Recent news from the Center for Civic Media | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent news from the Center for Civic Media

Upworthy's Content Goes Further Than Yours, and Not Because It's Better Content

Sara Critchfield and Adam Mordecai's talk at Netroots Nation (#nnupFTW) was less-than-standing-room only, so I've combined the parts of his talk we were able to catch with a similar talk by their colleague Peter Koechley at the Conversational Marketing Summit. Thanks to Deepa Kunapuli for her notes.

Technology and Human Rights

Liveblog of the Netroots Nation panel, Safeguarding Democracy: Innovations in Technology and Human Rights

Caitlin Howarth, of the Satellite Sentinel Project, has assembled an impressive panel of women working at the intersection of tech and human rights. First up is Emily Jacobi, cofounder of Digital Democracy (@digidem).

Emily has seen some amazing changes in the world in the past few years, and she attributes these changes to technology and how people are using it. People who were completely marginalized from conversations are picking up the tools of mass communication. Digital Democracy focuses on small 'd' democracy and the grassroots engagement rather than large institutions.

Data Therapy for Data-Driven Journalism

Earlier this week we hosted a Hacks/Hackers meetup where I offered some Data Therapy to attendees. It was a great chance for me to target my efforts to encourage more creative data presentation at a particular audience - journalists and data scientists. We had a engaging workshop with about 100 people in attendance - lots of insightful questions and conversations about how to tell stories better with data.

image by @AlohaKarina

Data Therapy is my ongoing effort to bridge the gap between data presentation tools and folks that aren't data geeks. As more and more tools lower the barrier to entry for creating data presentation, we need to help burgeoning data scientists learn how to pick the appropriate techniques for presenting their data to their audience, based on the data and their goals

Lessons from Lockpicking: Perfect security is a myth; nonfiction is the new security

"You never pick a lock you don't own or that you haven't been given explicit permission from the owner to pick. Number 2, don't pick locks in use because locks can break when you pick them."
- Schuyler Towne, competitive lock picker and professional security researcher
Schuyler's introduction to lockpicking video

What is the myth of perfect security?
Schuyler Towne spoke to us in April (live blog post about Schuyler's civic lunch talk: about the idea of perfect security that existed until the early 1700s while locks were unbreakable. Early tests for the strength of a lock included leaving a lockpicker with a lock for 30 days and allowing that person any tool or tactic to try to break the lock. Only locks that survived these kinds of tests went on to use and because of these tests, locks were trusted.


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