National Interest

Encryption is in our national interest, says Congressional report; the line between politics and philanthropy; and more.

  • At one ration shop in rural India, where biometrics are being used to authenticate residents receiving subsidized food from the government as part of the Aadhar id program, 47 of 52 fingerprint authentications failed on a single morning, Anumeha Yadav reports for

  • The first observation of the Encryption Working Group’s year-end report is that “Any measure that weakens encryption works against the national interest.” Good start! The report concludes, “There is no “us versus them,” or “pro-encryption versus law enforcement.” This conversation implicates everyone and everything that depends on connected technologies including our law enforcement and intelligence communities. This is a complex challenge that will take time, patience, and cooperation to resolve. The potential consequences of inaction or overreaction are too important to allow historical or ideological perspectives to stand in the way of progress.”

  • A behind-the-scenes look at the New York Times DNC hack story, by Eric Lipton.

  • Many consumer-facing tech companies have taken a stand against building a Muslim registry for President-elect Trump, but the real question is whether the invisible data brokers that follow us around the internet will do the same, so CNNMoney’s Selena Larson asked them.

  • Life in Facebookistan: A German newspaper has published documents that appear to be Facebook’s internal guide to moderation of hate speech online, Amar Toor reports for The Verge. The line between acceptable and unacceptable is as thin as it gets: “migrants are dirty” is AOK but “migrants are dirt” is not.

  • Facebook introduced a new product called Live Audio yesterday, or, as Eve Peyser writes for Gizmodo, a new way to shout into the void.

  • The Foundation Center’s annual forecast for how private resources are used for public benefit was released this month, and includes a discussion of what is political and what is philanthropic. You can find the full report here.

  • Today in disgusting: A tech entrepreneur who pleaded guilty in 2013 to two counts of domestic violence after police said a 30-minute security video showed him hitting his girlfriend 117 times was recently appointed an adviser to a venture capital firm that is positively pumped about the ad tech expertise he will bring to the table, Olivia Solon and Sam Levin report for The Guardian. When the firm’s CEO was questioned about Gurbaksh Chahal’s appointment she responded that he had been nothing but a “gentleman” with her. Earlier this year the entrepreneur was sentenced to a year in jail for violating his parole by assaulting yet another woman, a sentence that has been suspended as he appeals the conviction, but as long as he was polite to the venture capital boss woman there’s no problem!!

  • The New Yorker’s Andrew Marantz captured the scene in the lobby of the Trump Tower the day of the “tech summit.” He spoke with the infamous Naked Cowboy, who had this to say: “I have an affinity with Trump. I get him. We’re both media promoters, media whores, whatever you want to call it. People get hung up on political stuff, but I don’t care. Black, white, gay, transvestite—just stand up and make something of yourself. Look, my wife’s a Mexican immigrant. She still doesn’t have her papers. Maybe she’ll be the next to be deported, who knows? I don’t think he’d do that. But if he does, hey, that’s fate. Plus, it’s a nice thing to have hanging over her head—you know, ‘Do the dishes, or else.’ ”

  • Moment of zen: Satyda Shabazz writes about her visit with her son to the secret black Santa at Macy’s Herald Square for the New York Times.