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First POST: Inclemency

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, January 3 2014

Inclemency

  • The New York Times editorial calling for clemency for Edward Snowden continues to make waves, with Buzzfeed reporting on the news that several Members of Congress have said they are open to its conclusion, Firedoglake blogger Kevin Gosztola asking why the paper hasn't applied the same whistleblower label to Chelsea Manning, and former NSA director Michael Hayden telling the Daily Beast that clemency for Snowden would be "outrageous."

  • Matthew Keys rounds up responses from Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and other tech companies whose services and products were reportedly (per Der Spiegel) compromised by the NSA.

  • Glenn Greenwald thinks most tech companies were hypocritical, telling Salon's Natasha Lennard that they were "completely content to cooperate with the NSA, far beyond what the law required," until the extent of the NSA's activities became public.

  • Bob Swartz, Aaron's father, can't walk through MIT without feeling that the university "betrayed his son," Janelle Nanos writes in a moving portrait for Boston Magazine. “I see Aaron on every corner,” he says. “I pass by the building. I see MIT police. I remember, I remember him…” he sighs. “We spent a lot of time here. There are all sorts of painful aspects of what happened. They come back.”

  • Alexis Madrigal's deconstruction of Netflix's internal tagging system for movies is a must-read (as are some of the reader comments trying to explain the "Perry Mason" effect). One wonders, if Netflix's data about its users' predilections can be used to help it fine-tune what movies or series it should make, could a similar data set about voters and their preferences in politicians tell a political party what kind of candidates it should recruit?

  • Ravi Somaiya reports for the New York Times that Ezra Klein, the multimedia policy maven, is exploring taking his Wonkblog site independent after his proposal to expand it to a more general explanatory journalism site was rejected by the Post's publisher Katharine Weymouth and owner Jeff Bezos.

  • NY's Gothamist reports that students across the city peppered Dante de Blasio's Facebook page with requests that he convince his dad, the new mayor, to declare a rare snow day for the city's public schools.

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

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