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First POST: Unlocking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, July 28 2014

Unlocking

  • Politico's Darren Samuelsohn reports on "The GOP's digital dilemma" as the 2014 elections approach, and the judgment from Republican and Democratic techies alike is that the party's efforts to upgrade its tech and data practices since 2012 isn't quite up to snuff yet.

  • The passage of the cellphone unlocking bill is, to Gregory Ferenstein, an example of the Internet shaping public policy in a significant way, since it started with a highly popular petition on the White House's "We the People" portal.

  • Alex Howard points out that "there’s a much deeper backstory to why activism worked. He writes, "the people behind the e-petition didn’t stop with an official response from the White House. After making a lot of noise online, activists engaged Congress over a year and a half, visiting Capitol Hill, sitting in on phone calls and hearings, and being involved in the democratic process that led to this positive change."

  • In Salon, Lee Fang zaps about "half of the civil rights establishment" for selling out the Internet by submitting filings to the FCC backing chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal for a fast-lane and opposing any reclassification of broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. He blames "K Street consultants" and "telecom cash" for the pro-telecom position taken by groups like the NAACP, LULAC, the Urban League and many other civil rights groups.

  • Speaking of which, the Wall Street Journal's Max Vilensky profiles Columbia law professor Tim Wu, the author of the "net neutrality" concept, in his underdog bid for political office in New York.

  • Immigration Plan B? Acting as an ambassador for the startup incubator YCombinator, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is trying to drum up support for increasing the number of O1A visas given to highly-skilled foreign workers, a possible workaround to the cap on H1B visas that tech companies have been lobbying to lift, reports Hayley Tsukayama for the Washington Post.

  • Using information provided by several NSA whistleblowers, the EFF has made a filing in its Jewel v NSA lawsuit arguing there is now sufficient evidence showing that the spy agency is "conducting suspicionless and indiscriminate mass surveillance that is like the abusive 'general warrants' that led the nation's founders to enact the Fourth Amendment," its legal director Cindy Cohn said Friday.

  • David Carr says social media has made war coverage more immediate and less clinical. In case you haven't noticed.

  • Israelis and Palestinians are using social media and apps like WhatsApp to do everything from wage psychological warfare on each other, make fun of the other side's media operations, and in some rare cases, make friends across enemy lines, reports Itay Hod for the Daily Beast.

  • Iconoclast tech billionaire Mark Cuban has stepped into the debate over American companies buying foreign companies to reflag themselves and thus avoid paying American tax rates, saying he'll sell stock he owns in companies that move for tax reasons.

  • MyGov is a new web portal launched by India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi that invites them to contribute to governance by offering their opinions on current issues and suggesting and volunteering for civic tasks, the Press Trust of India reports.