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First POST: Power Shifts

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, June 3 2014

Power Shifts

  • The Supreme Court refused to hear New York Times reporter James Risen's appeal of a court subpoena demanding that he turn over information about a source for a chapter in his book "State of War." Risen has vowed that he will go to jail rather than disclose his source, leaving his case in the hands of the Justice Department.

  • In the US, search warrants eventually become public court documents, but as the Wall Street Journal's Jennifer Valentino-Devries reports, requests for electronic surveillance stay sealed indefinitely, even after cases are closed, obscuring the extent to which law enforcement is using digital tracking tools like pen registers to pursue suspects. She notes, "Getting permission to use [those] techniques is easier than getting a search or wiretap warrant."

  • Reset the Net has garnered the support of some big websites, including Reddit, Imgur and BoingBoing, Alex Hern reports for the Guardian.

  • Oliver Stone is making a movie about Edward Snowden, using the book by Guardian journalist Luke Harding as his guide.

  • Speaking of Snowden, we can now confirm that he will be speaking at Personal Democracy Forum this Thursday, in a dialogue with Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow. You can still get a ticket here; prices at the door are higher.

  • Jonathan Zittrain explains how Facebook could tilt an election, and how to prevent that from happening.

  • In case you missed it, John Oliver's 13-minute segment this past Sunday night on how to make net neutrality interesting is worth the watch. At least 115,000 people agree.

  • The US Food and Drug Administration just launched openFDA, a database and API containing more than 3 million adverse drug event reports.

  • Capital New York's Liz Benjamin, a veteran observer of Albany's byzantine politics, explains why the biggest winner of this weekend's brawl over the Working Families Party endorsement of Andrew Cuomo for governor could well be his erstwhile challenger, Zephyr Teachout--if she decides to make a career of representing the dissatisfied left in New York State.

  • Inside Philanthropy's L.S. Hall offers "four takeaways" on the $120 million donation from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Dr. Priscilla Chan to needy schools in the Bay Area.

  • On Next City, Nancy Scola reports on Clay Shirky's recent talk at the "Collaborative, Peer, and Sharing Economy Summit," catching him, we think, in a bit of over-generalization about where this is all going.

  • The three-fingered solidarity salute from "The Hunger Games" movies has been spotted being used by protestors against the military coup in Thailand.

  • Nigeria has banned #BringBackOurGirls protests, reports Brian Ries of Mashable. It remains to be seen if American celebrities will protest that.

  • A Singaporean blogger who has demanded more transparency from the tiny country's ruler has crowdfunded more than $50,000 in small donations for his legal defense, a sign, writes Howard Lee of The Online Citizen, that power is shifting and "people have grown weary of the power elite constantly using, as a matter of fact, completely legal means of defeating their detractors.

  • The Ukrainian factchecking site StopFake, which tries to police propaganda images being spread about the Ukraine crisis, is reaching 1.5 million unique visitors a month just 3 months after its launch, Lydia Tomkiw reports for NiemanLab.

  • Yesterday, a US Ambassador was sworn in on a digital copy of the Constitution on a Kindle, Brian Fung reports.

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

Beyond @Congressedits, Capitol Hill Looks for Entry to Wikipedia

As he recently told techPresident, the creator of Congressedits did not aim to make Members of Congress look bad, but said he hoped that they would recognize the importance of Wikipedia as a public space and engage more with its community. "If staffers and politicians identified as Wikipedians, that would be super. You could imagine politicians' home pages with a list of their recent edits, that they would be proud of the things that they are doing." On Capitol Hill, there is in fact interest in making that vision a reality, starting off with an initial conversation that could create a framework for more Wikipedians in Congress. GO

wednesday >

In the Philippines, Citizens Go Undercover With Bantay to Monitor Public Offices

The Philippines, a country of almost 100 million, is considered among the most corrupt country in Southeast Asia, despite a boost in Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in the past few years (from 134th in 2010 to 94th in 2013 out of 175.) Corruption involves all levels of government, but benefits also from a mindset of tolerance, says Happy Feraren, the co-founder of Bantay.ph, an anti-corruption educational initiative that teaches citizens how to monitor the quality of government services, sometimes by going undercover. GO

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