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First POST: Shemails

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, March 3 2015


  • Remember #TextsFromHillary? it looks like Hillary Clinton's tech cool just lost a lot of its shine. The New York Times' Michael Schmidt reports that during her years as Secretary of State, Clinton "exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business," possibly violating federal records laws and also potentially risking the security of her communications.

  • On Vox, Max Fisher reminds us that Clinton's decision not to use a government email account looks even worse as it came in the context of the still ongoing congressional investigation (from 2007-2009) of the Bush administration's firing of US attorneys for political reasons, and its failure to turn over millions of private emails pertaining to that scandal.

  • John Ellis (Jeb) Bush, who is planning to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, chided Clinton on Twitter, saying "Transparency matters. Unclassified @HillaryClinton emails should be released." He has posted his administration's emails (inadvertently released thousands of personal details in the process).

  • According to this 2014 story by Shawn Musgrave of MuckRock, Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano circumvented using a government email account by having staffers send emails on her behalf from their accounts. (h/t Glenn Greenwald)

  • Related: State workers in New York are now seeing a line on every email program they use saying when each message they said will "expire," reports Jimmy Vielkind for Capital NY. The state has started implementing a policy mandating the deletion of emails older than 90 days; state lawmakers are drafting legislation to change the policy, he notes.

  • Don't miss Matt Stoller's recounting in Salon of the political history that led up to last week's net neutrality victory. He notes, "the actual regulatory policy itself, while obviously a critical tool in terms of structur[ing] an open internet, is almost less important than the construction of a new political coalition of industrial interests and the creation of a new and sophisticated political consciousness for millions."

  • Here are a bunch of cartoonists who have no idea how net neutrality works, per John Hodgman.

  • The Obama administration is finally starting to post comprehensive indexes of agency databases, reports the Sunlight Foundation which fought successfully for the move, cracking open a window that may finally allow transparency advocates and third-party users of government data to really open up valuable information to public view. One example: the Labor Department has a nonpublic dataset of hazardous conditions complaints supplied by mining companies.

  • Some taxi drivers are beginning to game the competition between Uber and Lyft, to their own benefit, according to this story by Brian Fung in the Washington Post.

  • You can now call or text message using encryption, for free, on your iPhone, using Signal, a new app from Open Whisper Systems, reports Kashmir Hill for Fusion. The app is compatible with Redphone and TextSecure, also made by the same company. “We want to develop apps that are a joy to use where the cryptography is invisible," says Open Whisper Systems founder Moxie Marlinspike. "Apps that are better than their insecure competitors.”

  • Consumer groups including US PIRG, Public Citizen, Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Digital Democracy are calling on the Federal Trade Commission to be more pro-active when companies big data on individuals merge.

  • Motherboard's Steven Melendez reports on how user groups of frequent flyers are sharing information with each other online on how to get some amazing deals on airline tickets.

  • This is civic tech: Significance Labs, a project of the Blue Ridge Foundation that incubated several promising start-ups focused on helping the poorest 20% and then was renamed Blue Ridge Labs, has now become part of the Robin Hood Foundation. (Blue Ridge itself shut down last year.) The Blue Ridge Labs @ Robin Hood Fellowship is now accepting applications for fifteen fellows focused on developing digital tools aimed at helping New Yorkers build better lives and break the cycle of poverty. To apply, visit:

  • Versa, which came into the world as seeking to help publishers deliver timely election information to voters, and then pivoted into a platform connecting leading communicators to timely opportunities to push their message, has been acquired by, its founder Keya Dannenbaum has announced. Congrats Keya and team!