Senate lawmakers have reintroduced the DATA Act, a bill that would consolidate and standardize federal financial reporting.

  • has relaunched using CKAN, an open-source toolkit for hosting datasets.

  • The Center for Effective Government has harsh words for the way a new Department of Interior rule on hydrofracking came to be.

  • On the Open Government Partnership blog, Ivan Pavlov of Russia's Freedom of Information Foundation, an attorney and transparency activist, writes:

    Russia’s about face on the Open Government Partnership appears unsportsmanlike. It seems that the country has refused to participate in an esteemed international forum where it could demonstrate its formidable strengths related to openness and transparency because it fears to show its weaknesses. This type of behavior and the desire to always appear without weaknesses isolates our country and limits our possibility for growth and development by learning from and engaging with other countries.

  • Wednesday, David Eaves wrote:

    ... Russia's oscillation over whether or not it will participate may be one of the most reassuring things to have happened related to the OGP ... Because were the OGP a giant openwashing exercise with zero consequences, I suspect any government would be happy to join. The fact that the Kremlin is cautious suggests that the OGP matters. Even if it is simply delaying to refine its commitments, it is a signal that these commitments matter.

  • Facebook has joined the Global Network Initiative, a group of companies focused on improving their handling of international privacy, speech and user rights.

  • At Ars Technica, Sean Gallagher writes:

    Call it security through absurdity: a pair of telecom firms have branded reporters for Scripps News as "hackers" after they discovered the personal data of over 170,000 customers—including social security numbers and other identifying data that could be used for identity theft—sitting on a publicly accessible server. While the reporters claim to have discovered the data with a simple Google search, the firms' lawyer claims they used "automated" means to gain access to the company's confidential data and that in doing so the reporters violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act with their leet hacker skills.

  • TechPresident is team soft "G."