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First POST: The Fire This Time

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, April 23 2014

The Fire This Time

  • The New York Police Department was hoping for some Twitter love when it asked people to tweet and tag photos of cops with #myNYPD but it's gotten a bitter taste of hashtag activism in response, as stories in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Daily News, and The Guardian attest today.

  • According to the Daily News' Thomas Tracy, Timothy O'Connor and Dareh Gregorian (with Mark Morales), by midnight last night, "more than 70,000 people had posted comments on Twitter decrying police brutality, slamming the NYPD for the social media disaster and recalling the names of people shot to death by police."

  • Note to Daily News editors: Does it really take 3.5 people to report on a trending Twitter topic?

  • The #myNYPD hashtag mutated, spawning #myLAPD for those folks who have enjoyed the tender treatment of the Los Angeles Police Department, and then #myChicagoPD.

  • On Techdirt, Tim Cushing explores how the longstanding tendency of judges to defer to cops, even when they know they often lie on the stand, may start to change as audio and video recording of police activities and proceedings become the norm. "Hey, jurors expect this in this age of technology," one judge comments.

  • Back-to-back must-reads on gender and tech: Google's civic tech dynamo Anthea Watson Strong says "It's Not My Job to Fix Your Pipeline Problem" and veteran ICT4D trouble-maker Katrin Verclas follows up with "Hey, Men in Tech: 10 Tips for Solving Your Pipeline Problem."

  • Transexual artist Calpernia Adams pens an eloquent attack on "the online thought police" for The Advocate. She writes:

    Right now, the endless flap over the gender community’s language is a hot topic, with RuPaul’s televised shemale and tranny games highlighting the question of who gets to say what in our balkanized communities. The language cops, in this case conservative trans women who object to their use under any circumstance, want tranny and other such words completely banned. I understand the arguments against the insult, but I don’t think these torch-wielders realize that transsexual women do not own the experience of gender crossing or the language created around it. Both the experience and the language have a long and hard-fought history across many groups; our history books are full of these stories. In seeking to blot out our internal language of historical words like tranny, the thought police are essentially burning books, one word at a time.

  • NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, an activist Democrat who is pursing many investigations affecting high-tech companies, pens a smart New York Times op-ed urging companies like Airbnb and Uber to learn from Yelp and work with his office on balanced regulation, rather than fighting it.

  • Meanwhile, that's exactly what Airbnb was doing in NY state court today, fighting Schneiderman's subpoena of its host records in the state.

  • You have to admire the chutzpah of Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny, who is currently under house arrest and barred from using social media. Charged with libeling a local politician by posting remarks about him on Twitter, he responded in court "that he was not using his social media accounts himself, and that they were being updated instead by his wife and various associates."

  • Another Politico email product, "Morning Money," gets torn apart -- this one for its pro-Wall Street bias.

  • Until I read Gideon Lewis-Kraus's "No Exit: Struggling to Survive a Modern Gold Rush" short e-book about the underbelly of Silicon Valley start-up life, I hadn't realized how much Theodore Dreiser would have recognized in today's San Francisco. The $1.99 is worth it; I couldn't put the story down until I finished it last night.

  • The FEC is looking at allowing Bitcoin, in small amounts, to be given as campaign contributions, Dustin Volz and Alex Brown report for National Journal.

  • Having for years championed campaign finance disclosure as the only kind of political regulation necessary for money in politics, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer recently changed his mind, citing the "persecution" of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich as the tipping point. Now Conor Freidersdorf of the Atlantic argues against the rising tide of anti-transparency talk on the Right.

  • ICYMI: My story from late yesterday on how the new Ruck.us borrows way more than its core idea from competitor Democracy.com.