Technologizer posts about Politics

Twitter To Sell Political Advertising

By  |  Posted at 12:04 pm on Wednesday, September 21, 2011


With the 2012 campaign expected to cost candidates well over a billion dollars, it’s no surprise that companies that count on advertising are angling to get a slice of that huge pie. Twitter is one of them, and plans to market its advertising services to the campaigns thanks to a key hire of a former political marketing executive from Google.

Twitter told Politico that it plans to sell ads through features such as promoted tweets and trends. At least five campaigns have already signed on to the new offering, including Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign. Twitter declined to specify the other participants.

One thing it will not do is insert ads within user’s timeline, a new advertising option that it has been experimenting with over the past few months. It also plans to differentiate a political ad from a standard one: the ad will carry a small purple checkmark.

You won’t see the standard “I approve this message” tag on tweets. Twitter won’t display them directly with the tweet, however hovering over the tweet would show who purchased the advertising if the campaign decides to disclose it. (It should be obvious anyway, since the ads would direct to a URL or Twitter account where the identity would be disclosed, I’d guess).

I wonder if like TV and radio, Twitter will become a sea of political ads in the days before an election, with the candidates sniping at each other continuously. Let’s hope not.

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Smuggle Truck: Tasteless Satire on a Serious Issue

By  |  Posted at 6:01 pm on Monday, February 7, 2011


It seems every so often, some developer comes along with the need to produce a mobile app that makes you say, “Dear God, what is wrong with our society?” Enter Smuggle Truck, a proposed gaming app for the iOS and Android platforms which the goal is to smuggle as many illegal immigrants over the US-Mexico border as possible, without killing them.

The app pushes just about every possible stereotype possible: images of a rickety truck packed with people speeding across the desert countryside. Better watch out: drive too recklessly and people may be ejected from the truck bed –maybe even a newborn baby.

Continue reading this story…

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Internet “Kill Switch” Efforts In US on Life Support?

By  |  Posted at 1:55 pm on Wednesday, February 2, 2011


A plan about 16 months in the making to give the President powers to shut down the Internet may have just died an early death thanks to the events in Egypt. According to supporters of the bill, the purpose was to protect US interests from cyberattacks, although critics say it goes too far and could be a threat to free speech.

In Egypt, the Mubarak regime shut down the Internet in the country in an effort to curtail the organization efforts of anti-government protesters. That hasn’t worked too well, and Internet connections were restored in the country this morning. The effort seems to have shone new light on “kill switch” efforts here.

Continue reading this story…


A Politician’s Facebook Friends a Bellwether of Electoral Success?

By  |  Posted at 6:51 pm on Wednesday, November 3, 2010

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Facebook seems to think that if you’re a politician running for political office, the number of friends you have may correlate to your electoral success. In statistics provided by the social networking site on Wednesday, it found that among 98 hotly contested races, in 69 of them the winner also had more friends than the losing candidate.

In the Senate, the correlation appears even more strong: in the 34 races in which a winner had been declared, 28 of them also won the Facebook friends rate. Such evidence may point to the increasing power of social networking when it comes to voter outreach, and more importantly “GOTV” (Get Out The Vote) efforts.

While I used Facebook in my own run for local office — it was such a tiny sample that I can’t really speak from experience that it actually worked to help me win. What I can say is that I certainly believe my online presence — even for a hyperlocal political office like borough councilman — certainly helped me to get the word out.

Either way, in an age where political campaigns are becoming ever more expensive, and probably even more so in the wake of the Citizens United decision, GOTV efforts through social networking become a quick and inexpensive way of getting the word out.

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RIP former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, who was responsible for one of the most notable quotes in tech history

Posted by Harry at 2:11 pm

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RIM Facing Government Pressure to Open Up

By  |  Posted at 10:54 am on Thursday, August 5, 2010

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Press reports indicate that BlackBerry maker RIM seems to be under increasing pressure to open up its encrypted communications from customers to governments, who are increasingly concerned about security. It seems that officials are worried that criminals — and terrorists too — are using the encryption to their advantage since there is no way to monitor transmissions.

The United Arab Emirates were the first to ban the devices, saying it would shut down service in October. The ban would not extend to other devices, since their digital communications pass over the open Internet. Saudi Arabia was next, who is threatening to shut off service this Friday.

Since then the list of countries with similar concerns has grown to include Kuwait, India, Indonesia, and today extended to Lebanon. While none of the countries are yet moving to ban the BlackBerry, all are asking RIM to open up.

Continue reading this story…

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Check Up on Your Congressman… On Facebook

These days, everybody’s on Facebook, including your local Congressman. To highlight the increasing usage in Congress of the social networking site, Facebook has launched a special page listing the more than 300 members that use the site in an official capacity. The site’s hope is this promotion will encourage others to start using the site.

In addition to listing the pages of these members, the page’s wall is filled with stories on how members are using Facebook, as well as highlighting technology legislation that is passing through Congress.

So you may ask, who are the most popular members of Congress? Republican Rep. Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota leads the House with 29,000 fans, while in the Senate Democrats Mark Udall of Colorado and Claire McCaskill of Missouri lead with about 4,000 fans apiece.

Posted by Ed Oswald at 12:17 pm

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President Obama, iPad Skeptic

By  |  Posted at 12:22 am on Monday, May 10, 2010


As politicians go, President Obama has a reputation as a reasonably tech-savvy guy–or at least one with a deep-seated appreciation for his BlackBerry. But during the commencement speech he gave on Sunday at Hampton University in Virginia, he sounded more like a technophobic old fogy:

You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter.  And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — (laughter) — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation.  So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.

Class of 2010, this is a period of breathtaking change, like few others in our history.  We can’t stop these changes, but we can channel them, we can shape them, we can adapt to them.

Continue reading this story…

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The High Court’s Lack of Tech Knowlege is Troubling

By  |  Posted at 10:35 pm on Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Remember that sexting story I shared with you Monday? Well, our nation’s highest court heard those arguments Tuesday. What we learned from their performance on the bench is that a significant number of them have a very rudimentary understanding–if any at all–of technology.

If this is the case, we should be quite concerned that this court just doesn’t have the knowleddge to accurately rule on what is likely to become an ever-increasingly tech-heavy caseload as high-tech works even further into the fabric of our lives.

Here’s just some of the surprisingly basic questions asked by justices, according to DC Dicta:

Chief Justice John Roberts, who has written out his opinions with pen and paper: “What is the difference between e-mail and a pager?”

Justice Anthony Kennedy, failing to understand the basic concept of a text message: “[If messages are sent simultaneously], does it say: ‘Your call is important to us, and we will get back to you?’”

Justice Antonin Scalia, asking about those sexts: “Could Quon print these spicy little conversations and send them to his buddies?”

If our highest court cannot grasp the most basic concepts of technology, I highly question how they could provide fair judgments on any matter involving tech. This makes me very nervous.

We cannot completely blame the Court for its failings. Most of the justices are over the age of 70. However, at the same time, you need to stay current when you’re in a position to make decisions that affect the entire country.

President Obama is going to have to select a new justice very soon. Let’s hope the one he picks at least knows what e-mail is.


Running a Country…on Your iPad

What happens when you’re head of state and you’re stranded in a foreign land, and there’s pressing national business to attend to? Simple, pull out your iPad. That’s exactly what Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg did in New York, CNN reports. With ash from and erupting Icelandic volcano grounding flights to Europe, the Prime Minister was able to stay on top of business back home.

Government officials posted a picture of Stoltenberg hovering over his iPad on the government website, saying “the prime minister is working at the airport.” Along with the iPad, Stoltenberg is using a mobile phone and the Internet to stay abreast of the situation back home. Apple couldn’t get any better PR for its highly popular device than this…

Posted by Ed Oswald at 6:38 pm


Obama Set to Fund Broadband Expansion Initiative

By  |  Posted at 9:25 am on Thursday, December 17, 2009

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The US government will be awarding $2 billion of federal stimulus money over the next 75 days to begin work to expand broadband to rural areas. The first $182 million is being distributed beginning today for 18 projects in 17 states, the Obama Administration said. Some $7.2 billion overall has been marked in the stimulus for work on broadband.

Government officials supporting the plan argue that the investment will stimulate the economy and create “tens of thousands of jobs.” The issue of unemployment has begun to nag the Adminstration, which for much of 2009 has been bogged down in the morass that has become health care reform.

Monies received through the broadband stimulus program may not be exactly for Internet access, however. Improvements to the electrical grid, work in electronic medical records, and high-speed rail projects are also set to receive some funds as a result of the move, officials say.

While I know some of Obama’s opponents will see this as a foolhardy way to spend money, I think it is a good idea to start investing in our broadband infrastructure. Lets put it this way: in the modern economy, broadband Internet access has become ever more vital to success. With the US falling behind globally, you could argue that our businesses are also suffering as well. Add to this the patchwork nature of our broadband footprint, and well, you get the point.

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GOP Moves to Block Net Neutrality

By  |  Posted at 5:00 pm on Monday, September 21, 2009


Julius GenachowskiA Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposal that would require Internet service providers to treat all network traffic equally was met with resistance by Republicans on Capitol Hill today.

FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski is expected to unveil a policy that advocates network neutrality this week. If the policy is implemented, providers would no longer be able to interfere with information that flows through their networks. ISPs, including Comcast, have managed peer-to-peer network traffic to alleviate network congestion, and oppose the concept.

Senate Republicans also stand in opposition to net neutrality, and moved to deny the FCC funding for developing or implementing new Internet regulations. Genachowski was appointed to the FCC by President Obama.

“I am deeply concerned by the direction the FCC appears to be heading. Even during a severe downturn, America has experienced robust investment and innovation in network performance and online content and applications,” Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said in a statement. ” She said that regulations could stifle innovation, and that the marketplace would respond to companies that exhibit questionable behavior.

Vinton Cerf, co-inventor of the Internet Protocol and Google evangalist, and Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web, favor network neutrality. Berners-Lee believes that ISPs seek to shift customers to a tiered pricing model, where access to information pipelines will be tightly controlled.

I agree with Berners-Lee, and would rather see preemptive regulation than for Internet users to lose the benefits of the Internet. Toll booths would impede–not encourage–innovation. What do you think?

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The Web Does Not Equal More Civic Engagement

By  |  Posted at 4:50 pm on Tuesday, September 1, 2009

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world wide webThe Web is not the answer to increased civic participation, according to the results of a study released Tuesday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Instead, as in offline activities, those engaged are still basically older and more wealthy than the citzenry at large.

For example, 35 percent of adults making more than $100,000 a year had participated in some kind of online political activity over the past year. Contrast this with those making under $20,000 — only 8 percent participation was recorded there. Pew noted that this was the same gap seen offline as well.

The bottom line seems to be that the more money you make, the more likely you’re going to be civically involved, regardless of whether it’s online or not.

“Contrary to the hopes of some advocates, the internet is not changing the socio-economic character of civic engagement in America,” Pew research specialist Aaron Smith said. He did acknowledge that access to the Internet does also correlate to socio-economic status, but added there was still a “strong positive relationship” between socio-economic status and political activism.

The news is certainly a blow to those who have been lifting the Web up as a way for a broader swath of the citizenry to get involved — heck, our own President is one of it’s biggest cheerleaders. But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel: social networking.

Pew found that those on social networking sites did not follow the patterns they found elsewhere, and thus one’s financial situation meant less to whether or not they were politically active.

“The impact of these new tools on the future of online political involvement depends in large part upon what happens as this younger cohort of “digital natives” gets older. Are we witnessing a generational change or a life-cycle phenomenon that will change as these younger users age? Will the civic divide close, or will rapidly evolving technologies continue to leave behind those with lower levels of education and income,” Smith asked.

I guess we’ll find out.

(Cross-posted from TechPolitik)


In Case of Emergency, Should the White House Control the Internet?

By  |  Posted at 11:38 am on Friday, August 28, 2009


Obama shuts off InternetCnet’s Declan McCullagh has a good story up on a Senate Bill sponsored by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) which would give the White House the power to disconnect private computers from the Internet in the case of a cyberemergency. McCullagh says that the bill, a revised version of one floated last spring, remains troubling to Internet and telecommunications companies and civil liberties groups, who say the the new version remains vague about the powers it grants.

Let’s take a T-Poll on it–and just to remove politics from the issue (and despite my silly piece of art), let’s make this question about a fictional President of the United States of unspecified political party, not the guy who happens to be there right this very minute…


Health Care Reform becomes Comedic Gold on Twitter

By  |  Posted at 3:53 pm on Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Twitter logoThe U.S. debate over President Obama’s health care reform proposals has taken a humorous turn on Twitter today.

Tweets making light of some of the more outlandish claims that are being made by the President’s political opponents have become trending topics: Under Obamacare and #Obamacarefacts. Here’s a sampling of some of the wittier remarks.


Under Obamacare two grandmas enter… one grandma leaves.


Under ObamaCare, Soylent Green will be people. #obamacarefacts (via @Southworth)


#obamacarefacts Under Obamacare only Chuck Norris will be allowed to practice medicine. Administered via roundhouse kick


Under ObamaCare, keyboard cat will play YOU out. #obamacarefacts


#obamacarefacts Under ObamaCare, organ donates you!


Under ObamaCare, ADHD drugs for children will be replaced with swift punches to the offending child’s arms

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