Bath Time

Civic tech convos around the world; Border Patrol or baby snatchers; and more.


  • This is civic tech: Marc Smith at NodeXL has graphed the twitter conversation of the more than 1000 people who tweeted about #PDF18 over the last week.

  • And here’s his graph for the larger twitter conversation around #civictech over the last week, showing the clusters around Code for America’s Summit, the Ford Foundation’s “Public Interest Tech” push, the ongoing conversation in France (where civic tech is a hot topic) and #PDF18.

  • If you are curious how to interpret these graphs, here’s a piece I did several years ago after talking with Smith about what he then called “crowd-photography.”

  • Writing for GovTech.com, Zack Quaintance looks at how Chi Hack Night, Chicago’s weekly civic tech meet up, has kept going for the last 6 six years.

  • Here’s the Code for America 2018 Code of Conduct Transparency Report.

  • Congrats to the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and kudos to our friend and supporter Craig Newmark, who has given $20 million to the school to fund an endowment to support its work.

  • Brave new world: In Newark, the feeds from police surveillance cameras can now be accessed by anyone with a fast internet connection, and as Rick Rojas reports for The New York Times, opinion is divided on whether asking the public to join the “Citizen Virtual Patrol” is a step toward better police-community relations or a new kind of Orwellian nightmare.

  • Media matters: It’s a big bad week for media consolidation, with the FCC’s net neutrality rules formally expiring today and a federal judge ruling tomorrow on whether AT&T can buy Time Warner, as Tony Romm reports for The Washington Post.

  • Life in Facebookistan: Two Indian men in the northeastern state of Assam who were on their way to a picnic spot were lynched after they asked for directions and villagers, convinced by a Facebook post that outsiders were coming to kidnap their children, killed them, The Times of India reports.

  • Immigration watch: Liz Goodwin of the Boston Globe reports from the Texas border that “The Trump administration’s policy of splitting up families is creating a burgeoning population of dislocated and frightened children, held in makeshift detention centers near the border, including one in a former Walmart, or scattered in shelters and foster homes across the country. As the children and parents experience the fallout of forced separation by US authorities, advocates are struggling to get even basic information about the location and status of these detainees.”

  • One public defender told Goodwin that “several of her clients have told her their children were taken from them by Border Patrol agents who said they were going to give them a bath. As the hours passed, it dawned on the mothers the kids were not coming back.” No comment.

  • Many of the women being held in a detention center near Seattle told Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) that they no longer knew where their children were being held and “not a single one of them had been allowed to say goodbye or explain to them what was happening,” Amy Wang reports for The Washington Post. Jayapal added, “One woman said ‘I want to be with my children’ and the Border Patrol agent said: ‘You will never see your children again. Families don’t exist here. You won’t have a family anymore.’”

  • A Honduran man who was separated from his wife and child after crossing the border seeking asylum last month killed himself in his Texas cell, Nick Miroff reports for The Washington Post. Border agents had to use physical force to remove his three-year-old child out of his hands when they separated the family.