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First POST: Zombies

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, September 10 2013


  • Joining Google and Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook have each asked the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for permission to be more transparent about the number and types of government requests for user data that they get related to national security.

  • ICYMI: In the course of an internal PowerPoint deck describing the NSA's ability to spy on smartphones, the agency refers to iPhone users as "zombies" and Steve Jobs as "big brother." For real.

  • Michael Arrington said he was going to ask hard questions about the tech industry's failure to challenge the NSA's "terrorism against the American people and everyone else in the world" at TechCrunch Disrupt, and he started yesterday by pressing VC Ron Conway. Conway's answer to Arrington:

    ““The events of the last 60 days indicate there needs to be a balance between transparency and national security… but I’m spending the rest of this year working on immigration reform. I’m not a bullshitter and tell people I’m going to do the same with NSA reform. Right now to me immigration reform is more important…You sound like the perfect leader.”

  • Speaking of TechCrunch Disrupt, which has already been taking heat for its regular male-dominated speaker line-ups, the event is now in the crosshairs for a presentation at their hackathon Sunday in San Francisco for an app called "Titstare." Here's Alexia Tsotsis and Eric Eldon's apology from TechCrunch.

In other news around the web

  • With New York City holding primary elections today for mayor and a bevy of lower offices, our Miranda Neubauer tracks down an array of tech industry figures and discovers that, despite Bill De Blasio's strong surge, most of them are backing Christine Quinn.

  • If you are voting today in NYC, go to to find your polling place and/or report problems. You can also take a #VoterSelfie. However, it's illegal to take a photo from inside the voting booth.

  • The New York City Opera is trying to raise a million dollars (to help close a $7 million budget gap) on Kickstarter.

  • Shut off your web access before you read this short New Yorker essay by Tim Wu: it's about how personal computers are ruining our ability to concentrate.

  • Susan Crawford, Larry Lessig and Tim Wu walk into a crowded "ask me anything" session on Reddit, and Berin Szoka of TechFreedom jumps in to mix it up with them.

  • "Putin, Assad, agree to new iPhone," tweet from Mat Honan that sums up just some of today's other craziness.