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First POST: Tipping Points

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, April 16 2014

Tipping Points

  • Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is spending $50 million to build a grassroots network of women, and mothers in particular, called "Everytown for Gun Safety" that will focus on expanding background checks for gun buyers.

  • Notes New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters, "[Bloomberg's] financial commitment to reducing gun violence could grow. When asked how much he was willing to spend, he tossed out the $50 million figure out as if he were describing the tip he left on a restaurant check. 'I put $50 million this year, last year into coal, $53 million into oceans,' he said with a shrug, describing his clean energy and sustainable fishing initiatives. 'Certainly a number like that, $50 million. Let’s see what happens.'”

  • Remember when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg insisted that it only made sense to have one identity online? "Having two identities for yourself is an example of lack of integrity," he told Facebook Effect author David Kirkpatrick. Now he tells the New York Times' Farhad Manjoo that "there are some sets of experiences that are just better with other identities," adding, "There are different forms of identity you can use to forma relationship. You can use your real identify, or you can use phone numbers for something like WhatsApp, and pseudonyms for something like Instagram."

  • In less than a week, Medicare's big data release on the billing practices of more than 800,000 doctors has been downloaded more than 100,000 times, reports Alex Howard for TechRepublic as part of a round-up on some recent big events in US data transparency.

  • Abhi Nemani, who recently stepped down from co-running Code for America, takes to Medium to argue for more app diversity in the civic tech ecosystem.

  • Julia Angwin points out the big lesson of the Heartbleed bug: it's time to get serious about Internet security. Also, have you updated your passwords?

  • Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky blogs at the Huffington Post about the $21 million his company "is legally prohibited from helping collect and remit" in New York.

  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Rainey Reitman is asking web developers for volunteer help building a "free software backend for contacting Congress." The core work is done, but they're looking for volunteers who will help customize the tool for each of Congress' 535 members.

  • I'm coming to this late, but this essay by Zephyr Teachout, former Howard Dean campaign internet director and Fordham Law School professor, on what Chief Justice John Roberts gets wrong about the meaning of corruption and a quid pro quo in American jurisprudence, is a must-read.

  • New feature from our WeGov section: Weekly Readings, a round-up of what our editors Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao are reading on the international scene.

News Briefs

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In China, Local Governments Play Whac-a-Mole With Taxi Apps

It seems these days that car-hailing apps exist only to give cities grief. In New York, car sharing start-ups like Lyft ignore labor, safety insurance laws and in China, the situation is no different except in one regard: taxi hailing apps in China are proliferating at a faster rate than in the U.S. In China, however, the taxi system is very much in its infancy and local Chinese governments are struggling to control the proliferation of new apps that flout the law. GO

thursday >

The Uncertain Future of India's Plan to Biometrically Identify Everyone

Since its launch in 2010, people in India have raised a number of questions and concerns about the Aadhaar card —formally known as Unique Identification (UID)— citing its effects on privacy rights, potential security flaws, and failures in functionality. GO

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