A Twitter conversion; CIA director blames terrorism on post-Snowden handwringing; and more.
The crypto wars are back…and with a vengeance in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris. As David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth report for the New York Times, national security and law enforcement officials are renewing their criticism of tech companies that provide end-to-end encryption of their users’ communications, even though “American and French officials say there is still no definitive evidence to back up their presumption that the terrorists who massacred 129 people in Paris used new, difficult-to-crack encryption technologies to organize the plot.”
CIA director John Brennan denounced “handwringing” in the wake of Edward Snowden’s disclosures, saying it has allowed terrorists to flourish, Alex Shepherd reports for the New Republic.
Jameel Jaffer, the deputy legal director of the ACLU, responds, “As far as I know, there’s no evidence the French lacked some kind of surveillance authority that would have made a difference. When we’ve invested new powers in the government in response to events like the Paris attacks, they have often been abused.”
Also on Monday, Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio criticized two of his rivals, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, for voting “to weaken the U.S. intelligence program” and “leav[e] America vulnerable,” Patrick O’Connor reports for The Wall Street Journal.
Rethinking the “sharing economy”: Last Friday and Saturday, more than a thousand people attended the Platform Cooperativism conference at The New School. The event, which was organized by Trebor Scholz and Nathan Schneider (and grew out of an earlier panel event at Civic Hall this past spring), was filled with passionate debate about the prospects of organizing a different approach to the ownership and governance of the emerging “on-demand” economy, as Jay Cassano reports for Shareable.
Maybe Uber isn’t that much of an economic juggernaut. That’s the argument of economist Lawrence Mishel, writing in The Atlantic, who points out that “Uber drivers represent significantly less than 0.1 percent of all full-time-equivalent employment.” He adds, “Even using [Uber senior adviser David] Plouffe’s current count of 400,000 Uber drivers, all working 10 percent fewer hours than in 2014, then Uber could account for between 0.1 to 0.14 percent of total full-time-equivalent employment at the end of 2015.”
This is civic tech: Mark Cridge, the new director of mySociety, has written an excellent statement on “Why we do what we do.” He writes:
What links all of our work is the creation of civic technology that enables greater access for citizens to the work of government and the democratic process: Lack of access to elected representatives amongst disadvantaged or underrepresented groups is a key driver of exclusion and inequality, yet governments tend only to become better at serving the needs of citizens when those citizens are capable of demanding better. Simply put, this is our cause.”
This can’t wait till the weekend: Adrian Chen’s long feature story for The New Yorker on how Megan Phelps-Roper, one of the daughters of the ultra-right Westboro Baptist Church, came to question her beliefs and ultimately leave the church thanks to friends and relationships that she developed from using Twitter is just mind-blowingly good.