First Post



Uber drivers “log out” in protest; what it’s like to be monitored by Egypt’s secret police; and more.

  • The Uber Bowl: Thousands of Uber drivers are planning to assemble Sunday in San Francisco to disrupt traffic around the Super Bowl, Mike Dean reports for the Observer. 1,000 drove in protest through the city on Monday to protest the company’s fare cuts.

  • Related: Noam Scheiber reports for the New York Times on rising labor conflicts not just aimed at Uber, but also Lyft and Postmates, highlighting the “Good Work Code” being championed by the National Domestic Workers Alliance as a response. Uber drivers in Dallas and Seattle have succeeded in collectively pressing the company for some policy reversals, Scheiber reports. In Tampa several hundred protesting drivers have “started an weekly logout of an hour or two during peak periods for weekend revelers,” he reports, using Zello, an app-based walkie-talkie service, to communicate with each other.

  • Note to self: In the digital age, a walkout by on-demand workers is to be called a “logout.” (And I remember when we thought logging in was the radical move.)

  • Tech and the presidentials: Conversational trends on Twitter and search trends on Google both gave a clear inkling that Texas Senator Ted Cruz was going to finish strong in Iowa, Marcus Gilmer reports for Mashable.

  • Donald Trump’s failure to listen to advisors telling him to invest more in tech and data for voter targeting allowed him to get out-organized in Iowa, Kenneth Vogel and Darren Samuelsohn report for Politico.

  • Many of the presidential candidates are responding to questions about the internet and cybersecurity, but as Tim Karr of Free Press writes, the bad news is none of them seem to know what they’re talking about.

  • This is civic tech: The Sunlight Foundation has just launched “Hall of Justice,” a massive data inventory on criminal justice in America. It includes nearly 10,000 datasets and research documents from across the states and the federal government.

  • Spying times: The proposed “Snooper’s Charter” legislation in the UK—officially the Investigatory Powers Bill—”is so vague as to permit a vast range of surveillance actions, with profoundly insufficient oversight or insight into what Britain’s intelligence, military and police intend to do with their powers,” writes EFF’s Eva Halperin and Danny O’Brien. They add, “It is, in effect, a carefully-crafted loophole wide enough to drive all of existing mass surveillance practice through.”

  • European and American negotiators have reached a deal renewing “safe harbor” regulations allowing American tech companies to keep moving people’s digital data across the Atlantic, Mark Scott reports for the New York Times. The deal still has to be approved by the EU’s member states. And as Techdirt’s Mike Masnick cogently notes, the core issue that is still unresolved is whether the US government will stop indiscriminate mass surveillance of personal data of foreigners that moves through US-based servers.

  • A group of 11 U.C. Berkeley professors are objecting to a new internal web traffic monitoring program put in place at the behest of the University of California’s president, Janet Napolitano, the former national director of the Department of Homeland Security, Steve Lohr reports for the New York Times. “My primary concern is monitoring the private information of students and faculty in secret,” said Eric Brewer, a professor of computer science.

  • Don’t miss Mona Eltahawy’s chilling first-person essay in the New York Times on what it’s like to be constantly monitored by Egypt’s “National Security” secret police—and ask yourself why American cybersecurity firm Blue Coat is helping them trawl through Skype, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

  • Your moment of zen: Bernie Sanders as a rabbi in the 1999 low-budget film, “My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception.” Take that, Larry David.