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First POST: Unequal Relationships

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, July 11 2014

Unequal Relationships

  • The proposed Data Retention and Investigation Powers (DRIP) Act, which is being rushed through the UK Parliament as we speak, is being attacked by the likes of the World Wide Web Foundation, the Open Rights Group and the Law Society for its draconian expansion of government powers over communications data, reports David Meyer for GigaOm.

  • Google is sending some of its top executives, including chairman Eric Schmidt, on a multi-city tour of Europe later this year, along with an external group of advisors, to promote and explain its approach to online privacy, Mark Scott reports for the New York Times.

  • Related: Google's top lawyer, David Drummond, says in a Guardian oped that the company erred in removing links to several Guardian articles in response to the "right to be forgotten" court ruling and has reinstated some of them.

  • Germany is expelling the CIA's station chief in Berlin in the wake of a second US spy, this one ties to the German military.

  • The NSA says it has more of Edward Snowden's emails from when he was a contractor there, but is refusing to release them, saying that "could interfere with law enforcement proceedings," invade personal privacy (irony alert!) or expose sources or law enforcement methods, reports Matthew Keys, who had made a FOIA request for the communications.

  • Writing for Wired, Kyle Wiens and Sina Khanifar hail legislation moving toward a Senate vote that would legalize the unlocking of cell phones, arguing that its success shows that "internet activism" can work.

  • Writing for The Washington Post's "The Switch" section, Nancy Scola (we knew her when!) reports on open government maverick Carl Malamud's latest brilliant scheme: he's working with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and reaching out to White House CTO Todd Park to try to give the Internal Revenue Service a modern tool to ensure that personal identifying information gets redacted properly from nonprofits' tax records when they are made public.

  • The twitterbot @Congressedits, which posts whenever someone anonymously edits Wikipedia from an IP address inside Congress, is taking off.

  • In an interview with the World Editors Forum's Julie Posetti, NYU professor and media critic Jay Rosen makes a critical point about Facebook that journalists should attend to:

    "Facebook has all the power. You have almost none. Just keep that in mind in all your dealings with it, as an individual with family and friends, as a journalist with a story to file, and as a news organization that is "on" Facebook. Did you ever hear that line, "don't pick fights with people who buy their ink by the barrel?" That was a statement about power in a previous media age. Now Facebook is in that position. They buy their ink by the barrel. So don't think this is anything but a relationship among unequals.

  • Democratic party fundraising committees are raising piles of money online in reaction to Obama impeachment calls from people like former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, Byron Tau reports for Politico.

  • Capital's Azi Paybarah reports that Zephyr Teachout, the law professor and former Howard Dean internet director, who is seeking to challenge sitting Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo, has won the endorsement of a local Democratic club in Manhattan.

  • A new book from the MIT Center for Civic Media, "Global Dimenstions of Digital Activism," edited by Ethan Zuckerman and Lorrie LeJeune, is now available online under a Creative Commons license. It's made up of four case studies from Sudan, Russia and Nigeria, with more to come.

  • The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the only truly digital-first federal government agency, is now recruiting its next wave of Technology & Innovation Fellows. A blog post by its CIO Ashwin Vasan explains the program and highlights work done by the current crop of fellows.

News Briefs

RSS Feed thursday >

NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015. But as preparations are underway for City Council open data oversight hearings in the fall, what matters more to advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality. GO

Civic Tech and Engagement: Announcing a New Series on What Makes it "Thick"

Announcing a new series of feature articles that we will be publishing over the next several months, thanks to the support of the Rita Allen Foundation. Our focus is on digitally-enabled civic engagement, and in particular, how and under what conditions "thick" digital civic engagement occurs. What we're after is answers to this question: When does a tech tool or platform enable actual people to make ongoing and significant contributions to each other, to a place or cause, at a scale that produces demonstrable change? GO

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Tweets2Rue Helps Homeless to Help Themselves Through Twitter

While most solutions to homelessness focus on addressing physical needs -- a roof over the head and food to eat -- one initiative in France known as Tweets2Rue knows that for the homeless, a house is still not a home, so to speak: the homeless are often entrenched in a viscous cycle of social isolation that keeps them invisible and powerless. GO

Oakland's Sudo Mesh Looks to Counter Censorship and Digital Divide With a Mesh Network

In Oakland, a city with deep roots in radical activism and a growing tech scene at odds with the hyper-capital-driven Silicon Valley, those at the Sudo Room hackerspace believe that the solution to a wide range of problems, from censorship to the digital divide, is a mesh net, a type of decentralized network that is resilient to censorship and disruption and can also bring connectivity to poor communities.

GO

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