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First POST: Blogrolling

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, January 29 2015


  • CBC News, in collaboration with the Intercept, reports on the most recent revelation from the Snowden archive: Canada's electronic spy agency tracks millions of downloads daily as part of their program "Levitation."

  • Related: How to leak to the Intercept, by its security expert Micah Lee.

  • Correction: Yesterday I had the wrong link to Darren Samuelsohn's report in Politico about the shake-ups in the RNC's digital team. Here's the right one.

  • There's renewed urgency behind writing regulations governing the civilian use of drones now that one has crashed onto the White House lawn, Julian Hattem reports for The Hill.

  • Yay, Andrew Sullivan has decided to stop blogging!

  • While I won't miss Sullivan's voice, your mileage may vary. The larger news in Sullivan's announcement is captured well by Ben Smith, the editor in chief of BuzzFeed, who made the leap from conventional reporting to political blogging back in the mid-aughts. Read the whole thing--and then remember that he's talking about the evolution of political blogosphere, which has been reconquered by the marketplace, not all blogs.

  • White House CTO Megan Smith is hard at work promoting digital innovation inside government and recruiting talent, reports Jack Moore of Nextgov. Speaking at the "State of the Net" conference Tuesday in DC, she said, "We are the country that created Amazon, you know, Jeff Bezos and his team. We're the country that created Facebook and Twitter and created the Internet. Why shouldn't the websites and the mobile services and the way that we do customer service with the American people from the government -- why shouldn't it be that good?”

  • Related: NPR covers 18F.

  • Big Data for good: Maura Ewing reports for NextCity on how the nonprofit data analytics firm SumAll is trying to help NYC social service agencies figure out who is at risk of becoming homeless among the 200,000 households a year that receive an eviction notice. SumAll has developed a tool that uses court records, shelter history and demographic information like education level, employment status, age and past interaction with the foster care system to zero in on the most concerning cases. A pilot program in Brooklyn increased the number of families that got connected with eviction prevention services by 50%, keeping 65 families from ending up in a shelter, she reports.

  • Over at The Atlantic, Tim Hwang and Karen Levy explore how metaphors about big data have policy implications.

  • MySociety is letting go of some old websites in order to focus on its most successful platforms and new projects, and it's offering those puppies to prospective adopters. Among the babies they've decided to orphan: PledgeBank, FixMyTransport and ScenicOrNot. Please help them find homes for these children.