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First POST: Attending

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, October 13 2014

Attending

  • Laura Poitras' new documentary, Citizen Four, opened Friday in New York and one of its most interesting and humanizing revelations is the news that Lindsay Mills, Edward Snowden's longtime girlfriend, moved to Moscow to live with him starting this past June, reports Glenn Greenwald.

  • More: The movie also confirms that a second leaker from within the national security system is feeding information to Intercept journalists, notes Ewen MacAskill for the Guardian.

  • Timed to CitizenFour's release: a long profile of Poitras by George Packer of The New Yorker.

  • Indians are welcoming the Modi government's introduction of real-time tracking of the movements of more than 50,000 government employees, reports Suhasini Raj of The New York Times. "The new system requires government employees to register their presence at the entrance to their offices using a biometric scan of a fingerprint or iris," Raj notes.

  • In Quartz, Devjyot Ghoshal describes the Indian monitoring system in detail. Attendance.gov.in is built on the Aadhaar platform: "It logs the entry and exit time, the exact device used and the average time the system took to authenticate an employee’s identity. The data is then organised by departments and ministries, before all the numbers from all of New Delhi are collated and displayed on the homepage." The data is all publicly searchable and downloadable.

  • Caveat emptor: It will not be much of a leap to turn this system on India's poor, who are being pressed into the Aadhaar system but often further disadvantaged by it, as Jessica McKenzie reported for techPresident back in August. As Ghoshal notes, the new attendance monitoring system "could be even expanded to government hospitals and schools" and "used…to track the number of mid-day meal beneficiaries in government schools."

  • Pre-roll on online video sites--especially the type that viewers can't avoid watching--is becoming scarce as political advertisers buy up inventory, reports Ashley Parker for The New York Times.

  • Bad karma: Lee Vinsel, a professor of science and technology studies at the Stevens Institute of Technology, tears into tech critic Evgeny Morozov for writing a long essay in The New Yorker last week about the origins of cybernetic analysis that drew heavily from Eden Medina's recently published book Cybernetic Revolutionaries but made only the most glancing citation of her work. Vinsel's argument about Morozov's alleged misbehavior is a subtle one, but given Morozov's outsized (and, in my humble opinion) way over-rated presence in the opinion pages and think-tank salons, well worth reading. Vinsel updates the story here, calling on the New Yorker and Morozov to release the full unedited draft of his essay.

  • Ushahidi has launched Ping, a mobile messaging app that works with all devices and platforms and enables a user to quickly send one message to tell all their friends and loved ones their status. It was inspired by the Westgate mall attack in Kenya a year ago, says Juliana Rotich of Ushahidi.