How Americans think tech has impacted politics; how USDS and 18F are changing tech & gov’t; and more.

  • Yahoo is holding a conference on tech and politics today at Drake University in Des Moines, starting at 9:30am Central Time, livestreamed here. Sen. Rand Paul is the one presidential candidate on the agenda.

  • Concurrent with that event, Yahoo has released the results of a major poll exploring Americans’ attitudes towards the impact of tech on politics. Among its findings:

    • While most Americans believe tech has made American politics more inclusive and representative of what people really think, African-American and Hispanics believe that more strongly (74 percent and 73 percent) than whites (60 percent).

    • A majority of whites (57 percent) think social media has made politics more negative, compared to just 41 percent of African-Americans.

    • Most Americans don’t think tech has given them more of a voice, as an individual, in politics. Just 23 percent of Hispanics, 21 percent of African-Americans, 18 percent of whites and 15 percent of Asians believe it has.

  • Reporting from the Fast Company Innovation Festival here at Civic Hall this week, John Paul Titlow highlights three projects coming out of the U.S. Digital Service and 18F that are dramatically changing how government uses tech.

  • Related: Justin Herman, the SocialGov Lead for the GSA, sits down with GovTech’s Jason Shueh to talk about how federal agencies are learning to improve their civic engagement strategies.

  • The Intercept’s Jordan Smith and Micah Lee report that Securus Technologies, one of the leading providers of phone services to prisons nationwide, has been recording tens millions of calls, including thousands between inmates and their lawyers. A hacker was able to obtain access to more than 70 million call records, information that was then provided to the Intercept via its Secure Drop leaking platform.

  • This is civic tech: We’ve been in love with Loveland Technologies co-founder Jerry Paffendorf ever since 2010 when he bought a vacant lot in Detroit and put 10,000 square inches of it up for sale for $1 apiece, and more recently when he and his team led the “Motor City Mapping” project that gave the city its first up-to-date map of every tax property. Now, as Bill Bradley reports for Next City in a long profile, Loveland is branching out beyond its home city to work on opening up land survey information across the U.S., and Paffendort is also one of eight candidates seeking to replace the retiring Wayne County Treasurer, who oversees tax foreclosure auctions.

  • Ever wonder how virtual organizations with staff in far-flung locations develop strong teams? Here’s how Upworthy, with 80 employees, does it, courtesy of Harvard Business Review’s Harrison Monarth.

  • When a video clip blows up online, context is almost always missing. So if you happen to have seen clips of protests at Yale this past week over the university’s failures to address racial discrimination there, read this essay on Medium by Aaron Lewis, a senior there.