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First POST: MonopSony

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, December 19 2014


  • Speaking to Motherboard's Jason Koebler, cybersecurity expert Peter Singer points out that whatever the Sony hack is, it's not cyber-terrorism or an act of war: "The ability to steal gossipy emails from a not-so-great protected computer network is not the same thing as being able to carry out physical, 9/11-style attacks in 18,000 locations simultaneously." He adds, "I can't believe I'm saying this. I can't believe I have to say this."

  • Taking the opposite point of view, Jonathan Chait argues in New York magazine that "a totalitarian regime has just successfully exerted control over American media" and that to prevent any such leverage the US government should therefore "guarantee Sony's financial liability in the event of an attack, or it should directly reimburse the studio's projected losses so it can release the movie online for free."

  • Kim Zetter of Wired lays out the reasons why the Sony hack may not be of North Korean origin.

  • Actor George Clooney tells Deadline Hollywood that it's obvious the Sony hack was the work of North Korea; simply Googling the phrase "Guardians of Peace" was enough for him.

  • Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney also wants the studio to release the movie for free, while Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) apparently still uses DVDs and wants it to go straight to that format.

  • Oddly, no one seems to be asking why the National Security Agency, which has defending America's cyber-security in its name, isn't being held accountable for the Sony hack. Remember, weakening security so "our" guys can hack into "their" systems means that our systems get less secure too.

  • Speaking of the movie business: Google senior vice president Kent Walker expressesM\ the company's dismay at the MPAA's "attempt to revive SOPA" by lobbying state attorneys general.

  • Slate's entire feature on "The Year in Outrage" is worth sitting with and meditating on. For me, two lessons stand out. One, articulated by Paul Ford, is that the Internet means that "every single day of our lives from now until we die is going to be like Thanksgiving," bombarded by the conflicting emotions and narratives of all the people we know. The second is to ask whether we'll really accept living this way, where the future destroys (and de-story-ies, to make use of a bad typo) our present. Life according to the Daily Outrage may be good for ratings, but no way to focus on what matters.

  • Black Twitter, which is a hotbed of youthful activism, has had it with the Rev. Al Sharpton, media-hound, writes Michael Tracey for the Daily News.

  • Related: Malkia Cyril, executive director of the Center for Media Justice, writes, "A new generation of Black leaders is drawing upon the lessons of 20th-century movements for civil rights and political power, while simultaneously bringing to bear a human rights analysis, cultural strategies rooted in a Black aesthetic, and 21st-century communications technologies to craft a sophisticated local-to-local movement that is both organic and deeply rooted in relationships, disciplined and willing to take risks."

  • Also worth sitting with: Mat Honan's inside look at life inside their news media startups--Circa, BuzzFeed and FirstLook Media--as they grapple to win and keep readers' attention in the age of the "unbundled story."

  • Here's one view of what the Uberification of knowledge could look like.

  • While Uber's act-first-get-permission-later strategy keeps leading to conflict (the city of Portland, Oregon just sued the company, for example), car-sharing services like Car2Go are making real headway in major cities like Seattle, Rachel Dovey writes for NextCity.

  • With US-Cuba relations finally thawing, the Washington Post's Nancy Scola looks at the near future when Cubans can get on the full Internet.

  • Scola also found time to report on the tangled argument between the Sunlight Foundation and several pro-net-neutrality groups on how best to count and categorize the millions of comments received by the FCC in its second round of taking public comments on its open Internet proposal.

  • GovDelivery has acquired open data platform provider NuCivic, which specializes in using Drupal to make powerful applications that help governments manage information and collaboration, Jason Shueh reports for Congrats to NuCivic CEO Andrew Hoppin, a longtime PDM friend!

  • Apologies for yesterday's gap in First POSTing: I was in San Francisco on a quick trip.