Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

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 today >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

thursday >

In Pakistan, A Hypocritical Gov't Ignores Calls To End YouTube Ban

YouTube has been blocked in Pakistan by executive order since September 2012, after the “blasphemous” video Innocence of Muslims started riots in the Middle East. Since then, civil society organizations and Internet rights advocacy groups like Bolo Bhi and Bytes for All have been working to lift the ban. Last August the return of YouTube seemed imminent—the then-new IT Minister Anusha Rehman spoke optimistically and her party, which had won the majority a few months before, was said to be “seriously contemplating” ending the ban. And yet since then, Rehman and her party, the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), have done everything in their power to maintain the status quo.

GO

The #NotABugSplat Campaign Aims to Give Drone Operators Pause Before They Strike

In the #NotABugSplat campaign that launched this week, a group of American, French and Pakistani artists sought to raise awareness of the effects of drone strikes by placing a field-sized image of a young girl, orphaned when a drone strike killed her family, in a heavily targeted region of Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. Its giant size is visible to those who operate drone strikes as well as in satellite imagery. GO

Boston and Cambridge Move Towards More Open Data

The Boston City Council is now considering an ordinance which would require Boston city agencies and departments to make government data available online using open standards. Boston City Councilor At Large Michelle Wu, who introduced the legislation Wednesday, officially announced her proposal Monday, the same day Boston Mayor Martin Walsh issued an executive order establishing an open data policy under which all city departments are directed to publish appropriate data sets under established accessibility, API and format standards. GO

YouTube Still Blocked In Turkey, Even After Courts Rule It Violates Human Rights, Infringes on Free Speech

Reuters reports that even after a Turkish court ruled to lift the ban on YouTube, Turkey's telecommunications companies continue to block the video sharing site.

GO

More