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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.

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In Mexico, A Wiki Makes Corporate Secrets Public

Earlier this year the Latin American NGO Poder launched Quién Es Quién Wiki (Who's Who Wiki), a corporate transparency project more than two years in the making. The hope is that the platform will be the foundation for a citizen-led movement demanding transparency and accountability from businesses in Mexico. Data from Quién Es Quién Wiki is already helping community activists mobilize against foreign companies preparing to mine the mountains of the Sierra Norte de Puebla.

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