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First POST: Monkeying

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, January 22 2015


  • A careful look at the Republican-led net neutrality bill shows it provides net neutrality "in name only," report Stanford law professor Barbara van Schewick and grad student Morgan Weiland in the Stanford Law Review. They write, "the bill is so narrowly written that it fails to adequately protect users, innovators, and speakers against blocking, discrimination, and access fees."

  • See also Hamza Shaban in The Verge on "how the new Republican Congress plans to undercut net neutrality."

  • Heads-up! With the net-neutrality fight cresting at the end of February with the FCC's pending vote on its open internet rules, there will be no better place to be than "F2C: Freedom to Connect 2015" (#F2C15) on March 2-3 at Civic Hall. The long-running conference curated by our friend David Isenberg (See: "The rise of the stupid network") will be exploring the technology, economics & politics of Internet Freedom, with speakers including Bruce Schneier, Bill Binney, Susan Crawford, Zephyr Teachout, Eben Moglen, Dan Gillmor, Tim Wu and many others. For more info and to buy tickets, go to:

  • Related: Freshman Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) will soon introduce the "Community Broadband Act" aiming to block any state statute or regulation that would prevent cities from creating their own Internet services, Mario Trujillo reports for The Hill., an open petition platform aimed at center-right audiences, announced its launch this morning. "“The success of Care2 and on the left proves that online activism is mainstream," Paul Van Remortel, StandUnited's senior product manager said in a news release. "But for issues on the other side of political spectrum, the market is underserved." Intermarkets, the private digital firm behind StandUnited, manages online advertising for the Drudge Report, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, and Newsbusters. 

  • Here's the State of the Union minute-by-minute and topic-by-topic on Twitter.

  • Reaching for the next generation of post-literate American "readers"(?), the Guardian US' interactive team has posted an Emoji version of the State of the Union. We presume that next year the White House will have already made its own, official Emoji version.

  • The BBC had a debate on democracy and technology, and Rick Falkvinge (founder of Sweden's Pirate Party), Arvind Gupta (head of social media for India's BJP party), Vijaya Gadde (Twitter general counsel) and Emma Mulqueeny (founder of Young Rewired State) brought their best arguments, as Stuart Dredge reports for the Guardian.

  • Future, Unevenly Distributed: A drone carrying about 3 kilograms of crystal meth crashed in a Tijuana parking lot close to the border with San Diego, Vice's Andrea Noel reports.

  • "Imagine you see a story about climate change [in your Facebook News Feed], and you don't believe in climate change. If enough people do that, does it start monkeying with the algorithm in problematic ways?" That's Dartmouth professor Brendan Nyhan commenting in a terrific analysis story by Caroline O'Donovan in Nieman Lab on the latest changes announced by Facebook.

  • The founder of 4chan, Christopher Poole (aka "moot"), who was fifteen when he started the freewheeling site eleven-and-a-half years ago, is retiring as its administrator and handing the reins to a few senior volunteers.

  • Former White House deputy CTO Nick Sinai takes to Techcrunch to get more geeks into government service, specifically urging people to join the Veterans Administration's Digital Service.

  • Related: It's nice to see the US Digital Service's Mikey Dickerson sharing credit for the founding of the innovative service with Erie Meyer, who was one of the digital whizzes behind the outstanding Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launch. Back in August, the White House refused to confirm her role in the start-up for this techPresident story, even though she appeared clearly in a promotional video. But hey, women in tech, yay!

  • Congrats to our civic hacker friends across the pond at mySociety, who have just announced a $3.6 million investment from the Omidyar Network for the next three years. Considering how much they have achieved running on much less, this is very exciting news indeed.

  • Tech organizer Demond Drummer is joining the Smart Chicago Collaborative as the managing director of its Smart Chicago Challenge, Daniel X. O'Neil blogs.

  • Our Jessica McKenzie reports on Civic Hall's launch Tuesday, covering the day-long open house and unconference, and the evening party, where dignitaries like NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, city CTO Minerva Tantoco and former NY gubernatorial candidate and longtime PDM friend Zephyr Teachout offered their blessings (and some poetry from Walt Whitman).

  • See also Roy Beasley's Storify of the Civic Hall open house.

  • And here's the Civic Hall launch video, with a literal Who's Who of the friends and speakers who have helped build this community over the last 11 years. We could have included many more, and we thank you all!