Twitter Lane
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Twitter’s Defiance is Good News

I love Twitter, all the more since Eric Snowden’s revelations about the U.S. government’s secret spying program. The company largely stands apart from other techs’ positions, but not completely. In December, I scolded Twitter, along with Apple, Facebook, Google, and a smattering of others for their “disingenuous and self-serving” call for global government surveillance reform.

Today, Twitter tweaks the government regarding an agreement that expands disclosure of information requests, including those that fall under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In a startling act of defiance, Twitter chooses not to disclose the number of FISA and other national security-related requests, contending they’re scope is an “overly broad range”.[Read more]

My wife and I just returned home from watching “The Fifth Estate“. My problem isn’t the film but the trailer, which makes the movie look more like a political thriller. The film is nothing like that. I would have taken her to a different movie and seen this one alone, had I known what to really expect.

Every blogger or journalist should see this film. I can’t speak for total accuracy of portrayals, but the broader events fit with what I am familiar and the larger ethical quandaries are hugely relevant to anyone writing news.

Mad Catter
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This is How Free Speech Dies

“The foundation of Groklaw is over. I can’t do Groklaw without your input”, Pamela Jones writes today. “It really was a collaborative effort, and there is now no private way, evidently, to collaborate”.

She responds to recent revelations that the U.S. government reads your email: “The owner of Lavabit tells us that he’s stopped using email and if we knew what he knew, we’d stop too. There is no way to do Groklaw without email”.[Read more]

Jeff Bezos
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Some Advice to the Washington Post’s New Owner

Today, in the Guardian, former CIA analyst John Kiriakou accuses the Obama Administration of abusing the 1917 Espionage Act, claiming that “only 10 people in American history have been charged with espionage for leaking classified information, seven of them under Barack Obama”.

From Day One, the Obama Administration sought to plug any leaks. What’s said in the Oval Office stays in the Oval Office. That’s context for understanding the aggressive approach to whistleblowers. It’s philosophical. The current White House sees leaks as betrayals, so why not view whistleblowing as treason?[Read more]

Pussy Riot protester in London
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Free Pussy Riot!

Punk rock roared across the globe as I started college in the late 1970s. Punkers protested their disco-loving, Baby Boomer siblings as much as “The Man”. UK punkers tapped into deep frustration among a younger population struggling for identity and future in face of global economic uncertainty.

Punk music then is much different than now. Then it was a lifestyle choice rooted in rebellion. Today, for bands like Green Day, punk, and all its garnishments, is fashionable. Mascara, colored hair, and tattoos are about fitting in to a larger, accepted social group. The real energy behind bands like the Sex Pistols is gone.[Read more]