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First POST: Responding

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, November 26 2014

Responding

  • CNN's Don Lemon thinks that "actual protesters" in Ferguson, "most of them are peaceful," but "bloggers and people who are trying to make a name for themselves" are the people "causing the commotion every day." That is, as the Washington Post's Erik Wemple spotted, "People who want you to follow them on Twitter; or follow their blog; or follow them on livestream."

  • On NewsGenius and on The Guardian, St. Louis prosecutor Robert McCulloch's controversial news conference statement announcing the non-indictment of officer Darren Wilson is being annotated line-by-line.

  • Wikipedia's article on the shooting of Michael Brown was viewed nearly 500,000 times yesterday, five times its peak August 18th, a week after his shooting.

  • How John Cornyn's Senate campaign used Facebook for voter targeting is the subject of Philip Bump's latest look in the Washington Post at the expanding field of micro-manipulation. Notably, Cornyn political director Josh Eboch describes how they used Facebook "to respond to things without responding to things," that is--when Cornyn's opponent Steve Stockman "attacked Cornyn for being soft on guns, the campaign targeted Stockman-sympathetic voters who were worried about gun rights with an ad encouraging them to show their support for a concealed-carry bill Cornyn had introduced."

  • In case you missed yet, here at techPresident, Alex Howard sits down with James Windon, the president of civic tech startup Brigade, for an in-depth interview about the yet-to-be-launched new social network.

  • On Medium's Backchannel, editor Steven Levy had quite a frank phone interview about the coming legislative agenda with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) who is the head of the GOP's High-Tech Task Force. Hatch promises action on patent troll legislation, support for the Comcast/Time-Warner merger, renewed efforts on immigration reform, but nothing on NSA reform or net neutrality.

  • In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister David Cameron is pressuring tech companies to police their users more closely, in the wake a revelations that Islamic jihadis discussed their plans to kill a British soldier on Facebook. "Their networks are being used to plot murder and mayhem," Cameron charged. The former head of Britain's counter-terror agency MI6, Richard Barrett, later commented that he didn't think it was realistic to make companies like Facebook hand over everything they see that might be suspicious, that the sheer amount of information referred would overwhelm the intelligence services, and that bad actors could still use encryption to hide themselves from view.

  • First Look Media has laid off the staff of The Racket, a team that star investigative reporter Matt Taibbi had built but left in limbo after his departure from Pierre Omidyar's fledgling enterprise a month ago. One additional casualty: Racket Teen, a satirical Tumblr blog that the team had started to experiment with new forms of satire and news. This post sums up Racket Teen's spirit. Our condolences to former techPresident writer Sam Roudman, who had left us to work for The Racket, and now looks like this.

  • New York Times investigative reporter James Risen, whose new book Pay Any Price looks at the "Homeland Security Industrial Complex," has this to say to Glenn Greenwald about Barack Obama:

    ...one of his legacies is going to be that on a broad scale he normalized the War on Terror. He took what Bush and Cheney kind of had started on an emergency, ad-hoc basis and turned it into a permanent state and allowed it to grow much more dramatically than it ever had under Bush or Cheney, and part of that—I think within that—was his attack on whistleblowers and journalists. I think it’s all part and parcel of the same thing. If you believe in the national security state in the way Obama does, then you have to also believe in squashing dissent. 

  • After a long interview about privacy, encryption and civil rights, Edward Snowden tells Jane Mayer at the New Yorker Festival that he doesn't drink. "Little-known fact: I've never been drunk," he says.

  • Online American adults are pretty knowledgeable about tech, according to Pew Internet: 82% know that hashtags are widely used on Twitter; 66% know that a wiki is an online collaboration tool; and 61% know that net neutrality refers to "equal treatment of digital content."

  • For some as-yet-unexplained reasons, the Uber app for Android collects information on who you are calling and texting as well as your WiFi connection log, reports security analyst Joe Giron.

  • Hyperdemocracy: In Foreign Policy magazine, Tea Leaf Nation's Ellie Ng reports on widening divisions among different wings of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement.

  • Significance Labs fellow Ciara Byrne writes up what she learned while building an app for lower-income Americans. In her case, her team built NeatStreak, an app that aims to help housecleaners manage their relationships with clients.

  • "Friends in Space" is a quirky new social networking app designed to make it easy for people on Earth to say "hello" to Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti whenever her orbit on the International Space Station brings her overhead. According to Danielle Wiener-Bronner's report in Fusion, thousands of people have signed up in just the first two days, "and now everyone is saying hello compulsively."

  • And with that, it's time to compulsively wish our First POST readers a Happy Thanksgiving holiday. See you Monday!