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First POST: Elevation

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 5 2014


  • As previously reported, the White House has confirmed that Google executive Megan Smith will be President Obama's next Chief Technology Officer. In addition, Alexander Macgillivray, Twitter's former chief lawyer, will come on board as deputy CTO. With these two picks, the White House is getting two highly respected tech leaders, one with intimate knowledge of innovation and the other a keen intellect on Intellectual property and online speech issues, the Washington Post's Nancy Scola points out. (Don't miss the photo credits she pulled for her story.)

  • In Wired, Issie Lapowsky explains why Megan Smith's elevation is "a massive win for women in tech."

  • 18F is looking at revamping the government's FOIA portal, Alex Howard reports.

  • With Twitter suggesting that it will soon impose its own form of algorithmic curation on its users' feed, Zeynep Tufekci explains why this would be a terrible mistake. Right now, she writes,

    "the network allows humans to exercise free judgment on the worth of content, without strong algorithmic biases. That cumulative, networked freedom is what extends the range of what Twitter can value and surface, and provides some of the best experiences of Twitter….Twitter brims with human judgment, and the problem with algorithmic filtering is not losing the chronology, which I admit can be clumsy at times, but it’s losing the human judgment that makes the network rewarding and sometimes unpredictable."

  • FCC chair Tom Wheeler says that a duopoly dominates the high-speed broadband industry in America.

  • Dozens of privacy and public interest groups are continuing to press the Senate to toughen provisions of the USA Freedom Act aimed at reining in the NSA's dragnet phone surveillance programs.

  • Tech industry money makes up the lion's share of Tim Wu's warchest war-purse, reports Matthew Zeitlin for Buzzfeed.

  • Jeff Jarvis accuses German publishers of irresponsibly fueling "technoeuropanic."

  • Silicon Valley VC and libertarian Peter Thiel is profiled in Fortune by Roger Parloff.

  • Food for thought: In Aeon magazine, Henrick Karoliszyn asks some hard questions about "predictive policing" and where big data, real-time surveillance, genetic testing and brain scanning science may be taking us.