Emergency Alerts

Fight to restore net neutrality continues; philanthropy 2018 predictions; and more.

  • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is expected to reveal a planned overhaul of the country’s outdated emergency alert system today, Tony Romm reports for Recode. Pai is expected to ask wireless carriers and device makers to work together to make it possible to send alerts to more targeted areas.

  • Speaking of Ajit Pai, Fight for the Future announced that 30 Senators now support a Congressional Review Act vote to overturn the FCC’s net neutrality decision, and they’re urging supporters to call their Senators.

  • Yesterday, the President signed two Presidential Orders meant to expand broadband internet access in the rural U.S., one pertaining to investment, and the other to the efficiency of the installation process.

  • The California Senate will today consider legislation that would allow drivers to cover their license plate to avoid mass surveillance by private companies operating automated license plate readers, Dave Maass writes on the Electronic Frontier Foundation blog. (EFF is a sponsor of the bill.)

  • An app that helps Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients manage their benefits has partnered with a digital promotions, media, and analytics company to show those recipients digital coupons from nearby retailers, Anne Fields writes for Forbes. This is done by sharing shoppers’ purchase history with the companies; there’s no mention of what benefit the companies reap from all that data.

  • Don’t miss David Callahan’s predictions for philanthropy in 2018—or his assessment of how right he was in 2017. For example, while deeming himself mostly right on his prediction that “Defenders of Reason and Civility Step Up,” he writes that “we’re still waiting to see the major new funding for ‘civic education and national dialogue’ we predicted.”

  • James Damore is taking Google to court for discrimination against white male conservatives, Connie Loizos reports for TechCrunch. He’s joined in his class action lawsuit by another former Google engineer named David Gudeman, who was fired for comments made to a Muslim colleague, according to Reuters reporter David Ingram.

  • Life in Facebookistan: Media critic Jesse Brown enumerates in a Twitter thread the many ways that Facebook has cozied up to Canadian government and other kinds of power brokers. If you want to dig deeper, check out his CanadaLand podcast on the subject.

  • Here’s your periodic reminder (courtesy Eric Andrew-Gee at The Globe and Mail) that smartphones are bad for you.

  • Related: Two major Apple shareholders have asked the company to study iPhone addiction in children, Luke Kawa reports for Bloomberg.

  • GovLoop is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, and founder Steve Ressler has announced that he is stepping down as President this month to tackle new projects.

  • Momentum is looking for a digital officer to work out of London. The deadline to apply is January 12. Learn more and apply here.

  • Apply: The deadline to apply for the Spring 2018 Kairos Fellowship Equity Cohort, an eight month paid training program for emerging leaders of color in the civic tech field, is February 2. Learn more and apply here.