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First POST: Scenarios

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, February 6 2015


  • How a "ragtag band of activists" won the battle for net neutrality. Brendan Sasso reports on how Marvin Ammori, Stanford's Barbara van Schewick, David Segal of Demand Progress, Fight for the Future (led by Tiffiniy Cheng and Holmes Wilson), Public Knowledge and Free Press, plus a big chunk of the start-up community led by Etsy, Kickstarter and Tumblr, got the FCC to shift its posture on the issue.

  • See also David Dayen's report in The New Republic on the fight.

  • Bloomberg's David Weigel reports on how conservatives opposed to net neutrality are trying to make their own viral campaign take off.

  • Most investigative journalists in America believe the government has probably collected data about their communications, the Pew Research Center reports in a new survey done with Columbia's Tow Center for Digital Journalism and IRE.

  • After ProPublica's Julia Angwin wrote about the dire financial straits of Werner Koch, the coder whose software powers encryption tools around the world, donations flooded in.

  • The White House has named Tony Scott of VMWare its new chief information officer, reports Alex Howard.

  • An anonymous Member of Congress shares "nine secrets from the inside" on Vox. Funny thing is, none of the nine are secrets if you've been paying attention.

  • Bloggers! It appears that the apocryphal "guy named Vinny in an efficiency apartment in the Bronx" has finally caught up with NBC news anchor Brian Williams, as Nick Gillespie smartly notes for (See also, "we can fact-check your ass.")

  • Williams' past comments about events during Hurricane Katrina, which he also covered as a reporter, are also gaining renewed scrutiny, reports John Simerman for the New Orleans Advocate.

  • The winning app at last week's "Hack4Congress" at the Harvard Kennedy School was Connect Congress, a platform that helps constituent groups prep for meeting their Members, reports BetaBoston's Eden Shulman.

  • After acknowledging that Twitter "suck[s] at dealing with abuse and trolls," company CEO Dick Costolo tells Mat Honan of BuzzFeed that the company is working on product updates that will make it "difficult to be an abuser, more expensive to be an abuser."

  • Worth pondering: John Herrman writes in the Awl on the future of commercial media in the age of apps: "A new generation of artists and creative people ceding the still-fresh dream of direct compensation and independence to mediated advertising arrangements with accidentally enormous middlemen apps that have no special interest in publishing beyond value extraction through advertising is the early internet utopian’s worst-case scenario."

  • Coke stopped its #MakeItHappy algorithmic hashtag campaign on Twitter after a savvy techie at Gawker, Adam Pash, the company's editorial labs director, created a Twitter bot that automatically tweeted lines from Mein Kampf, which the Coke algorithm dutifully illustrated and retreated, reports Nicky Woolf for The Guardian.

  • The top ten cities that are embracing technological innovation and enabling better use of public transit and other alternatives to cars, ranked by the Frontier Group and US Public Interest Research Group.

  • Chicago's 1871 tech incubator comes under fire for failing to do more to promote women in tech.

  • Turkey's Parliament has approved giving its government the ability to block any website without a court order.