The ethics of internet culture: a conversation with Taylor Lorenz

Taylor Lorenz was in high demand this week. As a prolific journalist at The Atlantic and about-to-be member of Harvard’s prestigious Nieman Fellowship for journalism, that’s perhaps not surprising. Nor was this the first time she’s had a bit of a moment: Lorenz has already served as an in-house expert on social media and the internet for several major companies, while having written and edited for publications as diverse as The Daily Beast, The Hill, People, The Daily Mail, and Business Insider, all while remaining hip and in touch enough to currently serve as a kind of youth zeitgeist translator, on her beat as a technology writer for The Atlantic.

Lorenz is in fact publicly busy enough that she’s one of only two people I personally know to have openly ‘quit email,’ the other being my friend Russ, an 82 year-old retired engineer and MIT alum who literally spends all day, most days, working on a plan to reinvent the bicycle.

I wonder if any of Lorenz’s previous professional [...]  read more

Flickr says all Creative Commons photos are protected from deletion, not just past uploads

Flickr announced today that all Creative Commons images will remain protected on its site – including those uploaded in the past and those that will be added in the future. The news follows Flickr’s November 2018 announcement where it had stated it wouldn’t delete Creative Commons photos already on its service, after switching over to a new business model which put an end to the free terabyte of storage in favor of a new subscription-based service.

There had been concern prior to Flickr’s statement in November that the photography site’s revamped business model would see works deleted from Creative Commons, as a result of its implementation.

That would have been a huge loss to the wider photography community and the web as a whole.

Creative Commons is a significant resource, as it makes creators’ [...]  read more

Has the fight over privacy changed at all in 2019?

Albert Gidari

Albert Gidari is the Consulting Director of Privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. He was a partner for over 20 years at Perkins Coie LLP, achieving a top-ranking in privacy law by Chambers, before retiring to consult with CIS on its privacy program. He negotiated the first-ever “privacy by design” consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. A recognized expert on electronic surveillance law, he brought the first public lawsuit before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, seeking the right of providers to disclose the volume of national security demands received and the number of affected user accounts, ultimately resulting in greater public disclosure of such requests.

There is no doubt that the privacy environment changed in 2018 with the passage of California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and new privacy laws enacted around the globe.

“While privacy regulation [...]  read more

TechCrunch Conversations: Direct listings

Last April, Spotify surprised Wall Street bankers by choosing to go public through a direct listing process rather than through a traditional IPO. Instead of issuing new shares, the company simply sold existing shares held by insiders, employees and investors directly to the market – bypassing the roadshow process and avoiding at least some of Wall Street’s fees. That pattens is set to continue in 2019 as Silicon Valley darlings Slack and Airbnb take the direct listing approach.

Have we reached a new normal where tech companies choose to test their own fate and disrupt the traditional capital markets process?  This week, we asked a panel of six experts on IPOs and direct listings: “What are the implications of direct listing tech IPOs for financial services, regulation, venture capital, and capital markets activity?” 

This week’s participants include: IPO researcher Jay R. Ritter ( [...]  read more

The limits of coworking

It feels like there’s a WeWork on every street nowadays. Take a walk through midtown Manhattan (please don’t actually) and it might even seem like there are more WeWorks than office buildings.

Consider this an ongoing discussion about Urban Tech, its intersection with regulation, issues of public service, and other complexities that people have full PHDs on. I’m just a bitter, born-and-bred New Yorker trying to figure out why I’ve been stuck in between subway stops for the last 15 minutes, so please reach out with your take on any of these thoughts: @Arman.Tabatabai@techcrunch.com.

Co-working has permeated cities around the world at an astronomical rate. The rise has been so remarkable that even the headline-dominating SoftBank seems willing to bet the success of its colossal Vision Fund on the shift continuing, having poured billions into WeWork – including a recent $4.4 billion top-up that saw the co-working king’s valuation spike to $45 billion.

And there are no signs of [...]  read more

The nation-state of the internet

The internet is a community, but can it be a nation-state? It’s a question that I have been pondering on and off this year, what with the rise of digital nomads and the deeply libertarian ethos baked into parts of the blockchain community. It’s clearly on a lot of other people’s minds as well: when we interviewed Matt Howard of Norwest on Equity a few weeks back, he noted (unprompted) that Uber is one of the few companies that could reach “nation-state” status when it IPOs.

Clearly, the internet is home to many, diverse communities of similar-minded people, but how do those communities transmute from disparate bands into a nation-state?

That question led me to Imagined Communities, a book from 1983 and one of the most lauded (and debated) social science works ever published. Certainly it is among the most heavily cited: Google Scholar pegs it at almost 93,000 citations.

Benedict Anderson, a political scientist and historian, ponders over a simple question: where does nationalism [...]  read more

The economics and tradeoffs of ad-funded smart city tech

In order to have innovative smart city applications, cities first need to build out the connected infrastructure, which can be a costly, lengthy, and politicized process. Third-parties are helping build infrastructure at no cost to cities by paying for projects entirely through advertising placements on the new equipment. I try to dig into the economics of ad-funded smart city projects to better understand what types of infrastructure can be built under an ad-funded model, the benefits the strategy provides to cities, and the non-obvious costs cities have to consider.

Consider this an ongoing discussion about Urban Tech, its intersection with regulation, issues of public service, and other complexities that people have full PHDs on. I’m just a bitter, born-and-bred New Yorker trying to figure out why I’ve been stuck in between subway stops for the last 15 minutes, so please reach out with your take on any of these thoughts: @Arman.Tabatabai@techcrunch.com.

When [...]  read more

Priscilla Chan to discuss Chan Zuckerberg Initiative at Disrupt SF

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is one of the biggest philanthropic organizations in the world, and the most technology-forward foundations in history. By integrating technology, CZI believes it can affect social change at a much more rapid pace than by simply infusing initiatives with cash.

With that said, we’re absolutely thrilled to have Priscilla Chan join us on the Disrupt SF stage in September.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 upon the birth of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s first daughter Max. The $45 billion organization first launched with a focus on personalized education, and has moved into the areas of justice and science since then.

The overall goal of the education initiative at CZI is to ensure that all children are able to realize their full potential by the age of 21, including the ability to earn a living wage, achieve independence, and identify and pursue their passions.

Some educational programs include The [...]  read more

Hustle rallies $30M for grassroots texting tool Republicans can’t use

Hustle 20X’d its annual revenue run rate in 15 months by denying clients that contradict its political views. It’s a curious, controversial, yet successful strategy for the startup whose app lets activists and marketers text thousands of potential supporters or customers one at a time. Compared to generic email blasts and robocalls, Hustle gets much higher conversion rates because people like connecting with a real human who can answer their follow-up questions.

The whole business is built around those relationships, so campaigns, non-profits, and enterprises have to believe in Hustle’s brand. That’s why CEO Roddy Lindsay tells me “We don’t sell to republican candidates or committees. What it’s allowed us to do is build trust with the Democratic party and progressive organizations. We don’t have to worry about celebrating our clients’ success and offending other clients.”

Hustle execs from left: COO Ysiad Ferreiras, CEO Roddy Lindsay, CTO Tyler Brock

Investors agree. [...]  read more

Glitch launches its ‘YouTube for app creators’

The project revolves around openness (it recently added the option to embed Glitch-made apps anywhere on the web), and that now extends to the site itself. Fog Creek has opened up the source code for the Glitch website, giving you a chance to shape the community in addition to the apps you make.

There’s no certainty that Glitch will catch on — it’s clearly not meant for typical commercial apps with closed source code. However, it could be particularly appealing to both newcomers to programming and those who are more concerned about making code accessible than turning a profit. Fog Creek envisions Glitch as a hub for artists, activists and teachers who don’t always have platforms for their work and might be intimidated by the usual hurdles associated with writing and delivering code.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #engadget https://www.engadget.com/2018/04/01/glitch-app-creation-community-launch/