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First POST: Trucking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, May 23 2014

Trucking

  • Despite the late opposition of a coalition of tech companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, the US House voted overwhelmingly in favor of the watered down USA Freedom Act, 303-121.

  • Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the bill's main sponsor, said the vote shows "Congress does not support bulk collection" of Americans' metadata. But, as Alex Byers of Politico noted, during floor debate he added, "I wish this bill did more…“To my colleagues who lament the changes, I agree with you. The privacy groups who are upset about lost provisions, I share your disappointment.”

  • Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), said that she didn't believe that the bill would end bulk collect, noting, "Regrettably, we have learned that if we leave any ambiguity in the law, the intelligence agency will run a truck through that ambiguity." It's perhaps worth recalling that Lofgren was one of a handful of representatives who requested a private briefing from independent security analyst Bruce Schneier back in January because the NSA wasn't being forthcoming about its activities.

  • For some reason, The New York Times Book Review assigned Glenn Greenwald's new book No Place to Hide to noted contrarian stylist and opinionist Michael Kinsley, and the result is a confused mishmash that probably says more about Kinsley's biases (he thinks the government should ultimately "have the final say over the release of government secrets") than Greenwald's.

  • Barry Eisler's response, "'Journalist' Argues in NY Times That Publishing Decisions Should Ultimately Be Made by Government" is priceless.

  • Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, and David Miranda just had a reunion somewhere in Russia. Shared with a selfie.

  • Julian Assange says in a WikiLeaks statement that Afghanistan is the second country, in addition to the Bahamas, where the NSA is collecting and storing nearly all the domestic and international phone calls, claiming in a statement that this is based on an unidentified source and can "be independently verified through forensic scrutiny of imperfectly applied censorship on related documents released to date and correlations with other NSA programs."

  • On TechCrunch, Josh Constine reminds readers that Facebook's new switch to default news feed posts to "friends only" is hardly the result of the company's sudden enlightenment (the initials FTC had something to do with it).

  • Meanwhile the Pope is staying off of Facebook because of concerns about abusive comments, reports Zachary Seward for Quartz.

  • On the Open Knowledge blog, Rufus Pollock explains why the recent European high court ruling on the so-called "right to be forgotten" also "appears to have the potential for significant (unintended) negative consequences for the publication and availability of key public interest information--the kind of information that is central to government and corporate accountability."

  • Net neutrality is not a topic for newspaper or TV coverage, Pew Research found, after studying news stories since the beginning of the year. That's not for a lack of interest, judging from the number of Twitter mentions of the topic, nearly 650,000, Pew notes. That's nearly as many as on the KeystoneXL pipeline, which has gotten much more print and TV coverage.

  • Don't miss Model View Culture's "An Open Letter on Feminism in Tech" from nine leading women techies.

  • Mother Jones' Brett Brownell sings the praises of the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine.

  • Philadelphia's CityPaper's Arielle Pardes reports that civic hackathons, "which have been popular here since the early 2000s, are becoming less about trendy apps and more about solving real-world problems." Amen to that.

  • Thailand's military has summoned Internet service providers to a meeting, likely to discuss how to carry out new censorship directives following Wednesday's coup, Steven Millward reports for TechinAsia.

  • Meanwhile, some Thais are taking to Twitter to mock their new rulers, sharing their own version of events using the hashtag #CoupMovies. Some examples: "Usurpico," "Kindergarten Coup," and "Good Will Junta." (h/t Mark Pesce)

  • We're taking off Memorial Day--see you on Tuesday!