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First POST: Informed

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, August 7 2013

The way they run now

  • With Newark Mayor coasting to a likely victory in next Tuesday's special primary for the Democratic nomination to fill the late-Senator Frank Lautenberg's seat, the New York Times covers his close relationships to the tech industry. Zeroing in on his large stake in Waywire, a struggling start-up backed by the likes of Eric Schmidt and Oprah Winfrey, the report also notes that "Waywire has also provided jobs for associates of Mr. Booker: the son of a top campaign donor and his social media consultant" as well as an advisory board position and stock options to the son of NBC exec Jeff Zucker.

We can't handle the truth?

  • Jay Rosen zeros in on the essential contradiction at the heart of America's current approach to the NSA, mass surveillance, and counter-terror: "Can there even be an informed public and consent-of-the-governed for decisions about electronic surveillance, or have we put those principles aside so that the state can have its freedom to maneuver?" He adds, "The question is less unaddressed than it is repressed by a political system that can’t handle the weight of what it’s done. But now that system is being forced to face what happened while it wasn’t looking— at itself."

  • Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at MIT's Media Lab, gives Hal Abelson's report on MIT's handling of the Aaron Swartz case a close reading, and says it shows that the institution failed to act ethically and failed to show compassion.

  • Having recommended you read Bruce Sterling's mournful barnstormer on Snowden et al, now read Danny O'Brien's absolutely critical corrective. And Cory Doctorow's.

Mr. Bezos comes to Washington

  • Tech industry journalism veteran Om Malik, state the obvious about Jeff Bezos' purchase of the Washington Post: "The reason rich people buy media is because they that media can buy power and media can help reinforce that power….Bezos effectively says to the political establishment: I own your hometown paper. I don’t need to live in your town, but I want to make sure you know who you are dealing with next time you have something to say about Amazon."

  • John Cassidy agrees, though somewhat less forcefully, in the New Yorker.

Other news from around the web

  • Nancy Scola digs into the details of a proposed settlement concerning ride-sharing services in California, and discovers it's not as rosy as the Ubers and Sidecars of the world have been claiming.

  • The Occupy Network launches, brought to you by the same people who have been sending out the OWS Newsletter. And OWS housing activists are trying to thread-jack President Obama's push on housing reform, which will include his answering online questions gathered by Zillow, at 1pm ET today.

  • The hashtag, if you want to follow along, is #askobamahousing.

  • Obama-allied Enroll America has developed"a statistical model that can predict with 99 percent accuracy whether someone has insurance," thanks to a veteran of the Obama campaign team's data cave named Matt Saniie.

  • Noel "Noneck" Hidalgo, Code for America's NYC program manager, fact-checks failing mayoral candidate Anthony Wiener for his lack of accurate knowledge of NYC's open data policies.

  • Reddit gets hyper-transparent about its internal business structure.

  • The Democratic primary candidates running to fill Rep. Ed Markey's seat in Congress are taking part in a debate Saturday hosted by the PCCC, where the questions are being crowdsourced and voted up online.

  • The U.S. criticizes Vietnam's new restrictions on online speech.