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First POST: Accomplishments

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, January 2 2014

Accomplishments

  • Happy New Year! If you were, like me, mostly offline for the holiday break, here's a list of must-read links to catch up on:

  • Barton Gellman of the Washington Post, one of the first reporters contacted by Edward Snowden, traveled to Moscow to profile his subject. Snowden told him he believed his "mission's already accomplished" because he "wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself" in response to the NSA's mass surveillance programs. Gellman writes that "Snowden succeeded beyond plausible ambition" with his leaks. Read the whole thing.

  • Ruth Marcus, a Washington Post columnist, finds Snowden's statements to Gellman to be "insufferable" and a host of similar adjectives. Worth reading to get a taste of how DC insiders still view him.

  • Jay Rosen sums up the "three things I learned from the Snowden files."

  • The New York Times editorial board calls for clemency for "Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower."

  • Der Spiegel rolled out the latest Snowden Files scoop with a detailed story on the NSA's TAO (Tailored Access Operations) hacking unit, which focused on "getting the ungettable."

  • A sidebar written by Jacob Appelbaum and five co-authors details the technical tools that TAO's analysts can draw on, including computer bugging devices that look like normal USB plugs.

  • Applebaum gave a critical talk at the annual Chaos Communications Congress in Berlin building on the revelations in these articles, which BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow describes as "extraordinary."

  • Wired reports that the GlobalLeaks network is thriving, powering whistleblowing platforms in Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary and the Netherlands.

  • Benjamin Bratton sticks another knife in TED, calling the conference "middlebrow megachurch infotainment" and writing that "astrophysics run on the model of American Idol is a recipe for civilizational disaster."

In other news around the web:

  • Contributoria, a new platform enabling collaboration between journalists and readers, launches.

  • The New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute released Commotion 1.0, a mesh networking toolkit which enables users to connect to each other without having to route through traditional communications infrastructure. The project has been more than 12 years in the making. Beta versions are working in Brooklyn, NY; Detroit, Tunisia, Somaliland and India.

  • The Columbia Journalism Review's Michael Meyer profiles internet critic Evgeny Morozov and does a fairly decent job of capturing his contradictions.

  • Uber-blogger Andrew Sullivan reports that The Daily Dish finished 2013 with nearly 34,000 subscribers producing gross revenue of $851,000, about enough to cover the site's editorial budget.

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

NY Study Shows How Freedom of Information Can Inform Open Data

On New York State's open data portal, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has around 40 data resources of varying sizes, such as maps of lakes and ponds and rivers, bird conservation areas and hiking trails. But those datasets do not include several data resources that are most sought after by many New York businesses, a new study from advocacy group Reinvent Albany has found. Welcome to a little-discussed corner of so-called "open government"--while agencies often pay lip service to the cause, the data they actually release is sometimes nowhere close to what is most wanted. GO

Responding to Ferguson, Activists Organize #NMOS14 Vigils Across America In Just 4 Days

This evening peaceful crowds will gather at more than 90 locations around the country to honor the victims of police brutality, most recently the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Saturday. A moment of silence will begin at 20 minutes past 7 p.m. (EST). The vigils are being organized almost entirely online by the writer and activist Feminista Jones (@FeministaJones), with help from others from around the country who have volunteered to coordinate a vigil in their communities. Organizing such a large event in only a few days is a challenge, but in addition to ironing out basic logistics, the National Moment of Silence (#NMOS14) organizers have had to deal with co-optation, misrepresentation, and Google Docs and Facebook pages that are, apparently, buckling under traffic.

GO

wednesday >

NDI Launches Open Source DemTools for International Development

Yesterday the National Democratic Institute launched a suite of web-based applications created for their partner organizations, mostly pro-democracy groups and political parties around the world. These “DemTools,” which are ready-to-use but can also be customized, will give organizations in developing countries some of the capabilities that political activists and parties in the United States have had for years. Moreover, since the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is making the promise to host partner organization's applications in the cloud essentially forever, they hope these applications will help usher in a period of more sustainable tech.

GO

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