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First POST: Tracking

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, October 17 2014


  • Users of Whisper, an anonymous sharing app where people post more than 2.5 million messages a day, are being intensively tracked by the company, report The Guardian's Paul Lewis and Dominic Rushe. Among the revelations in their story: Whisper is currently targeted military personnel and people claiming to work on Capitol Hill, and it is sharing data with both the FBI and MI5.

  • Whisper's editor-in-chief, Neetzan Simmerman, tells the Washington Post's Tim Herrera that the Guardian's story was a "pack of vicious lies."

  • Speaking yesterday at the Brookings Institution, FBI director James Comey reiterated his concern about the new wave of strongly encrypted mobile phones, saying that the "post-Snowden pendulum" has "gone too far," report David Sanger and Matt Apuzzo for The New York Times.

  • Tech company leaders are pushing back. As Sanger and Apuzzo report, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith recently commented, "Just a people won't put their money in a bank they won't trust, people won't use an Internet they won't trust."

  • New Media Ventures has just launched its Innovation Fund, looking to provide early risk capital to progressive media and tech startups. "We aim to make $50K investments into 2-10 companies," blogs Lindsey Franklin of NMV. Applications are due by November 17th.

  • High-tech community service: Not only does Facebook mogul Sean Parker have to pay $2.5 million in fines for his environmentally insensitive wedding at Big Sur last year, he has to create a beach-mapping app for the California Coastal Commission, reports Kurtis Alexander for the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • New Zealand's national police raided the home of an independent journalist working with The Intercept on stories drawn from Edward Snowden's NSA archive, report Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher for The Intercept.