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First POST: Stardust

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, April 18 2014


  • A day after questioning Vladimir Putin live on Russian TV, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden turns to the Guardian to call out the Russian president for lying about surveillance programs and compares his answer to President Obama's original sweeping denials of the NSA's domestic programs' reach.

  • The Daily Beast's Eli Lake's condemnation of Snowden for "participating in a Soviet-style propaganda play" now looks a bit like a rush to judgment.

  • Mike Masnick of TechDirt compares Snowden's gambit to Sen. Ron Wyden's questioning of James Clapper, and praises him for challenging Putin.

  • The 2014 Boston Marathon will be monitored by hundreds of new surveillance cameras backed up by sophisticated software, and the PrivacySOS blog asks whether they'll be dismantled once its over, nothing that "numerous studies have shown that cameras don't do much if anything to deter crime" and aren't all that much help afterwards, either.

  • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says she does not intend to run for political office.

  • Obama adviser David Axelrod has signed on as a "senior strategic adviser" with UK Labor Party's Ed Miliband. His former colleague Jim Messina is working for PM David Cameron. The best line in Patrick Wintour's Guardian story on the announcement is this: "Labour aides insisted that Axelrod and his team would be integral to the campaign, and not be taking money just to provide stardust."

  • Remember when it was hard to get politicians to blog or tweet? Apparently, when it comes to "taking pictures of themselves, they've got no qualms.

  • Bloggers are journalists, says a Florida appeals court, Mathew Ingram reports for GigaOm.

  • Speaking of which, Eschaton blog author Duncan Black (aka "Atrios") celebrates his 12th anniversary as a political bloggers with a post titled, "#PleaseKillMe."

  • Amelia Showalter, former digital analytics director for Obama 2012, captures the problem with white-male dominated tech conferences with one nifty graphic.

  • Online activists who have built an advertiser boycott have significantly damaged Rush Limbaugh's business model, industry analyst Holland Cooke says.

  • Arun Gupta offers a tweet-by-tweet recap of the rise of #hashtag activist Suey Park, who he calls "the Bitcoin of activism" and her curious alliance with rightwing firebrand Michelle Malkin.

  • The Turkish government and Twitter appear to have agreed on a working arrangement where the country's telecommunications authority will blur posts deemed to contain "malicious content" by local courts.

  • The "Internet Republic of Pakistan" is under threat from a new series of proposed laws that would limit online freedom, writes Howard University professor Waris Husain.

  • Wikipedia page views related to the flu are a better predictor of flu trends than Google searches, a new study suggests.