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First POST: Data Acts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 29 2014

Data Acts

  • Last summer, Edward Snowden retained top Washington defense lawyer Plato Cacheris, "in hopes of reaching a plea deal with federal prosecutors that would allow him to return to the United States," Charlie Savage and Matt Apuzzo report for the New York Times. No deal appears to be in sight, they add.

  • Trevor Timm fisks Hillary Clinton's recent critical comments about Snowden. He notes that Bill Clinton "was much more conciliatory and nuanced about people's anger over the NSA…so it would be easy for her to switch gears."

  • Michael Daniel, the White House cybersecurity coordinator, explains how the government is handling so-called "zero-day" vulnerabilities.

  • Who says Congress can't agree about anything? The Digital Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act, which will modernize how the federal government collects and publishes its financial data, is headed for President Obama's desk after passing with overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses, and as Alex Howard reports, the open government community is thrilled.

  • Former FCC adviser David Isenberg takes issue with Susan Crawford's suggestion yesterday that municipal broadband networks can't be "the only real long-term solution" to the FCC's pending abandonment of net neutrality. He makes a good point:

    There are some 25,000 municipalities in the US. Of these, 400 — 1.6% – are building or planning municipal networks. Crawford says that removing the state legal barriers to muni nets that exist in 20 states will make muni nets more common, but even in the 30 states with no such
barriers muni nets are a rare exception. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee that municipal networks won’t filter content, offer fast-lane pay-to-play deals or violate network neutrality in other ways.

  • In the New Republic, Sasha Issenberg offers a must-read guide to "the new playbook on the left" in 2014. Informed by increasingly sophisticated analyses of core and occasional voters and what moves them, he writes, "Democratic Senate campaigns will be designed to mobilize their way into contention, and then persuade their way across the finish line."

  • Writing for Wired UK, Carl Miller predicts that "Real-time analytics and meme warfare will shape the next election." I don't think you could write a more misinformed story. Miller starts with describing top Obama adviser David Axelrod, who is working for Labor's Ed Miliband, as a "digital strategist." Then he says that Obama's campaign data scientists produced "for every American voter, a series of predictions for how they'd act on Election Day." Not quite.

  • But wait, there's more! Miller breathlessly tells his readers how much the "twists and turns" of an election can bedevil a campaign, when we now know that gaffes rarely matter, but that in our brave new age, "There is now the realistic possibility that a politician will change the second half of a speech on the basis of how the first half is received, including on social media."

  • There is also the realistic possibility that I will now flap my hands and fly to the moon.

  • Klint Finley reviews Loomio for Wired. Where have we heard about this before?

  • Zeynep Tufekci explains how one misbehaving letter in a single tweet got a Turkish columnist and academic a 10-month jail sentence.

  • Disney was in talks to buy Buzzfeed, but balked at the $1 billion-plus price.

  • A company in China is using a giant 3-D printer to build up to ten houses a day.