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First POST: Punch List

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 21 2015

Punch List

  • In last night's State of the Union speech, President Obama reiterated his support for "a free and open internet" and promised to "extend its reach to every classroom and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks." On his "Tales of the Sausage Factory" blog, Public Knowledge's Harold Feld explains why "that little paragraph actually packs some good punch in Washington speak."

  • The President also gave strong emphasis to his administration's cyber-security agenda, notes Cory Bennett of The Hill.

  • The full text of Obama's speech was posted online in advance by the White House on Medium, giving the web audience the same access to the text that attendees and reporters have long enjoyed, notes Alan Yuhas for The Guardian.

  • Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), who delivered the Republican response to the State of the Union, made no mention of the internet or technology in her speech (though she did mention cybersecurity).

  • The geeks at the United States Digital Service, who are quietly transforming how the federal government develops and deploys tech, show off in this beautiful recruiting video illustrating their energy and diversity. Plus: Nose-rings and hipster beards and no suits and ties! "The culture is shifting," one says, and it's obvious.

  • HealthCare.gov sends personal health information to several third-party websites--even if the user has enabled Do Not Track, reports the AP's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Jack Gillum.

  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation has independently verified the AP's report. Cooper Quintin of EFF comments, "Health information is some of the most sensitive and personal information there is. People's private medical data should not be available to third party companies without consent from the user. This practice is negligent at best, and potentially devastating for consumers."

  • Dislike? Facebook is taking steps to "show fewer hoaxes" in its users' News Feed, the company's Erich Owens and Udi Weinsberg blogged yesterday. It will do so, they say, by taking into account when many people flag a post as false or choose to delete it. "Posts that received lots of reports will be annotated with a message warning people that many others on Facebook have reported it." It will be interesting to see if people use this feature to start downrating advertising and marketing they dislike, and if Facebook lets those signals through.

  • This exists: Drone 360, a print magazine for aerial robot enthusiasts, is launching in March, Joe Pompeo reports for Capital New York.