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First POST: The Matrix

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, February 17 2015

The Matrix

  • Kaspersky Labs' new report on the NSA's extensive effort to embed spying tools deep within the hardware of targeted computers and networks gets big play from Nicole Perlroth and David Sanger in the New York Times, but if you want all the gory details, read Dan Goodin's write-up in ArsTechnica.

  • Related: Based on a February 6th court ruling, you are legally entitled to file a complaint with the United Kingdom's Investigatory Powers Tribunal to see if the NSA illegally shared any of your communications with Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) prior to December 2014, Quinn Norton writes. Over on Privacy International's site, you can join in.

  • Email is still the killer app for campaigns gearing up for 2016, reports Philip Bump for The Washington Post.

  • Many rightwing PACs spend only a fraction of the money they raise on supporting politicians they claim to support, reports John Hawkins for RightWing News.

  • Don't miss Nancy Scola's story for Politico Magazine on how former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe is driving Uber's battle for legitimacy, using techniques borrowed from his experience in politics.

  • Melody Kramer, formerly of NPR, had a #1 story on Medium last week, and as she writes here, you'll be surprised at how few page views her piece--on 64 ways to reimagine a news home page--actually got. (Update: an earlier version of First POST claimed Melody Kramer worked at NPR, but she recently left to join 18F.)

  • Related: After taking a close look at the engagement statistics on his own most popular 100 tweets of the last year, The Atlantic's Derek Thompson is convinced that the Twittersphere is a million miles wide and not even an inch deep. Or as he says of online sharing: "Is the social web just a matrix of empty shares, of hollow generosity?"

  • Jason Calacanis predicts that Apple will buy Tesla sometime in the next 18 months, but if you read this story in The Verge by Josh Dzieza about Tesla's moves toward developing a home-powering battery that can store solar power, it could be that Elon Musk has much more game-changing ambitions than just being Apple's electric car guy.

  • This is civic tech: Ron Bouganim and his $23 million GovTech Fund gets profiled in Next City by Rachel Dovey, in an excellent overview of the whole emerging field. Bouganim's first four investments are in AmigoCloud (mobile mapping), MindMixer (online engagement platforms), SmartProcure (helping public agencies buy goods and services) and SeamlessDocs (PDF e-signature service).