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First POST: "Who Watches?"

BY Micah L. Sifry | Wednesday, January 8 2014

Who Watches?

  • The New York Times editorial page takes the Obama administration to task, again, for its failure to be more transparent--this time for withholding a secret Justice Department memo that gave the FBI legal authority to collect Americans' telephone and financial records without a subpoena or court order.

  • Want to see how your email metadata--just the time and date stamps and the "to" and "cc" fields--can be used to map your life? Read this post by the ACLU's Kade Crockford and then check out Immersion.

  • Bonnie Raines, one of the eight anti-war activists who broke into an FBI office in Pennsylvania in 1971 in order to find hard evidence of the agency's illegal domestic surveillance activities, writes an op-ed for the Guardian titled "Democracy needs whistleblowers."

  • Two California state senators, one from each major party, just introduced legislation called the Fourth Amendment Protection Action that seeks to prohibit any state support of the NSA or any other federal agency "from indiscriminate spying on its own citizens."

  • Newly obtained emails tie Governor Chris Christie to the controversial lane closings at the George Washington Bridge last fall, an act of apparent political punishment that is casting clouds on Christie's future political ambitions.

  • The Facebook pages of dozens of retired NY cops and firefighters who claimed millions in disability payments show them actually "fishing, riding motorcycles, driving water scooters, flying helicopters and playing basketball." More than one hundred people have been indicted for the widespread fraud, which may have cost the government $400 million.

  • NY cops are monitoring the online videos posted by rappers to investigate gang rivalries.

  • Joe Trippi's political predictions for 2014 and 2016 include this: if two-party polarization doesn't abate, a third-party candidate will arise powered by the Internet: ""The ability for millions of people to come together around one candidate and provide the money and resources and energy and the organizational structure to that candidate to help him get the victory, it's inevitable," he told Taegan Goddard of TheWeek.

  • Data geek alert: Treasury.io, a daily data feed for the US Treasury, has launched.

  • Nilay Patel argues in The Verge that AT&T's new "sponsored data" program is bad news for the open Internet.

  • Headlines Against Humanity is at war against "click-baity headlines." See if you can spot which ones are real and which are fake.

  • The Zuckerberg Files, an archive of everything the founder of Facebook has ever said publicly, has launched.

  • China appears to be blocking The Guardian website.