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First POST: Which Half a Glass?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, February 12 2014

Which Half a Glass?

  • Nicole Perloth of The New York Times details the ways "the Internet Didn't Fight Back" yesterday: "Wikipedia did not participate. Reddit — which went offline for 12 hours during the protests two years ago — added an inconspicuous banner to its homepage. Sites like Tumblr, Mozilla and DuckDuckGo, which were listed as organizers, did nothing to their homepages. The most vocal protesters were the usual suspects: activist groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and Greenpeace." She does note that more than 70,000 calls and 150,000 emails to Members of Congress were tallied.

  • Our Jessica McKenzie reports on the debate inside Wikipedia about what, if anything, the site should do about NSA surveillance.

  • The Guardian offers a "glass half full" version of the "Fight Back" day's efforts.

  • While Google didn't go dark yesterday, on "The Day We Fight Back," its VP of public policy Susan Molinari, did post a strong statement ,a href="http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.nl/2014/02/its-time-to-reform-government.html">on the company's public policy blog, and Derek Slater, one of Google's net freedom policy advocates, sent an email out to the company's post-SOPA list urging that people call their Members of Congress in support of the USA Freedom Act.

  • Independent security expert Bruce Schneier explains "Everything we know about how the NSA tracks people's physical location."

  • A new iPhone app made by Josh Begley, who runs the @dronestream account, offers a real-time map of U.S. drone strikes and their victims. It took Begley five tries before his app was accepted by the Apple App Store.

  • Wired's David Kravets has the story on how top Obama administration officials--including Attorney General Eric Holder and director of national intelligence James Clapper, repeated used the "state secrets privilege" to block legal efforts to clear the name of a Stanford University scholar who was mistakenly put on the "no-fly" watch list, preventing her from traveling to a conference.

  • So far, Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald's first story for their new site, The Intercept, on the NSA's role in JSOC's drone targeting program, hasn't gotten much attention from the mainstream media, and Elias Groll of Foreign Policy offers two reasons why: First, it wasn't "news":

    …what did this story hope to achieve? The fact that the United States often kills the wrong people in the course of drone warfare cannot come as news. Rather, what we learn in this story is that the NSA is in part responsible for providing the faulty intelligence that sometimes results in American drones targeting wedding parties. That the NSA plays a role in determining targets for drones should not come as a surprise to anyone.

    This is an odd objection, because we're talking about the equivalent of war crimes when non-combatants are killed by drone strikes. Groll's second point is more salient:

    Scahill and Greenwald clearly lack interest in the mainstream media's willingness to occasionally defer to government claims that national security could be harmed if certain classified information were to appear in the public domain. They have instead arrived on the scene to inform their colleagues in the media that this way of deciding what is and is not "news" effectively leaves journalists collaborating with the NSA and its partners in the U.S. intelligence community.
    And that's what the Intercept is about: tipping the scales of power away from the intelligence community. And that's why Greenwald -- as the journalistic face of the Snowden revelations -- has become such a hated figure in much of Washington.

  • Teachers in Los Angeles are protesting their schools' Third World conditions--and $1 billion program giving each child an iPad--with a Facebook page called "Repairs Not iPads," Al Jazeera reports.

  • OpenGov, a data visualization start-up that makes it easy for cities to open up their data to third-party users, gets profiled by Re/Code's Liz Gannes.

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