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First POST: Busting Loose

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, April 7 2015

Busting Loose

  • Following John Oliver's hilarious exposition Sunday on how Edward Snowden could do a much better job of convincing Americans to care about NSA hyper-surveillance, The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald jumps to Snowden's defense by showing that he (Greenwald, not Snowden) doesn't have much of a sense of humor. On YouTube, the Oliver-Snowden interview is at 2.7 million views and rising--one million in the last 12 hours alone.

  • Apparently, in the wake of that interview, was available, and an activist/coder named Olivier Lacan took good advantage of that opportunity, reports Ross Miller for The Verge.

  • Security research Quinn Norton helpfully reminds us that the problem isn't just that the government spies on people's online communications, it's that the companies that make the products billions use so casually haven't ensured that their communications are properly protected from anyone's spying. She writes:

    For internet security, this means we need a consumer revolt. Average non-paranoid users need to get mad about bugs, and sign petitions about having their computers updated and their data encrypted. People need to stop seeing data leaks and fraud and technology failures in general as some kind of inevitable part of living in a heartless universe. You’re not losing money and data because people are bad sometimes, you’re losing them because the people you trust are being total assholes.

  • Commenting on the Oliver-Snowden interview in a Reddit AMA, Wikileaks Julian Assange said, "Public commentators are obsessed with influencing the public, but the reality is the US public isn't going to solve this. A powerful, invisible, intangible, complex, global system, with a scale only the deeply numerate can appreciate has been erected. Until we see the bulk release of individual's emails or SMS messages, the average person isn't going to believe its real. Until then, the pushback is going to come from technical organisations and other state's counter intelligence units."

  • A bust of Snowden was surreptitiously installed in a Brooklyn, NY, park yesterday morning by a group of artists, but removed by midday by the Parks Department, Brian Ries reports for Mashable.

  • Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) presidential campaign announcement today gets a digital strategy preview from Darren Samuelsohn of Politico, who notes that "his much-hyped tech team" is being watched to see if it can deliver a better launch than Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-TX), who "failed to secure key website domains with his name and also sent out links directing potential boosters away from his official campaign page."

  • It also remains to be seen if Paul will have anything like the fanatical following of his father's 2008 presidential run, which twice broke single-day fundraising records in the fall of 2007 and put the word "money-bomb" in the political lexicon. (See here and here for a refresher.)

  • Buried in Samuelsohn's story is this nugget: Hillary Clinton is "expected from the start to have access to…Obama's vaunted 2012 campaign list of roughly 12 million supporters." It's not clear if "access" means the Clinton campaign will be renting the list (Organizing for America pays the Obama campaign about $1.2 million a year for use of the list) or actually controlling it--though I assume it's the former. Still no word on whether Clinton will get Obama's copy of the Facebook social graph that his campaign built in 2012--a resource no other campaign will be able to duplicate in 2016 due to changes in Facebook's API.

  • Ready for Hillary is giving its 2.2 million Facebook fans and 145,000 Twitter followers to EMILY's List, Natalie Andrew's reports for The Wall Street Journal. The SuperPAC's 3.6 million member email list will be made available to the Clinton 2016 campaign to rent.

  • Here are twelve mesh network projects across the US, as reported by Jason Tashea for

  • Speaking of networks, the whole state of Connecticut is on track to become the first "gigabit state," as Susan Crawford reports for Medium's Backchannel.

  • This is civic tech: We Vote USA is a new open source volunteer-driven effort working on tools, apps and infrastructure for enabling easier, social access to information on candidates & elected officials.

  • Social media services Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are battling bans in Turkey in the wake of a Turkish court order calling on them to take down images of a murdered prosecutor, Onur Ant, Ali Berat Meric and Constantine Courcoulas report for Bloomberg Business.

  • The EFF's Farbod Faraji reports on vulnerabilities in the Internet voting system used in the New South Wales (Australia) voting system that "could allow an attacker to intercept votes and inject their own code to change those votes."