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First POST: Mugs

BY Micah L. Sifry | Thursday, April 16 2015


  • Sasha Issenberg, the leading reporter covering data-driven campaigns, rolls out a big story for Bloomberg Politics on Mitch Stewart of 270 Strategies, who has been leading Ready for Hillary's list-building efforts on behalf of the now official Clinton campaign. Its harvest, he reports, was 2.4 million pledges to help her candidacy plus 4 million prospective voters to target.

  • Stewart confirms something online organizers have been dealing with for years--email list open rates have dropped (see the 2014 M&R Benchmark study). It used to be that an open rate of 16-18 percent was considered healthy. Now he says to Issenberg, "What you want for an issue advocacy or non-profit entity, the average is about a 13 percent open rate." He adds, "What you hope for is then about a 3 percent click rate for the entire list, and then there’s a smaller subset that’ll take action."

  • Phil Mattingly of Bloomberg Politics offers even more details on the building of the Ready for Hillary list, which raised $15 million and netted 130,000 individual donors.

  • One more revealing note from these reports: campaigns still want to send you a free bumper sticker or get you to buy a cheap mug--not because those things help move voters--but because that way they get your mailing address matched to your email address, upping their ability to match the latter to the voter file.

  • Media Matters's Alexandrea Boguhn and Matt Gertz say Hillary Clinton isn't deserving of criticism for failing to respond to a 2012 letter from House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa asking if she used a private email account because, well, other agencies also dragged their feet on replying too, and also gave answers that dodged his direct question.

  • White House chief digital officer Jason Goldman updates us on what he's learning as he ponders the #socialcivics responses he has received so far on how to make better use of tech to engage the public. He's listening! Follow him at his official Twitter handle @goldman44 and keep using #socialcivics to join the conversation.

  • The MIT Media lab is launching a major new initiative to study digital currencies, its director Joi Ito blogs, which will be led by former White House senior adviser Brian Forde.

  • Jeremy Epstein of Princeton's Center for Information Technology reports on a recently decertified voting machine in Virginia that was so insecure, someone could have easily gotten onto its hard drive wirelessly, downloaded the file with all the recorded votes on it, and uploaded a new one, without anyone knowing the better. In the post's comments thread, a Virginia elections director argues that administrators do check for anomalous results from voting machines, and thus to rig an election many machines would need to be hacked, making it hard to do so for anything bigger than a town election--but Epstein responds that serious hackers would exploit these machines' vulnerability by putting software on them to infect the main server used to tally overall election results. (h/t Dan Gillmor)

  • Parents in New York State opposed to the Common Core education curriculum used Facebook to organize mass opt-outs in school across the state, reportCapital New YOrk's Azi Paybarah, Jimmy Vielkind and Mike Allen. At least 137,000 students have refused to take the test so far, the parents' group United to Counter the Core reported on its public Google spreadsheet. (h/t Bob Fertik)

  • The Drug Enforcement Agency buys software from the Italian surveillance tech company Hacking Team which can intercept phone messages, texts, and social media message and also turn on a webcam or microphone, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai reports for Motherboard.

  • The issue of net neutrality continues to heat up in India, but there the issue is also being framed in part as a reaction to "zero rating" and Facebook's dubious project, which is a stalking horse for getting new mobile phone users hooked on the social network. The Times of India is currently appealing to its fellow publishers to jointly pull out of

  • Behind moves by antitrust regulators in Europe who have just accused Google of taking advantage of its dominance in search to favor its own companies, reports Danny Hakim, is rival Microsoft, which has helped fund several of the groups pushing the complaints that got those regulators to act.

  • Personal Democracy Forum Poland-CEE is underway! You can watch the livestream or follow along via the hashtag #PDFPLCEE15.