Better Boyfriend

A quiet win for Silicon Valley; Apple deletes foreign policy app (again); and more.


  • Broadband companies won big yesterday when Congress voted to do away with rules restricting their ability to sell user browsing data, but Tony Romm reports for ReCode that it was also “a quiet win for Silicon Valley.” Although this specific rule didn’t go after Silicon Valley companies, “the tech industry still deployed its own lobbying organizations, like the Consumer Technology Association, to argue that the government risked setting a “dangerous precedent” with its rules, fearing it would lead to greater regulation of tech giants.”

  • “Do we want to be as connected to our foreign policy as we are to our smartphones?” was Josh Begley’s motivating question when he built an iPhone app to send push notifications whenever a drone strike was reported in the news. As he writes in The Intercept, “My hypothesis was no.” Apple’s response to the app over the years has generally supported that hypothesis: After five rejections, Apple accepted the app in 2014 for about a year before deleting it again. After 12 additional tries, Apple finally accepted the app again. So Begley wrote about it. His story was published at 9am yesterday, and the app was removed by the early afternoon.

  • This is civic tech: DNAinfo’s Amy Zimmer reports on a dashboard designed by JustFix.nyc that is helping community organizers and legal aid attorneys coordinate and communicate with tenants pushing back against bad landlords.

  • Movers and shakers: Erie Meyer, the co-founder of the United States Digital Service, is joining the Code for America leadership team, and will work closely with the still-newish National Advisory Council to build up the network aspect of the Brigades. According to the press release, Meyer will spend her first few months on the job meeting with Brigade volunteers.

  • Hillary Clinton highlighted Salesforce’s efforts on diversity and inclusion at a recent event, apparently. Salesforce chief exec Marc Benioff was a Clinton campaign fundraiser, but has demonstrated he’s willing to play nice with whoever is in charge, telling reporters that the new head of the American Innovation Office Jared Kushner reminds him of “the young, scrappy entrepreneurs that I invest in in their 30s” and that he is “hopeful that Jared will be collaborative with our industry in moving this forward.”

  • No, the 2020 Census will not be asking about sexual orientation or gender identity, with the Census Bureau claiming they were “inadvertently” included in a report outlining new categories for the survey, Glenn Garner reports for Out Magazine. This in spite of the fact that multiple federal agencies have requested this information. How inclusive! I’m glad Marc can stay hopeful in the face of this inclusivity!

  • “We’re woke. Our community is woke, and the U.S. population is woke,” Lyft President John Zimmer told Time’s Katy Steinmetz, high AF on the market share his company is poaching from scandal-mired Uber (about 5 percent). But wait! There’s more to come! “We’re not the nice guys,” Zimmer told Steinmetz. “We’re a better boyfriend.” Um, what? That’s a crazy thing to say in an interview about your ride app company, right?

  • Uber has brought another scandal upon its own head, releasing a diversity report that touted the company usage of phrases like “Jewbers” and “Los Ubers” and “UberPRIDE,” as Gideon Resnick writes for The Daily Beast.

  • The venture capitalist who wanted to split California into six pieces now wants to give it a “reboot,” Christopher Cadelago reports for The Sacramento Bee.

  • Call for proposals: Organizations working to promote democratic freedom and civic engagement are invited to apply for free data science support from DataKind by April 30. Learn more here.