Unethical Conduct

Kellyanne Conway sends her love to white nationalist; the Great Unbundling, in reverse; and more.


  • A likely (although unconfirmed) first: ICE has detained someone with a work visa through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Dan Levine and Kristina Cooke report for Reuters. ICE has stated that the man, Daniel Ramirez Medina, is a “self-admitted gang member,” but he has no criminal record and his lawyers say he was pressured by immigration officials to falsely admit to the gang affiliation.

  • Donald Trump has called for a “biometric entry-exit tracking system” for travelers to the United States, but getting such a system up and running is quite a challenge, and pricey, too, Adrienne Lafrance reports for The Atlantic.

  • Aside from the dumb framing of Laura Moy’s article for Slate, “The Real Problem With Asking Visa Applicants to Hand Over Their Social Media Passwords,” the point she makes about the very real threat to free speech that even the suggestion of surveillance poses is a good one. Still, articles should not appear to casually dismiss privacy and security issues, even if makes for a catchier headline.

  • Bad Romance: Valentine’s Day may be over but Kellyanne Conway and the Trump administration’s tweet-flings with white nationalists continue, Josh Harkinson reports for Mother Jones. Most recently, Conway replied to an account with a bio that includes the hashtags #WhiteIdentity and #Nationalist, tweeting “Love you back.” As Harkinson reminds us, a study of 10,000 Trump followers showed more than a third also followed at least one prominent white nationalist.

  • Speaking of Conway, the Office of Government Ethics directer Walter Shaub has recommended an investigation into the “clear violation” of ethics rules when she gave Ivanka Trump a “free commercial” on Fox & Friends last week, Kyle Cheney reports for Politico. Shaub points out that Conway’s misstep is identical to OGE’s example of unethical conduct on its website.

  • The White House has scrubbed the open data from its website, but computer programmer Maxwell Ogden said on Twitter that he grabbed it all on Inauguration Day and “will distribute soon.”

  • The Great Unbundling has spun into reverse, Jeremy Philips writes for The New York Times. “Consumers merely have swapped one bundle for another (or often, several).”

  • The Internet Archive has offered to archive and host the online database of electronic court records or PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records], with perpetual, free access for the public, Paul Sawers reports for VentureBeat. Yesterday Congress began a series of hearings on the future of the PACER database.

  • In his latest for Civicist, Dave Karpf ponders the meaning—and efficacy—of the petition in Trump’s America.

  • Related: The We the People petition asking for Trump to release his tax returns broke the record for number of signers—but yesterday the House Ways and Means Committee rejected a Democratic request to see Trump’s returns, Naomi Jagoda reports for The Hill.

  • (And another of Dave Karpf’s articles for Civicist, on Cambridge Analytica, has been translated and published by the Czech magazine, Finmag.)

  • Attend: And! If you’re in New York City this evening, Dave Karpf will be at Civic Hall to discuss his new book, Analytic Activism: Digital Listening and the New Political Strategy. Learn more and RSVP here.