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First POST: Malala, Malia

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 14 2013

Malala, Malia

  • The AP's Martha Mendoza reports on a "growing backlash to government surveillance" in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations. "Activists are fighting back with high-tech civil disobedience, entrepreneurs want to cash in on privacy concerns, Internet users want to keep snoops out of their computers and lawmakers want to establish stricter parameters."

  • Another Snowden repercussion: the core institutions managing the Internet are moving away from their longstanding relationship with the US and towards "accelerating the globalization" of Internet governance.

  • Snowden received an award from the "Sam Adams Associates," a group of retired CIA officers, for "Integrity in Intelligence" last week in Moscow. Here he is talking about the need for greater government transparency in the US, one of several short videos of him receiving the award, posted by WikiLeaks.

  • More on Snowden's current circumstances in Russia from Reuters.

  • NSA Director General Keith Alexander tells the New York Times David Sanger and Thom Shanker that the threats of terrorism and cyberattacks require the bulk collection of Americans metadata.

  • Best url coming out of this past weekend's Drones and Aerial Robotics Conference:, an X-Prize style competition to engineer a way to fly the kind of loads a donkey would carry (at least 20 kilos). The goal is to spur the development of a better transportation system for Africa, where populations and economies are growing faster than their road infrastructure can bear. (Matternet is working on this problem, too.)

  • Speaking of drones, McClatchy Newspapers reports that when Pakistani activist and international celebrity Malala Yousafzai met with President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and their daughter Malia in the Oval Office, Malala didn't just thank them for supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan. "I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people," Malala said in a statement she released. She added, "if we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact."

in other news around the web:

  • "As late as the last week of September, officials were still changing features of the Web site,, and debating whether consumers should be required to register and create password-protected accounts before they could shop for health plans." (The site launched October 1.) That's just one of several eye-opening details in The New York Times' in-depth story on the problems with, now two week's old and still not more than 70% done. 14.6 million have visited the site so far.

  • The Times reports: "Contractors are now publicly distancing themselves from the troubled parts of the federally run project. Eric Gundersen, the president of Development Seed, emphasized that his company had built the home page of but had nothing to do with what happened after a user hit the 'Apply Now' button."

  • This is brilliant. In response to Google's announcement that it is going to start using the names and profiles of its users in advertising, people are changing their Google Plus profile pictures to those of the company's executives, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt, making the resulting display ads look like pitches from them.

  • Yes, Sarah Palin scribbled "Leader, not tweeter" on her palm to remind herself of Senate hopeful Steve Lonegan's cutting line against Cory Booker. Palin was in New Jersey Saturday to endorse Lonegan; the special election is this Wednesday.

  • Code for DC is holding a mini-hackathon for "Furloughed Feds" and other civic hackers today.