Unprepared and Unconsidered

The problem with hi-tech triage; brace for a crash in ad-tech; and more.


  • Responding to the latest tech/equity news (that Facebook’s newly reorganized technical leadership team will have 13 men and just one woman), human rights technologist Sabrina Hirsi Issa writes for NBCNews.com that “we need to examine how to infuse human rights principles into the future of technology, rather than slapping makeshift solutions to unconsidered problems on top of existing platforms. And the only way to make that possible is to have inclusive organizations that seek to recognize those problems in the first place.” Read the whole thing.

  • Related: “We are increasingly turning to digital tools to rank and rate which struggling families most deserve support,” Virginia Eubanks, author of Automating Inequality, writes for The Guardian. “The trouble with this practice of hi-tech triage is that it treats social problems as if they are natural disasters – random, temporary, inevitable occurrences – obscuring the political choices that produce them.”

  • Tech and politics: A new report by Donna Brazile, former DNC chair and recent Shorenstein Center fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School, takes a close look at whether political campaigns are ready to handle the threat of cyber attacks as the 2018 election approaches. In particular, a survey of nearly 40 Republican and Democratic campaign operatives, taken during November and December 2017, found that most “are not only unprepared for possible cyber attacks, but remain generally unconcerned about the threat.”

  • Here’s the story of Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement, and how they went from occupying parliament to reimagining democracy using open source principles, courtesy of Kate O’Flaherty for Wired.

  • Brave new world: As more people use keyless cars and engines get quieter, deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning is on the rise, David Jeans and Majlie de Puy Kamp report for The New York Times.

  • Media matters: With Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation soon to take effect, longtime industry observer Doc Searls says a crash in ad-tech is coming.

  • The Brookings Institution has launched Sourcelist, “a database of qualified experts in technology policy from diverse backgrounds.” Its first product is women in tech.

  • Purchase and read:Digital Transformation At Scale: Why the Strategy is Delivery,” a new book by Andrew Greenway, Ben Terrett, Mike Bracken and Tom Loosemore and based on their work building the U.K.’s Government Digital Service.

  • Apply: In India, Village Capital and Omidyar Network are looking to support start-ups driving citizen engagement in government systems and in their communities.