Hillary Clinton unleashes 2016’s first “attack text”; Martin O’Malley tries to show off his tech nerd chops; civic hackers making the European Commission more transparent.
Tech and the presidentials: Huffington Post senior political reporter Amanda Terkel catches Hillary Clinton’s campaign doing something new: texting supporters so they could hear what GOP presidential candidate had to say “about Latinos when he thinks no one is listening” (that is, referring to U.S. born children of undocumented immigrants as “anchor babies”). As she reports, “People who texted back the words ‘HEAR’ then received an automated call with audio of Bush’s remarks in both English and Spanish.”
Dark horse Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley made an impression during his 36-hour visit to woo techies in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Joe Garofoli reports. But, he notes, “While O’Malley may be fluent in techspeak, it has not translated into financial support from the sector.”
Writing for Politico Magazine, the former editor of Psychology Today, Robert Epstein posits a somewhat hyperbolic scenario wherein Google uses its search algorithm to shift voter sentiments toward Hillary Clinton. While it’s highly unlikely that Google could keep secret any effort to bias search results to favor a political candidate, Epstein still has a point. Voters can definitely be influenced by what they see in top search results. (Just ask President Rick Santorum.)
Instagram is now taking political ads, reports Natalie Andrews for the Wall Street Journal.
Government Openings: Alex Howard, the Huffington Post’s senior editor for technology and society, reports on the ongoing work of the White House’s police data initiative.
The White House has a new Tumblr: LetterstoPresidentObama.tumblr.com, where some of the letters Americans send to the President will be posted.
Scott Schwaitzberg of Tusk Ventures argues on Medium that the same technology behind digital currencies may make it possible to rethink government regulation. He writes, “Creating a fundamentally more transparent, almost unimpeachable system for health inspections, building inspections, environmental safety and other areas that currently face significant regulatory scrutiny is not a compromise to avoid an unpopular political fight, it’s an imperative for any regulator committed to maximizing public safety.”
Beltway Bandits: The AP’s Jack Gillum and Ted Bridis have discovered that hundreds of US government employees, including people at the White House, Congress and in law enforcement, used the Internet connections in their federal offices to access and pay for the cheating website AshleyMadison.com. None were named because they are not elected officials or accused of a crime.
Future of Work: Reflecting on this week’s news about Amazon’s punishing work culture, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskowitz points out that “the research is clear: beyond ~40-50 hours per week, the marginal returns from additional work decrease rapidly and quickly become negative” and “the current culture of intensity in the tech industry…is both destroying the personal lives of … employees and getting nothing in return.”
With $2.2 million in funding from the Knight Foundation, ProPublica is launching a “crowd-powered news network,” building on its already successful efforts to crowd-source investigative journalism built by engaging communities in story-telling, engagement editor Amanda Zamora blogs.
This is civic tech: Over the years, hacktivists and open data advocates have created a number of free online tools for understanding the workings of the European Union, and Laurens Cerulus reviews a batch of them including EU Integrity Watch, VoteWatch, MEPRanking, Parltrack, LobbyPlag, and LobbyFacts.
San Antonio has chosen Accela’s Civic Platform for a $14 million wave of civic tech improvements, Bailey McCann reports for CivSource.