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First POST: Collective Hallucination

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 25 2014

Collective Hallucination

  • The Obama administration is proposing legislation to end the NSA's collection of bulk phone records and instead have phone companies hold that data, while requiring individual orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain specific metadata. The government could also seek information on callers up to two "hops" from the number under suspicion.

  • The number of Americans with a security clearance has risen, for the fourth consecutive year, to 5.1 million, reports Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists. That's more than 28 of the 50 states.

  • Jonathan Zittrain explains in The New Republic why the US government's decision to give up its Commerce Department contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) does not equal surrendering control fo the Internet. That's because, he reminds us, the Internet isn't owned by anyone. Read the whole piece--it's a great description of the evolution of, "the Internet [as] a collective hallucination, one of the best humanity has ever generated."

  • Using publicly available White House visitor records, Paul Carr of PandoDaily has "revealed" (his word) that Pierre Omidyar has been to the White House six times, meeting once with "Beth Novech" (sic), then the White House deputy chief CTO, who he also incorrectly reports "now works in a similar role for the UK government." Apparently, in Carr's view, these visits make Omidyar "cozy" with the White House and negate any critical coverage journalists at First Look Media may produce.

  • The best part of Nitsuh Abebe's colorful profile in New York magazine of the Upworthy team at work: the detailed list of "big trends" and "core competencies" on the wall behind co-founder Peter Koechley. Among the latter: "Not precious, still changeable" and "Mixed metaphors + new words."

  • In the SF Chronicle, Ellen Huet traces the history of anti-tech-rich protests in San Francisco, noting that this isn't the first time this has happened. Interestingly, she notes that many of the protesters actually have broader concerns about unequal tax and housing policies, but couldn't get attention until they targeted Google's shuttle buses. "We'd been organizing marches and protests against Realtors and investors for a while and not getting media coverage," one housing activist, Erin McElroy told Huet. "And then suddenly, we stopped a Google bus and the whole world turned our way."

  • President Obama has answered his first two questions on Quora.com. Naturally, they're about the Affordable Care Act. The administration is pulling out all the stops to get people to sign up before the March 31st deadline.

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

First POST: System-Gaming

Why techies interested in political reform are facing challenges; the latest data on Democratic voter contacts in 2014; Hungary's anti-Internet tax demonstrations are getting huge; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Gimme Shelter

The link between intimate partner violence and surveillance tech; the operational security set-up that connected Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden; how Senate Dems are counting on tech to hold their majority; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Tribes

Edward Snowden on the Internet's impact on political polarization; trying to discern Hillary Clinton's position on NSA reform; why Microsoft is bullish on civic tech; and much, much more GO

monday >

First POST: Inventions

How voter data-sharing among GOP heavyweights is still lagging; why Facebook's News Feed scares news publishers; Google's ties to the State Department; and much, much more. GO

friday >

First POST: Spoilers

How the GOP hasn't fixed its tech talent gap; the most tech-savvy elected official in America, and the most tech-savvy state-wide candidate; and much, much more. GO

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