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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 monday >

Germany Releases Open Data Action Plan Amidst Grassroots Enthusiasm and Pirate Party Turmoil

The German government on Wednesday unveiled its open data action plan to implement the open data charter established by the G8, now G7, countries. But while German open government advocates welcomed its release, for them it does not go far enough. Even as the open data movement is taking new hold in Germany on the local level with encouragement from the new Code for Germany effort, in the national Pirate Party, the supposed German net party, internal leadership disputes are overshadowing its digital agenda. GO

friday >

First POST: Scotched

Why conservatives should back net neutrality; how big data may damage civil rights; the ways Silicon Valley start-ups are exploiting freelance workers; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Resets

Apple's new iOS8 promises greater user privacy; Occupy Wall Street three years later; how tech may tilt the Scotland independence vote; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Connecting the Dots

Take Back the Tech grades Facebook, Twitter, et al, on transparency; MayDay PAC founder Lawrence Lessig talks about getting matched funds; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

First POST: Splits

USA Freedom Act divides Internet activists; Julian Assange's Reddit "Ask Me Anything"; New York's pro-net-neutrality protest; and much, much more GO

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