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First POST: Privatization

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 2 2013


  • The New York Times and Politico both have stories sharing some details of the Maryland war room where is being nursed off life-support. The Times gets more of the backstory on who was in the room when the President finally faced the bad news head on; Politico emphasizes the work of troubleshooter Jeffrey Zients and the crash effort to fix things.

  • As of Sunday, the White House says that can support more than 800,000 consumer visits per day.

  • But insurers say ongoing problems remain with the site's back end, which is supposed to process consumer sign-ups and deliver accurate information to insurers. In other words, the White House's passing grade for the site's repair may need to get revised.

  • Mark Ames has another attack piece up on PandoDaily, this time accusing Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras of "privatizing" Edward Snowden's leaks by joining forces with Pierre Omidyar. Noting that Greenwald and Poitras reportedly are the only two people to have a complete set of Snowden's files, he writes, "Never before has such a vast trove of public secrets been sold wholesale to a single billionaire as the foundation of a for-profit company." It's an extraordinary charge to make, and requires assuming bad faith by the parties named. Does Ames really think Greenwald and Poitras keep taking the risks they take just so they can enrich themselves?

  • Greenwald's reply to Ames is a must-read.

  • If you are looking for one essay that gives a 360-degree view of what all of the NSA disclosures reveal so far, bookmark Julian Sanchez's "Decoding the Summer of Snowden" CATO Institute Policy Report, just out.

  • The Guardian's editor Alan Rusbridger is going before a British parliamentary committee tomorrow to answer questions about his paper's handling of the Snowden files, and The Washington Post's preview highlights the shaky status of freedom of the press in the UK.

  • The Internet Engineering Task Force has opened a conversation with the makers of TOR to make their privacy technology into an Internet standard, Technology Review reports.

  • Warning to SnapChat users: those files aren't deleted from your mobile phone, they're just hidden, researchers have found.

  • BuzzFeed says Independent Journal Review is the right-wing's "own Upworthy" with traffic ahead of the Daily Caller, the Weekly Standard and Breitbart.

  • Some more details on 15% of American adults who are not internet users from Pew: nearly half are "secondary internet users" who have someone else go online for them, and "over half of seniors who did not attend college or live in households earning less than $50K per year are offline."

  • If you thought Bachelor producer Elan Gale's live-tweeting of his feud with a stressed-out woman on a delayed flight before Thanksgiving was funny (I stopped smiling when he told her to eat his dick), read this postscript: the woman is in the final stages of fighting lung cancer. Meanwhile, this blogger thinks Gale made the whole thing up.

  • Germany is taking steps toward joining the Open Government Partnership.

  • Coming soon to your neighborhood, the "K5 Autonomous Data Machine," a $6.25 an hour robot night watchman? Or, in the words of Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy and Information Center, "R2-D2's evil twin"?

  • Also, Amazon gets millions in free TV advertising from 60 Minutes by showing off a secret project called "Prime Air" that proposes to deliver packages by drone.

  •, a new site that will enable journalists and nonprofit groups to crowdfund investigative journalism projects, has just launched, reports the New York Times. Actually, it looks like it has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund itself. If only every Indiegogo campaign got covered in the Times!