Bug All

Putin, politics, and the press; another platform trying to foster civility on the internet; and more.


  • Trump watch: A former Trump employee said that Trump illegally wiretapped his phone, and when the employee confronted Trump about it, Trump responded “So what? I bug all my people’s phones,” Bill Palmer reports.

  • For the Columbia Journalism Review, Jonathan Peters has the story behind the New York Times report that “every major publication, including The Times” became “a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence”—a line penned by Scott Shane—by thoroughly reporting on emails released to disrupt our election—and everything else you might want to know about Putin, Politics, and the Press.

  • Former national security adviser to Vice President Biden Colin Kahl sounds off on Twitter about what precisely is so odd about the reports of multiple meetings between Trump team and Russian during the campaign.

  • Resistance watch: A new platform for organizers and organizing called Affinity has launched. It looks like they work on a freemium model, where anyone has access to the profile, groups, and campaign features, but you have to buy certain upgrades, like voter files, data connectors, and premium messaging tools.

  • From “dark data” to the surprisingly data-lite data.gov page, The New York Times’ Amy Harmon explains why Data Refuge is no walk in the park.

  • Yesterday Consumer Reports announced the creation of a privacy and security standard for consumer products like smart appliances, mobile apps, and software. Learn more about the standard here. (Disclosure: Micah Sifry is on their board.)

  • Media matters: Shan Wang reports for Nieman Lab on a service that’s trying to get civility on the internet right. Called Sidewire, it’s like Twitter but you can’t participate unless you’re an “expert.”

  • You can’t buy this kind of advertising: If you don’t already suffer from Cambridge Analytica fatigue, The New York Times is ON IT. Nicholas Confessore and Danny Hakim report at length on the controversies surrounding the “secret sauce”-makers, but a (very) quick scan didn’t reveal anything new, just that the Times wanted both stories: the company that vastly exaggerated the methods and tools they used to win the election, and the dystopian potential of the “emerging science” of pyschographic profiling for the people who get it right.

  • Turns out the CEO of software development consultancy Stride and woman-in-tech Debbie Madden was also ticked off at Farhad Manjoo’s recent column. To Kapor Klein’s assertion that nobody in tech has gotten the treatment of women right “yet” and identifying this as an “opportunity” for Uber, Madden responded: “Bullshit,” because many companies, including her own, have “quietly” gotten the ‘women in the workplace’ thing right for decades.

    “The article is wrong to state ‘it could take years of careful and publicly embarrassing actions for Uber and other companies to become more hospitable to women,'” she adds. Although most of her ire is directed at Kapor Klein, Manjoo is implicated for repeating those claims almost without question, but to his credit, he retweeted this piece into my timeline.

  • Life in Facebookistan: After the BBC let Facebook know that, of 100 images of child pornography or sexually suggestive images of children that the BBC reported for breaking Facebook’s own guidelines, only 18 were removed from the platform, Facebook reported the BBC to the Child Exploitation & Online Proection Centre, Angus Crawford reports for the BBC.

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