Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

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 today >

With Vision of Internet Magna Carta, Web We Want Campaign Aims To Go Beyond Protest Mode

On Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee reiterated his call for an Internet Magna Carta to ensure the independence and openness of the World Wide Web and protection of user privacy. His remarks were part of the opening of the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, which the Web We Want campaign envisioned as only the start of a year long international process underlying his call to formulate concrete visions for the open web of the future, going beyond protests and the usual advocacy groups. GO

First POST: Lifestyles

Google's CEO on "work-life balance"; how CloudFlare just doubled the size of the encrypted web; Dems like Twitter; Reps like Pinterest; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Showdown

How demonstrators in Hong Kong are using mobile tech to route around government control; will the news penetrate mainland China?; dueling spin from Dems and Reps on which party's tech efforts will matter more in November; and much, much more. GO

friday >

Pirate MEP Crowdsources Internet Policy Questions For Designated EU Commissioners

While the Pirate Party within Germany was facing internal disputes over the last week, the German Pirate Party member in the European Parliament, Julia Reda, is seeking to make the European Commission appointment process more transparent by crowdsourcing questions for the designated Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society and the designated Vice President for the Digital Single Market. GO

First POST: Dogfood

What ethical social networking might look like; can the iPhone promise more privacy?; how Obama did on transparency; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Sucks

How the FCC can't communicate; tech is getting more political; Facebook might see a lawsuit for its mood manipulation experiment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Wartime

A bizarre online marketing effort targets actress Emma Watson; why the news media needs to defend the privacy of its online readers; Chicago's playbook for civic user testing; and much, much more. GO

More