Why the Secret Service is on Twitter; Jeb Bush on #BlackLivesMatter; and more.
Yesterday at a campaign event in New Hampshire, Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush “rolled his eyes” at the mention of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley’s having apologized for saying “white lives matter.” Bush then commented, according to David Weigel reporting for the Washington Post, “We’re so uptight and so politically correct now that we apologize for saying ‘lives matter’?” The video of Bush’s comments was captured by trackers from American Bridge and quickly posted online. If you listen closely, Bush appears to accuse the #BlackLivesMatter movement of not believing that white lives matter.
Two inspectors general have recommended that the Justice Department open a criminal investigation into whether sensitive government information was mishandled by Hillary Clinton’s private email account while she was secretary of state, Michael Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo report for the New York Times.
In case you think this is a meaningful metric, A.J. Feather reports for Bloomberg News that Hillary Clinton is winning the “Facebook primary” in terms of how many “unique people” are talking about her compared to the other presidential candidates.
Josephine Wolff reports for The Atlantic on how the Secret Service monitors online threats to President Obama. She notes, “Pulling up every tweet which uses the words ‘Obama’ and ‘assassinate’ takes mere seconds, and the Secret Service has tried to make it easier for people to draw threats to its attention by setting up its own Twitter handle, @secretservice, for users to report threatening messages to.”
Here’s a chapter and verse breakdown of how Uber steamrolled New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, from Dana Rubinstein and Laura Nahmias in Capital New York. Uber’s use of its app platform may have gotten the most media attention, but clearly its lobbying army and full-court press on the city council did the trick.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has taken over a private website, FAFSA.com, which had been operated by a private company charging prospective students for help filling out their financial aid applications, something that directly contradicted the intent of FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid), reports Alex Howard for Huffington Post. The site is being transferred to the Department of Education, he reports, as part of legal action against the private company, Student Financial Aid Services. This act of what Howard calls “digital eminent domain” may indeed be a first (pun intended, Alex?). Now, if only the Department of Education cared as much about helping indebted students with useful tech as it does about helping them get indebted, and didn’t leave that job to volunteers. [CORRECTION: Howard has posted an update to his story: while Student Financial Aid Services does face legal action regarding overcharging and other issues, it voluntarily transferred the FAFSA.com domain. So, in essence, this wasn’t an act of “digital eminent domain,” as intriguing a prospect as that may be.]
An app developer figured out how to use genome-mapping company 23andMe’s DNA database and API to create a screening mechanism that could be used by websites to block a potential visitor by their race, sex or ancestry, Stephanie Lee reports for BuzzFeed. The developer’s access to 23andMe’s API was swiftly blocked.
Craig Newmark’s craigconnects.org has relaunched, and in the words of its progenitor, it’s “better, nerdier.” Also, birdier. (Full disclosure: craigconnects is a supporter of Civic Hall’s veterans’ scholarship program.)