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First POST: Leaders

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, October 9 2014


  • In Wired, Kevin Poulsen explains why there can't be a "golden key" that would allow the police--and only the police--to decrypt a smartphone, and explains why even when subject to a search warrant, an American isn't obligated to help police search their property.

  • If you want a deeper dive into why strong encryption of your personal data and devices is so important, read this post by Chis Coyne, co-creator of KeyBase.

  • Some titans of tech--including Eric Schmidt of Google and Brad Smith of Microsoft--joined Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) yesterday for an official Senate roundtable in a Silicon Valley gym on the "Impact of Mass Surveillance on the Digital Economy." As Nancy Scola reports for The Washington Post, the session actually focused more on the risks that government surveillance poses to the Internet.

  • The Daily Beast's Abby Haglage zings Silicon Valley companies and foundations for not doing much to fight Ebola.

  • The New York Times' Derek Willis explains "How ActBlue Became a Powerful Force in Fund-Raising."

  • Laying the groundwork for a potential dark-horse run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley is positioning himself as speaking for the generation after the baby boomers, reports CNN's Peter Hanby. (Or is he just angling to be Hillary's VP?) Says O'Malley:

    "Baby boomers and older were often told that if we specialize in terms of our skills, we will be more secure and prosperous, that the definition of 'making it' was living out in the suburbs as far way as possible with the biggest lawn possible," he said. "Young people have flipped that on its head. Younger people are choosing to live in cities. They realize that connections to each other are making us better. That WiFi is a human right. That proximity is important to entrepreneurship, access to capital and talent and diversity. There is an opportunity there for us as a nation to embrace that new perspective."

  • Whoa. 71% of elected officials in America are men, 90% are white and 65% are white men, according to an in-depth analysis of more than 40,000 local, state and national office-holders. This while white men make up just 31% of the population, reports WhoLeadsUs, a new project of the Women Donors Network's Reflective Democracy Campaign.

  • Alexis Madrigal, deputy editor of and one of its best tech writers, is leaving to become the Fusion cable network's Silicon Valley bureau chief and anchor of a TV show, reports Ravi Somaiya for the New York Times.

  • Twitter is consolidating its news, government and elections teams under Katie Jacobs Stanton, with Adam Sharp, who ran the government unit also taking on news, reports Re/Code's Kara Swisher. Out as a result: Vivian Schiller, who had come to Twitter a year ago from NPR to run its news unit.

  • Here's a useful typology for parsing the ICT4D (Information and Communications Technologies for Development) sector, building on conversations already underway in civic tech, by Tony Roberts. Of particular interest: separating method (is a project tech focused, communication focused or people focused) and intent (is it conformist, reformist or transformist).

  • Facebook use among American teens has dropped from 72% to 45%, a new survey from Piper Jaffray shows. They're flocking to Instagram (owned by Facebook) and Twitter.

  • In India to meet tomorrow with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says "Internet access is a human right."

  • Estonia, the world's most digitally advanced country, where nearly everyone files their taxes on the web in minutes and one-third of the electorate votes online, gets profiled by Mark Scott in the New York Times.