Trending In Our News Feeds – The Washington Post uncovers massive online data mining program. This is starting to get ridiculous. Following yesterday’s revelation that the government collects data from millions of cell phone users, the Washington Post reported the FBI and National Security Agency have been mining data from the servers of leading internet companies since 2007. Under the program, codenamed “PRISM,” security officials collect data such as emails, documents, and video chats from nine companies including Microsoft, Google, and Facebook. The program is supposed to target foreign communications, but data from Americans has been collected as well. The kicker? The program is entirely legal. The Protect America Act and FISA grant the government broad data-collection powers and protect private companies that cooperate with data mining. PolicyMic’s Rick Galvez explains how FISA allows the government to spy on you.
Government officials were quick to defend the surveillance programs. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said of the collected phone data, “It’s called protecting America.” Representative Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) claimed the program prevented a “significant domestic terrorist attack.” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper defended PRISM in a statement released online: “Information collected under this program is among the most important and valuable foreign intelligence information we collect, and is used to protect our nation from a wide variety of threats.” He claimed the report by the Post contained “numerous inaccuracies.”
The media have been divided in their response to the government’s surveillance programs. The editorial board of the New York Times writes, “The administration has now lost all credibility on [transparency].” The Wall Street Journal countered, “The NSA’s ‘metadata’ surveillance is legal and necessary.”
PolicyMic pundit Mark Kogan sides with the Times. He rips into the Obama administration, saying, “We can’t allow this level of government overreach to just be another flash in the news cycle pan … This is one of those rare moments in politics when the scandal du jour actually matters.” He argues the government can no longer justify violations of privacy rights in the name of national security. Want to know how deep the data mining goes? The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an interactive timeline of the history of government surveillance.
Christie appoints Chiesa to Senate. Chris Christie announced yesterday he will appoint New Jersey Attorney General Jeff Chiesa to fill Frank Lautenberg’s Senate seat until a special election on October 16. The Washington Post says the decision comes as a surprise: Many expected Christie to choose former Attorney General David Samson. Chiesa worked with Christie when he was a U.S. attorney and helped him transition to his role as governor. He describes himself as a “conservative Republican.”
Turkish PM takes firm stance against protests. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan returned to his country early this morning and quickly responded to this week’s widespread protests. Erdogan called the demonstrators “vandals” and said the protests must end. At a press conference yesterday, he said the development project in Taksim Square would proceed as planned. Turkish stocks dropped 5% in response to the announcement; traders fear Erdogan’s harsh words will lead to further demonstrations.
New program to bring high-speed internet to students. President Obama announced a new initiative yesterday to bring high-speed internet access to schools and libraries across the country, in a speech at a middle school in North Carolina. The program, ConnectED, will aim to give internet access to 99% of U.S. students within five years. “In a country where we expect free WiFi with our coffee, why shouldn’t we have it in our schools?,” Obama said.
Governor’s Ball music festival kicks off tonight. Music lovers are heading to New York’s Randall’s Island this weekend for the three-day Governor’s Ball music festival. Kings Of Leon, Guns ‘n Roses, and Kanye West top the bill this time around. Check out photos from last year’s festival and listen to Pitchfork’s playlist of this year’s acts to get yourself ready for the music.
Must Reads From PolicyMic – Bill O'Reilly Just Lost Every Millennial Vote With One Quote (Autumn Lewien) – Bill O’Reilly recently talked with College Republicans about a report critiquing the GOP’s engagement with young voters. What happened next is pretty ridiculous.
[19 Mics, 24 Comments, 4 Shares]
Racism On the Soccer Field Must End Before It Kills the Sport (André Akpan, @auakpan) – Racism runs rampant in some of Europe’s top soccer leagues, and soccer authorities have finally started cracking down. What took so long? And will it work?
[16 Mics, 2 Comments, 16 Shares]
New York Versus Los Angeles: A Tale Of Two Cities (Chloe Stillwell, @chloekillwell) – With all of the journalistic bickering about N.Y. and L.A., it might be time to start taking a look at our own cities and habits, and stop throwing each other under the bus.
[9 Mics, 3 Comments, 17 Shares]
3 Summer TV Shows That Will Fill the 'Game Of Thrones' Shaped Hole In Your Heart (Michael Calabrese, @EastBreese) – Game of Thrones got you down? Big Bang Theory re-runs not cutting it? Fear not, fellow TV fans, here are a few series returning just in time for summer.
[3 Mics 0 Comments 11 Shares]
9 Crazy Food Items McDonald's Serves in Other Countries (Sam Brounstein, @SamTheBearJew) – From shrimp Big Macs to massive sausage sandwiches, McDonald’s serves a lot of unusual foods abroad. And you know what? A lot of it looks delicious.
[2 Mics, 5 Comments, 3 Shares]
What We’re Sharing – Why we’re all to blame for the Verizon phone record scandal (Esquire).
– This Turkish game show host found a really creative way to stick it to the man (The Lede).
– What the death of Google Reader tells us about how we read the news (Wired).
– This is your brain on coffee (Well).
– How “selfies” became a thing again (New Yorker).
– Awesome video of the day: a beautiful time lapse set to Daft Punk (Vimeo).
– Americans can’t even agree how to pronounce crayon (Business Insider).
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