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First POST: Jargon Busters

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 28 2015

Jargon Busters

  • The Republican National Committee's tech operation is getting reshuffled, Darren Sameulsohn reports for Politico. Headed to the Koch brothers' i360 data analytics shop: Chuck DeFeo, the RNC's digital director. Out as CTO: former Facebook engineer Andrew Barkett. Stepping into their shoes: Mindy Finn, most recently at Twitter but with tons of digital experience stretching back from Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty to Bush-Cheney '04 (plus a stint at the nonpartisan Voting Information Project); and Azarias Reda, currently the RNC's chief digital officer.

  • The 2' x 2' drone that crash-landed on the White House lawn early Monday morning was piloted by a drunk employee of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency who was off-duty at the time, report Michael Shear and Michael Schmidt for The New York Times.

  • The FCC has come down firmly against allowing hotels to block patrons from using their own Wi-Fi hot spots, Megan Geuss reports for ArsTechnica.

  • A new report from the FTC warns that the "Internet of Things" presents serious data security and privacy risks, Natasha Singer of The New York Times reports.

  • Gigabit Google Fiber is coming to 18 more cities across the metro areas of Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville and Raleigh-Durham, blogs the company's VP for Google Fiber, Dennis Kish.

  • The "Speakers Commission on Digital Democracy," a task force set up by the UK House of Commons, has issued a series of striking recommendations for modernizing how that venerable body uses technology. Among them: insuring that the British public can actually understand what Commons is doing, including "developing digital tools such as jargon busters"; using "more infographic and visual data"; ending the ban on members of the public bringing mobile devices into the parliament's chambers; experimenting with involving the public in questioning ministers and contributing to lawmaking via digital means; creating a "Cyber Chamber" or "Open House" digital public discussion forum for informing parliamentary debates; and making the legislative record and the register of MP's financial interests available as open data.

  • Civicmakers' co-founder Lawrence Grodeska reports on CityCampSF, which took place on January 10th at Code for America's HQ. He writes, "I was struck by the beauty of what emerges when a group of passionate people come together to talk about what is most important to them."

  • Forbes contributor Tom Watson offers his take on the Bill Gates' funded Global Citizen database effort, asking if the project will "big foot" other venerable efforts like GlobalGiving, Kiva and Idealist.

  • Responding to a Turkish court order, Facebook has begun blocking pages that "offended the Prophet Muhammad," just weeks after Mark Zuckerberg penned an eloquent defense of free speech signed "#JeSuisCharlie," reports Caitlin Dewey for the Washington Post.

  • A private, semi-secret mesh network of some 9,000 users is tolerated in Cuba, reports Michael Weissenstein for the AP. That is, as long as its "users don't share pornography, discuss politics or link [it] to illicit connections to the real Internet," he writes.

  • If you don't have time to read New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait's long whinge about political correctness, which he thinks has gotten worse because social media, this response by Alex Pareene in Gawker should salve your guilty conscience. Pareene summarizes Chait thus: "…the destruction of the magazine industry and the growth of the open-forum internet have amplified formerly marginal voices. Now, in other words, writers of color can be just as condescending and dismissive of Chait as he always was toward the left. And he hates it."