Walled Cities

Campaign managers tackling election hacking; Uber sued for not having accessible rides; and more.

  • Tech and politics: The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, already under the fire of at least seven lawsuits, holds its first meeting today to tackle a problem that many experts say isn’t a problem at all, Michael Wines reports for The New York Times.

  • Meanwhile, the former campaign managers of Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney have joined forces with security experts from Google, Facebook, and Crowdstrick to work to prevent election hacking, part of a Harvard Kennedy School initiative called Defending Digital Democracy, Hyacinth Mascarenhas reports for the International Business Times.

  • Spreading disinformation online has become a standard government practice around the world, Craig Timberg reports for The Washington Post, even in Western-style democracies like Britain, the United States, Israel, Australia, and Mexico. “In some cases, these efforts involved full-blown government bureaucracies, with a steady number of employees and fixed payrolls,” Timberg writes. “Other times bands of online activists or ad hoc groups of paid workers worked together for a single campaign before being disbanded. Some efforts also get outsourced to private vendors that specialize in influencing opinion through social media.”

  • Lessons from China in the age of Trump: David Ignatius reports for The Washington Post on a study that shows the Chinese government exerts control on the internet through distraction, rather than argumentation. “The rule is, not to besiege walled cities if it can possibly be avoided,” Ignatius writes, quoting Sun Tzu.

  • Open sesame: The GovLab has released a new report by Stefaan Verhulst and Andrew Young on open data in developing economies, based on 12 real-world case studies from around the world.

  • What sharing economy? The nonprofit Disability Rights Advocates is suing Uber for discriminating against passengers with disabilities, Johana Bhuiyan reports for Recode. The group argues 99.9 percent of Uber cars are not wheelchair accessible.

  • Tearjerker: In an essay for Wired, James Vlahos recounts building a chatbot to try to capture the essence of his dying father.

  • People are far more irritated by the sound of drones than of car or trucks, Alasdair Wilkins reports for New Scientist. Now can someone please inform the drone-flyers of Prospect Park?

  • How to: Lyndon Seitz sums up for Secure Thoughts how to protect yourself on public wifi.

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