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First POST: Big Things

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, April 2 2015

Big Things

  • Apparently, "The 2016 election will be live-streamed," says Michael Calderone in the Huffington Post. How does he know? Because Mark Halperin bought a tripod for his iPhone and says, "We are all C-SPAN now." Funny, I didn't realize C-SPAN had such high ratings.

  • Wait! Calderone also writes, "Just how much value live video adds to the already frenzied political process is anyone's guess."

  • No, actually, "Mobile is going to be the big thing in 2016," Democratic strategist Chris Lehane tells Dylan "Meerkat" Byers of Politico.

  • It gets better, in a jargony way. Says Lehane: "The ability to really translate the power and opportunity of big data to allow for nano-targeting communications with precision-targeted messaging is dependent on the ability to lever the power of mobile. There will be an explosion of mobile advertising in 2016; an explosion in using mobile to share campaign content; an explosion in using mobile to organize." He pictures "a voter identified by a campaign based on its data analytics will be nano-targeted via addressable mobile with ads, with social messages from their friends who have been engaged by the campaigns to reach out to their social network." This could indeed work--if voters willingly hand over this kind of information to campaigns.

  • Regarding our Brave New Mobile Future, a lot more Americans own a smartphone compared to four years ago: 64% vs 35%. And as Pew Internet's Aaron Smith reports a big chunk of that larger group relies heavily on their smartphones to get to the Internet. 15% only go online via their phone, and 10% are dependent on their smartphone data plan for service. These smart-phone dependent groups are far more likely to be young, low-income, African-American or Latino.

  • Several top organizers of the Ready for Hillary SuperPAC are in line for jobs with the as-yet-unannounced Clinton presidential campaign, Maggie Haberman reports for The New York Times.

  • According to this story by Alex Seitz-Wald for MSNBC, Clinton is "obsessed with data" about how her message is resonating with voters, and uses her Twitter account "to gage [sic] responses to various messages in real time and in detail."

  • Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) want the Senate to update its rules for how it uses technology to communicate with and track their engagement with voters, including classifying third-party analytics tools as communications tools. Sadly, they don't mention getting the Senate to file its campaign finance reports electronically.

  • On Medium, President Obama explains his new cybersecurity measures, and promises that he won't target "the legitimate cybersecurity research community."

  • While a whole bunch of (mostly male) tech leaders are speaking out against discrimination against LGBT people--it's quite a list, in fact--spurred to action by Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, they're much quieter about their own ongoing discrimination against women and people of color, Liz Gannes points out for Re/Code.

  • Related: Claire Cain Miller reports for The New York Times on how female-run VC funds are starting to shake up Silicon Valley.

  • The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation's founder Robert Atkinson, VP Daniel Castro and researcher Alan McQuinn have published a detailed broadside (.pdf) attacking the net neutrality movement and the anti-SOPA/PIPA movement as examples of a dangerous new "tech populism" that "appeals to emotion" rather than reason.

  • Comedian Chris Rock has started taking a selfie and sharing it online every time he is stopped by a police officer while driving, Inae Oh reports for Mother Jones.

  • And this video of a NY police officer--a member of the elite Joint Terrorism Taskforce--screaming and cursing at an Uber driver for a minor traffic violation has now resulted in the officer being stripped of his gun and badge. Kudos to the passenger, Sanjay Seth, who reassures the driver throughout the incident, while taping it and making sure to get the cop's license plate on the video.

  • Mark Headd explains why many government open data portals offer less than meets the eye.

  • Airbnb is now operating in Cuba, with more than 1,000 locations listed so far, Michael Weissenstein reports for the AP.

  • Congrats to Tracy Russo, former director of new media for the Justice Department (and PDM friend), who is returning to her roots and joining the New Organizing Institute as a senior fellow.