You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

First POST: Turbulence

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 13 2015


  • In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in France, British prime minister David Cameron is calling for making encrypted communications services illegal, reports Andrew Griffin for The Independent. And interior ministers of twelve major European countries are calling for increased censorship of offensive material online, David Meyer reports for GigaOm.

  • In case you need a refresher course in why Cameron's call is stupid and unworkable, just read this from BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow.

  • Apposite: Iceland's visionary MP Birgitta Jonsdottir guest-edited the latest issue of The New Internationalist, and here is her opening essay on "Democracy in the digital era." (The full issue, which is only available to subscribers, includes essays by Jillian York, Dunja Mijatovic, Nick Davies, Sunil Abraham, Eric King, and yours truly.)

  • In advance of the State of the Union, the White House is asking people on its email list what issues they want President Obama to focus on, and to "share what you're willing to fight to help accomplish." The web form asks respondents why the issue they pick is their top priority, and "what are you going to do to make it happen," including some very clear actions steps like "volunteering in my area." All data the White House is collecting to presumably use in mobilizing political support.

  • Must reading: "Welcome to the Open Data Movement's Turbulent Teenage Years," by NextCity's Andrew Zaleski, tells a tale of two cities, Philadelphia and Chicago. In the former, he recounts the challenges that led the city's first chief data officer, Mark Headd, to leave his position after less than two years. In the latter, Zaleski shows how civic hackers are translating open data into "tangible, street-level change."

  • A college student teensplains social media; danah boyd responds, not to the student, but to the techies and journalists treating his account as the last word on teens and social media.

  • Just posted: Our Eilis O'Neill takes a close look at how NationBuilder, the low-cost community organizing platform, enables groups to recruit and mobilize their members.

  • Speaking of online community organizing, check out Aldon Hynes' ruminations on reading the old Hack4Dean email archives.

  • Hackers calling themselves the "Cyber Caliphate" appear to have broken into the Twitter and YouTube accounts of the U.S. Central Command.

  • Remember all the hype about how Hong Kong democracy protesters were downloading and using the smartphone mesh networking app FireChat? Jason Li of Civic Beat, who is based there, decided to take a closer look.

  • In defense of the selfie-stick, and other forms of digital culture: the always terrific An Xioa Mina.