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First POST: Pitches and Forks

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, June 27 2014

Pitches and Forks

  • Re/Code's Amy Schatz reports that FCC Chair Tom Wheeler has been having meetings this week with Silicon Valley VCs and executives from several start-ups to hear their opinions on his controversial net neutrality proposal.

  • In written testimony, Chris Soghoian, the ACLU's principal technologist, told the German Parliament's committee investigating the NSA surveillance scandal that if they want to protect Germany and its people from the NSA their police and intelligence services will also have to also give up their ability to monitor their own people's communications.

  • According to newly unsealed court documents, Facebook is fighting a so far losing battle to challenge warrants for account data being demanded by the Manhattan district attorney's office. The case revolves around whether the company has standing to object of behalf of hundreds of its customers who in this case were involved in defrauding Social Security with false disability claims. This means the larger question of the broadness of the prosecutor's data demands--which Facebook is characterizing as a fishing expedition akin to the cell phone searches the Supreme Court shot down earlier this week--will likely not be engaged.

  • More Snowden Effect: Germany has canceled a contract with Verizon.

  • In Europe, Google has started removing some search results at the requests of users, implementing the "right to be forgotten" decision of the European high court, reports Sam Schechner for the Wall Street Journal. It has received tens of thousands of such requests so far.

  • Technosociologist Zeynep Tufekci explains how a recent ankle injury and temporary weight gain taught her how to speak "behind the Web's back."

  • According to the Washington Post's Philip Rucker, Tom Hamburger and Alexander Becker, former president Bill Clinton has been paid $104.9 million for 542 speeches between January 2001 and January 2013. Not surprisingly, the financial sector has been his biggest patron, providing nearly one-fifth of that total. Hillary Clinton has followed in his footsteps since stepping down as Secretary of State in 2013, but no public records detail her earnings, though she is said to be "in higher demand than her husband," they report.

  • Writing in Politico, Nick Hanauer, the first outside investor in Amazon and a multibillionaire, warns his fellow "zillionaires" that "If we don't do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us." He calls for a $15 minimum hourly wage and attacks Walmart for not paying its workers enough to shop at its stores.

  • Mike Bloomberg's Mayors Challenge gets a warm welcome in Berlin, Feargus O'Sullivan reports for CityLab.

  • New stats from the White House show that We the People total usage has continued to increase, now reaching 14.5 million unique users. A White House blog post from Ezra Mechaber, deputy director of email and petitions, highlights a new feature designed to making signing petitions easier. But no word from him on whether the White House is going to be more responsive

  • MonkeyParking is refusing San Francisco's demand that it cease operations in the city, with its CEO Paolo Dobrowolny insisting this is a free speech issue: "I have the right to tell people if I am about to leave a parking spot, and they have the right to pay me for such information," he said in a statement reported by John Cote for the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • ICYMI: Who says registering to vote has to be complicated? In Libya, 1.5 million citizens registered to vote in this week's parliamentary election by text messaging the government election agency, reports our Rebecca Chao.

  • YouTube is testing a new crowdfunding feature called "Fan Funding," Stuart Dredge reports for The Guardian.