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First POST: Brewing

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, December 22 2014


  • Democratic tech firms are starting to pick favorites in the emerging 2016 presidential field, reports Darren Samuelsohn in Politico. Several top firms, including Blue State Digital, Bully Pulpit Interactive, Catalist, NGP VAN, Precision Strategies, Rising Tide Interactive, Trilogy Interactive and 270 Strategies, are all jockeying to work for the as-yet-undeclared Hillary Clinton campaign, he notes, while others like Revolution Messaging appear to be hoping to help an Elizabeth Warren candidacy.

  • Why hasn't campaigns' use of personal data led to the kind of backlash now surrounding companies like Uber? The Washington Post's Nancy Scola talked to some campaign data nerds, and the reason is contextual. As UNC professor Daniel Kreiss said to her, "what seems to matter in the political space is whether it's a group I've opted into, one that I'm ideologically aligned with. If I want that group to be as powerful as possible, my concerns about privacy are probably going to be a lot less."

  • The Federal Election Commission's new chair, Ann Ravel, wants to take a fresh look at whether the agency should get involved in requiring disclosure of campaign activity and money in politics online, and as Dan Morain writes in the Sacramento Bee, the mere suggestion has already got some right-wingers in a lather.

  • David Carr, the New York Times' influential media writer, says "The Interview" should be played on every available platform--"anywhere and everywhere that people can push a button and watch at the same time," adding that "ubiquity and the lack of a discernible target would trump censorship."

  • The Human Rights Foundation has launched an Indiegogo campaign called, seeking to "flood North Korea with films, books, educational materials, and equipment that will offer a window to the outside world," its COO Sarah Wasserman said in a press release. While seemingly well-intended, it's hard to see how such a campaign could work, or how it would protect ordinary North Koreans that it might reach.

  • "The cyber social-justice movement is always brewing on Tumblr," writes Valeriya Safronova for the New York Times, "and it picks up steam when shocking news hits the country or when protests take place offline." As one example, she notes that, "On Dec. 4, when a jury decided not to indict in the Eric Garner case, Tumblr experienced what Liba Rubenstein, director of social impact and public policy at Tumblr, called 'extreme peaks' in the use of the 'social justice' and 'black lives matter' tags."

  • Responding to a request form Russia's Internet regulator, Facebook has taken down a protest page in support of dissident activist Alexei Navalny, Michael Birnbaum reports for the Washington Post from Moscow. The page had been published Friday after prosecutors recommended Navalny be imprisoned for 10 years, he notes, and it had drawn thousands of supporters within hours.