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First POST: Rising

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 28 2015


  • is one hub for information about the protests against police violence in Baltimore.

  • This data journalism story from last September's Baltimore Sun catalogues the many cases where the city has paid out settlements to residents beaten by police.

  • Riots in Baltimore yesterday began with word spreading on social media of a "purge," according to The Baltimore Sun's Justin Fenton and Erica Green, a reference to a movie where crime becomes legal.

  • Baltimore Orioles COO John Angelos connects the dots in a very different way, in a series of tweets summarized here on USA Today. The key lines, after he condemns the riots: greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

  • Caitlin Dewey of the Washington Post draws on the work of SocialFlow data scientist Gilad Lotan to explain why #FreddieGray hasn't trended nationally on Twitter, as of yet.

  • Body cameras on police officers are coming, but as Robinson Meyer reports for The Atlantic, there's little agreement about their usefulness. As Emily Shaw of the Sunlight Foundation tells him, while the footage collected is "very clearly a public interest record," such videos are also "just full of private information."

  • Three of the "most justifiably paranoid people in the world," Ai Weiwei, Laura Poitras and Jacob Applebaum, meet up in Beijing to make an art project for Rhizome, and Fusion's Kashmir Hill is there to document the event.

  • A group of American whistleblowers including Daniel Ellsberg and Thomas Drake announced their support for the Surveillance State Repeal Act, Dan Froomkin of The Intercept reports.

  • Security expert Bruce Schneier says its time for the FBI to stop suppressing coverage of the Stingray cell phone interception tool being used by various law enforcement agencies, especially since amateurs and criminals can make their own — and that the real issue is that our cell phone networks are too vulnerable in the first place.

  • A new bill introduced by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) would increase the penalties for cyber criminals who obtain information from a protected computer "without authorization." Zack Whittaker of ZDNet writes that this new bill directly counters "Aaron's Law," which aims to reform the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to take into account non-malicious Internet activities.

  • Self-described #ClintonMan Tom Watson, an expert on philanthropy, uses his column to defend the Clinton Foundation, stating that "In the world of big American philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation is remarkably transparent." He also says that it should "come under greater scrutiny than most other U.S. charities" given its past, present and future connections to government.

  • Yesterday, Mike Allen of Politico highlighted the fact that "Per Facebook, the video of Obama's "Anger Translator" bit from Saturday's [White House Correspondents Association] dinner has been viewed 25 million times," calling it "HOT ONLINE." I beg to differ. This is a vastly inflated number, since Facebook actually counts a "video view…as a view of three seconds or more…including those that come to life as people scroll through News Feed." A much more relevant number is how many times the video has been liked (488,000 times as of this morning) or shared (665,000). Facebook now says the video has gotten 31 million views--but the number of likes it's gotten only increased about 58,000 since yesterday.

  • Compared to the George W. Bush Foundation, the Clinton Foundation is more transparent in disclosing all of its donors, Peter Overby and Domenico Montanaro report for NPR. The Bush Foundation just lists its corporate backers with no amounts included.

  • NY political journalist Errol Louis says in the Daily News that we shouldn't define corruption down, writing that "Hillary Clinton’s defenders simply say the slippery mix of money, shmoozing and private promises exchanged with foreign players doesn’t constitute a crime.We can surely do better. It should be unthinkable for a candidate for the Oval Office to accept money from foreign sources, and voters should never miss an opportunity to say so — to pollsters, to candidates and most of all to each other."

  • Veteran tech strategist and promoter Sylvia Paull reminds us that if billionaires like those being minted by the tech industry just paid all their workers, including those doing low-end service jobs, a much higher salary, they wouldn't be as rich but then the foundations they endow wouldn't have to dole out so much charity.

  • This is not only fun, it's useful: New York Times news desk staff editor Daniel Victor shares a nifty trick for finding first-person news sources on Twitter.

  • Mozilla Foundation chair Mitchell Baker offers a detailed roadmap for foundations that want to develop the public benefit aspects of the Internet, building on the NetGain Challenge laid out by her as well as the presidents of the Ford, Knight, MacArthur and Open Society Foundations.

  • CNN political reporter Peter Hamby is joining mobile app Snapchat as its head of news, Dylan Byers reports for Politico.

  • Meet Karthik Balakrishnan, the 22-year-old coder who helped build India's million-strong "Save the Internet" campaign.

  • Today at 2pm ET on via Google Hangout, a roundtable on "Transforming Government IT" hosted by Greg Elin, the founder and CEO of GovReady , along with Ward Cunningham, Matthew Burton and many other great speakers.