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First POST: Dogfood

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, September 26 2014


  • Hope springs eternal: Suddenly, everyone in the early-adopter neo-disrupter community is talking about Ello, and how it could maybe avoid the fate of other online social networks that tap into our all-too-human need for connection and then get taken over by the all-too-corrupting needs of venture capital. Here's Quinn Wilson's fascinating take and Andy Baio's informed skepticism about Ello's chances of avoiding the fate of Facebook and Twitter.

  • Check your privilege: Media technologist Deanna Zandt (another PDM pal) writes that for Ello to be genuinely interesting, people getting on it should actively commit to using their invites to bring on friends who aren't already like them. Anil Dash would concur.

  • FBI Director James Comey isn't happy about Apple and Google's plans for making their mobile services more private, Igor Bobic and Ryan Reilly report for the Huffington Post. "I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the content of anyone's closet or their smart phone," Comey said. "The notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened -- even if it involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order -- to me does not make any sense."

  • Uber, Lyft and Sidecar have all been hit with letters from the San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorneys warning of legal action if they don't change key practices, report Heather Knight and Benny Evangelista in the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • Bloomberg's Angela Greiling Keane reviews President Obama's record on government transparency on the occasion of his speaking at the Open Government Partnership meeting during the UN General Assembly, and the critics are not happy. Best line comes from Sunlight Foundation's policy director John Wonderlich: “The Obama administration may have raised the profile of transparency, but sometimes by making it worse,” he said. “Instead of taking real action, it has focused efforts on prosecuting whistle-blowers, embracing more money in our political system and permitting political review of requests under the Freedom of Information Act.”

  • Obama promised improvements to the website (which is due for an upgrade thanks to the passage of the DATA Act) and is calling on the newly-formed US Digital Service to improve how government websites relate to regular users. He also promised to expand the government's efforts to "build digital services in the open."

  • Read this instead: Anthea Watson, a Google civic innovation principal (and PDM friend), takes to Medium to point out that for all the supposed progress opening up government data under Obama, most of the open data on is not just "obscure," it is "perversely unusable." Her solution to the problem of stale and poorly formatted open government data is brilliant: get Uncle Same "to start dogfooding his own open data."