AntiLeaks

Don't #resist—stay #steadfast; 18k people dial in to Peter Roskam's telephone townhall; and more.


  • American intelligence officials “have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised,” Shane Harris and Carol Lee report for The Wall Street Journal.

  • Meanwhile, after showering WikiLeaks with praise during the election battle, President Trump has zipped up his praise for leaking, and as Michael Shear of The New York Times points out, now leaks piss him off.

  • Is it a coincidence that after President Trump backed down on his threat to drop U.S. support for the “One China” policy that the Chinese government awarded him a trademark to the Trump name in China—something he’s been seeking, without success, for years? Judd Legum of Think Progress doesn’t think so, and argues here that this “fits squarely into the definition of an emolument. Trump is getting something of value for a foreign gov’t.”

  • USA Today’s editors speak out on behalf of the puppies. That is, they slam the Trump administration for a decision by the Department of Agriculture to stop providing public information on the mistreatment of animals by dog breeders, zoos, and research facilities.

  • While everyone inside the Beltway thinks that Trump is about to be toppled by a scandal “bigger than Watergate,” journalist Chris Arnade, who spent much of 2016 talking to Trump voters, offers an important corrective. “Word of caution. The coalition of voters that elected Trump often have a different reality than elite media. Hear/see different things,” he tweets. “Very hardcore Trump voters I speak to expect to see drama, chaos, & outrage. They want system broken, & media screams is sound of that.” Read the whole thread.

  • Tech and politics: Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) thought he was being smart by avoiding in-person meetings with his constituents and town hall forums, and instead said he was looking forward to holding a telephone townhall to hear their concerns. The Chicago Tribune reports that a whopping 18,000 people dialed in (that’s almost 10 percent of all the people who voted for Roskam in 2016)—with many reporting technical difficulties. “Roskam opened the call by calling it a ‘highly interactive format.’ It allows selected callers to ask questions, but few were allowed follow up questions or share their own views or experiences.”

  • Speaking of Republicans and technology, leaked emails show that conservative activist Ginni Thomas (wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas) is anxious about how progressives are using tech to build opposition to Trump and wants some tech advice. As the Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff reports, Thomas wrote a conservative list-serv, “I see the left has Daily Action @YourDailyAction and their Facebook likes are up to 61K. But there are some grassroots activists, who seem beyond the Republican party or the conservative movement, who wish to join the fray on social media for Trump and link shields and build momentum,” she wrote. “I met with a house load of them yesterday and we want a daily textable tool to start… Suggestions?”

  • The strange bedfellow team of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) have introduced the Geolocation Privacy and Surveillance Act, which seeks to crack down on warrantless tracking by the government and use of cell-site technology.

  • Related: Quincy Larson explains why you should never bring your phone (or, come to think of it, any personal computing device) on an international flight ever again. That is, if you want to protect a shred of your privacy against prying U.S. border agents.

  • This is civic tech: “It is better to teach people *how* to learn about security than to teach them facts about security.” That is just one of the many solid pointers offered by Rachel Weidinger, Cooper Quintin, Martin Shelton, and Matt Mitchell in this piece for Motherboard on how to give a digital security training.

  • If you follow the term “civic tech” closely, you have probably noticed how much it comes up in France, and not coincidentally, the French government made a big push around civic tech last December while it hosted the Open Government Partnership Summit in Paris. But as the folks at Regards Citoyens point out, in a post helpfully translated by Pierre Chrzanowski and Samuel Goeta, the French government appears more interested in promoting the interests of several “civic business” start-ups—who aren’t all that devoted to real openness and transparency—than it is to the democratic values that underpin civic tech.

  • Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web Foundation has posted its five-year strategy for 2017-2022, with a focus on fighting for “digital equality: using the open web to build a more equal world.”

  • The Silicon Valley Community Foundation gave away $1.3 billion in 2016, almost triple what it did in 2014. Most of that money went to Bay Area nonprofits, as InsidePhilanthropy’s David Callahan reports.

  • How we live today? Greylock partner John Lilly writes on Medium that he doesn’t want to spend his days “rage tweeting” against the day’s news and that he wants to shift “from thinking about resisting, to thinking about being steadfast.”

  • Your moment of zen: MakeTrumpTweetsEightAgain, a browser extension made by the Daily Show that renders Little Twitler’s tweets in crayon.