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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

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In China, Local Governments Play Whac-a-Mole With Taxi Apps

It seems these days that car-hailing apps exist only to give cities grief. In New York, car sharing start-ups like Lyft ignore labor, safety insurance laws and in China, the situation is no different except in one regard: taxi hailing apps in China are proliferating at a faster rate than in the U.S. In China, however, the taxi system is very much in its infancy and local Chinese governments are struggling to control the proliferation of new apps that flout the law. GO

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The Uncertain Future of India's Plan to Biometrically Identify Everyone

Since its launch in 2010, people in India have raised a number of questions and concerns about the Aadhaar card —formally known as Unique Identification (UID)— citing its effects on privacy rights, potential security flaws, and failures in functionality. GO

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