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First POST: Huffington's Law?

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, April 17 2014

Huffington's Law?

  • Edward Snowden made a surprise appearance (by video) on live Russian TV this morning during an annual call-in show where President Vladimir Putin takes questions from the public. Snowden's question: "Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of individuals?" received this answer, reports The New York Times' Robert Mackey, "Our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law…we don't use this on such a massive scale and I hope that we won't."

  • Mackey notes that it would have been interesting had Snowden asked Putin about Pavel Durov, the founder of VKontakte, who revealed yesterday that the Russian intelligence agency had asked it to "hand over personal details of Ukrainians who were using it to organize anti-government protests in Kiev."

  • Speaking of which, our Antonella Napolitano reports on activists' concerns that a Russian government proposal to store user data on Russian soil will "throttle expression."

  • Klint Finley of Wired explains why top software engineers like Matt Cutts of Google are pushing for making encryption the standard for any traffic that moves over the Internet. One way to push things forward, if Cutts had his way, would be for Google to prioritize sites that use HTTPS in its search results.

  • Lavabit's Lavar Levison has lost his federal appeal on a technicality.

  • Veteran coder Dave Winer says the press isn't getting Heartbleed and calls the security flaw "a slow motion 9/11."

  • Buoyed by "one-click" online donation platforms using stored user information for more than nine million individuals, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is outpacing its Republican counterpart in small dollar donations this cycle, Nick Corasaniti reports for the New York Times.

  • Former Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer is investing $4 million in Cenk Uygur's Young Turks Network.

  • If Godwin's Law states that the longer an online conversation lasts, the probability of a comparison involving the Nazis or Hitler approaches 100%, then I would like to propose Huffington's Law: The more an online news site seeks traffic, the higher the probability that it will introduce some version of "Sideboob." Recent case in point: Mona Chalabi's story on FiveThirtyEight's DataLab on "The Pubic Hair Preferences of the American Woman."