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First POST: Fireworks

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, September 4 2014


  • Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson has a great piece in explaining why the business community should be supporting net neutrality. He writes, "The FCC proposal threatens any business that relies on the Internet to reach consumers, stream video, process payments, advertise services or products, speak their minds, or do just about anything else."

  • Rui Kaneya takes a tour of Chicago's venerable civic hacking scene for Columbia Journalism Review, with snapshots of Open City, the Smart Chicago Collaborative, 1871 and Everyblock.

  • Civic tech wonk Michael Connery has a long and well-argued piece on Medium explaining why he thinks Sean Parker's Brigade start-up is unlikely to revolutionize the field. The tl/dr version: the field already is given active citizens plenty of ways to self-organize and communicate their interests to their representatives; what's missing is better tools to help those representatives listen more effectively. (Another way of putting this: how to insure that expressed opinion = actual power.)

  • Speaking of which, we hear that Ginny Hunt, who has been one of the main bulwarks of Google's civic innovation work and also the head of its Politics and Elections team, is on her way to the White House.

  • More transitions: Tom Lee, the longtime director of the Sunlight Foundation's Labs, is moving to MapBox. James Turk, the leader of Sunlight's work on OpenStates and Open Civic Data, will be the new interim Labs director.

  • And Ben Wikler, the host of The Good Fight, is now the Washington director of

  • Tech platforms are starting to do a better job blocking and deleting extreme violent content, reports Lori Hinnant for AP, citing recent efforts to smother the spread of a video showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff by ISIS militants.

  • At Inside Philanthropy, Michael Gentilucci reports on how money from Microsoft moguls Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and Steve Ballmer, plus VC Nick Hanauer, is backing a major gun control initiative in Washington state.

  • Politico's national editor Michael Hirsh pokes at Glenn Greenwald, saying that the Pulitzer prize-winner has "already peaked." Most interestingly, he quotes former NSA director Michael Hayden jeering at Greenwald's story on the agency's spying on prominent Muslim-Americans. Said Hayden, Greenwald "thought that FISA thing was going to be a grand finale for the fireworks display, but frankly it didn't bounce very much."

  • Facebook users were more than twice as likely to see news of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge than the Ferguson shooting protests last month, report Laura Mandaro and Jessica Guynn in USA Today.

  • How to survive the Internet Governance Forum, now taking place in Instabul, by Maria Farrell in the Guardian.