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First POST: Where's the Outrage?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, May 7 2014

Where's the Outrage?

  • National Journal's Ron Fournier went looking for the outrage over the slow death of net neutrality, and after talking to some "technology experts," he came away predicting a populist explosion. He writes:

    If net neutrality dies and the internet "rails" suddenly become more expensive and less reliable via monopolies, the protests will be loud. Cheap, easy access to information, entertainment and e-commerce are as engrained in modern American life as the telegraph and trains had become in early 20th century. Take that away, and the elites will pay. 

  • Last night, Fournier's piece was being retweeted by the likes of Joe Trippi, Om Malik, Marc Andreessen and David Crosby. This is all well and good, except that we are already overpaying for slow, crappy Internet service and last internet-populist explosion, against SOPA/PIPA, was focused on a far simpler, black-and-white power grab. Still, one can dream…

  • Just posted: Our Miranda Neubauer takes a close look at how the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag helped power a local Nigerian protest against the abduction of hundreds of girls by a Muslim militant group, and managed to capture the fickle attention of Western thought-leaders.

  • While we're on the subject of hashtag activism, don't miss Harry Cheadle's description for Vice of the social media-driven "news cycle" of the "self-replenishing outrage machine that hums along, screaming about each new offense against INSERT NAME OF IDEA OR GROUP HERE as if it were the most vile transgression of all, then abruptly but seamlessly moving on to the next uniquely obscene gaffe or theory."

  • Charlie Savage reports in the New York Times on the competing House bills that each aim to curb some aspects of the NSA phone metadata collection.

  • Worth noting: neither bill would address the far greater violation of foreigners' privacy under the NSA's surveillance programs abroad, nor the "incidental" collection of millions of Americans' digital communications that is part of that ongoing process.

  • InsidePhilanthropy.com's Michael Gentilucci is keeping a close eye on the SF Gives initiative to get at least 20 tech companies to commit half a million dollars each to fighting Bay Area poverty. He notes that with one day to go before its deadline, so far only 15 have pledged, including Salesforce, Box, Dropbox, Google, IfOnly, Jawbone, LinkedIn, POPSUGAR, Zynga and Apple.

  • By the way, if you work in the nonprofit sector and you aren't already reading InsidePhilanthropy, the brainchild of David Callahan (PDM friend, prolific author and co-founder of Demos), go check it out. It's most innovative feature: asking readers to anonymously rate funders and program officers.

  • A group of major media companies, including The New York Times, have filed a friend of a court brief in support of a drone hobbyist who the FAA fined $10,000 for making a promotional video about the University of Virginia, reports Jeff John Roberts for GigaOm.

  • Neil MacFarquhar reports for the Times on Russia's new "Bloggers Law," which was signed Monday by president Vladimir Putin.

  • Anton Nosik says Russia is skipping over the Chinese model of online censorship and going straight to North Korea.

News Briefs

RSS Feed friday >

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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