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First POST: Inners

BY Micah L. Sifry | Friday, January 16 2015


  • In the New York Times, David Sanger reports on a new National Academy of Sciences study that claims their is "no effective alternative" to the bulk collection of metadata about all phone calls made in the US if the goal is tracking terrorism suspects.

  • In ArsTechnica, Cyrus Farivar reports on a Swedish Pirate Party activist who created a wifi network called "Open Guest" at a security and defense conference and then logged the activities of the politicians, military officials and journalists who used it, all to protest mass surveillance. (h/t Mark Pesce.)

  • In the Guardian, Ian Black offers a selection of the translated writings of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who has been sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes (delivered 50 a week) for championing free speech and questioning autocratic religion.

  • In Vice, Nathan Schneider explores the limits of social-media powered political protest, and ponders the value of new collaborative tools like DemocracyOS and Loomio.

  • In Vox, Jenee Desmond-Harris explains why "The current symbiotic relationship between the activists who tweet their despair over police bias and the journalists who amplify their stories is, at best, a happy and temporary coincidence, not a long-term strategy for social justice organizing." (Um, Daou's Triangle, anyone?)

  • In the Atlantic, Ian Bogost reverse-engineers how the "algorithm" has become a godlike term in modern culture.

  • In Governing magazine, Tod Newcombe explains how open government activists in Washington, DC liberated the city's legal code.

  • In techPresident, Allison Fine and Sam Roudman look at how Front Porch Forum, the hyper-local e-community platform that covers all of Vermont, helps strengthen communities.

  • In the CalFWD blog, Robb Korinke reports on why California is lagging behind other states in embracing open government data.

  • In the Microsoft New England blog, Jeff Friedman reports on cloud-based monitoring system developed by EastBanc Technologies called SnowTrax that makes it easy for local transportation authorities to gather and share real-time data on snow plowing operations.

  • In the mySociety blog, Ben Nickolls catalogues the most "exciting projects" the civic hacking group was involved in last year. My personal favorite: Collideoscope, which enables a user to find or report road collisions and near misses by location.

  • This is civic tech: Be My Eyes, an app that connects blind people with volunteer helpers around the world via live video chat (iPhone only).