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First POST: Take Me To the Moon

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, March 20 2014

Take Me To the Moon

  • Larry Page, Google co-founder, who is known for his interest in "moon shot" scale projects, offered a bit of his vision of the future at TED. "In technology, we need revolutionary change, not incremental change," he said. The incongruity of saying this to interviewer Charlie Rose was presumably not discussed.

  • Page also said, "We need to know what surveillance the government is doing. We need to debate that, or we can't have a functioning democracy." And he added, "For me it's tremendously disappointing that the government did this without telling us first."

  • The NSA's top lawyer says US tech companies "were fully aware" of the agency's data collection program, Spencer Ackerman writes for The Guardian. This contradicts many denials from companies like Yahoo, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and AOL that they didn't know about the PRISM program.

  • How secure are so-called secure chat services? The New York Times' Molly Wood gets some answers with the help of Bruce Schneier.

  • Twitter has backed off its plan to encrypt direct messages between users, Adrianne Jeffries reports for The Verge.

  • Sen. Rand Paul went to Berkeley and charmed the student audience by voicing his concerns about government surveillance, Jeremy Peters reports for The Times.

  • Taking a turn on The New York Times op-ed page, technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci delves into one paradox of social media-powered protest movements: because digital tools make it easier to build up quickly, such movements often lack "infrastructure for decision making and strategies for sustaining momentum." She's careful to note that amassing a lot of "likes" on Facebook can be valuable in changing cultural expectations of what is "normal," but she doesn't overstate the value of such methods, either.

  • Software developer and congressional candidate David Cole is inviting people to edit his platform on GitHub, reports Klint Finley for Wired. There's some kind of cosmic poetic justice at work here, as GitHub cofounder Scott Chacon ran for Congress back in 2005 as an open source candidate who invited voters to schedule his calendar for him. Cole explains what he's doing, here.

  • California Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) is inviting citizens to help draft laws using a Wikispaces account, GovTech's Brian Heaton reports.