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Facebook and Google push deadline to comply with Seattle’s political ad disclosure law

Social media has become an important tool in political campaigns. (Bigstock Photo)

Facebook and Google have asked for more time to respond to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission mandate that the companies comply with a city law governing political ads, according to The Stranger.

The law requires anyone selling advertising related to local elections to disclose data on the ads, including who payed for them. In response to The Stranger’s reporting, the commission sent letters to Google and Facebook demanding they provide that data for ads sold during 2017 Seattle election by Jan. 2.

Each company asked for an additional 30 days, which the commission granted, provided they use the time to prepare to comply with the law. A Google attorney told the commission it would use the extension to make a good-faith effort to provide the information mandated by law. Facebook was more vague, asking for an extension to craft a response to the commission’s letter.

Seattle’s efforts to bring more transparency to political ads on social media mirror an attempt at the federal level called the “Honest Ads Act.” If approved by Congress, the law would hold online political advertisements to the same standards governing traditional media.

Social media has become an important tool for political campaigns but regulators have not caught up to the new technology, creating a Wild West effect.

Related: Deadline 2020: Regulators need to catch up to social media propaganda by the next big election

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Microsoft predicts 2018 will usher in a new era for tech companies sitting on silos of consumer data

A Microsoft Azure data center. (Microsoft Photo)

Microsoft believes we are on the cusp of a “sea change” that will set a new standard for big tech companies storing private information about their users.

On May 25, the European Union will begin enforcing a broad set of regulations governing how companies handle private data. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) unifies the patchwork of privacy policies maintained by European Union states into a single set of rules. It applies to all companies that deal with private data, regardless of where they are headquartered.

Microsoft’s Brad Smith and Carol Ann Browne describe GDPR’s launch date as a “key milestone” in a new blog post titled, “The Top 10 Tech Issues for 2018.

Related: What is the GDPR? GeekWire’s guide to new European data protection laws that impact the cloud

“In effect it prescribes new business processes and even product features,” the post says.

GDPR outlines a strict new set of standards for companies that hold onto any personal information belonging to a consumer in an EU state — from email addresses to credit card numbers. The rules include a “right to be forgotten,” allowing users to demand that their personal information be deleted. GDPR also requires companies to disclose how they are using customer data in “clear and plain language” and notify users of a security breach within 72 hours.

Here’s how Microsoft characterizes the significance of GDPR taking effect:

While the regulation applies to companies of every sort, much of the practical burden falls on the tech sector. This is due in part to the large amount of information held by online firms, but it’s also because, with digital transformation trends, every company is relying more on cloud services. For Microsoft and other tech companies that provide these services, architectural and engineering changes that support GDPR’s new requirements are foundational not only for ourselves, but for all our customers who use our services to store or process consumer information.

Although the U.S. isn’t likely to pass similar regulations under the current administration, GDPR could provide a model for other nations seeking to rein in personal data collection. It will also shed a light on the practices of American companies that do business in Europe.

A strong political current runs through Microsoft’s entire 2018 blog post, which also covers issues like immigration, diversity, net neutrality, and sustainability. It describes 2018 as “a year when democratic governments can either work together to safeguard electoral processes or face a future where democracy is more fragile.”

“In the year ahead, this needs to include work to protect campaigns from hacking, address social media issues, ensure the integrity of voting results, and protect vital census processes,” the post continues. “While technology companies have a high responsibility to help, there is no substitute for the effective and unified voices of democratic governments themselves.”

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Unorthodox Podcast Seeking Experienced Audio Producer

Our dear producer Elissa Goldstein is moving on, and we’re looking for someone to take the reins of Unorthodox. Over the past two years Elissa has helped make our show an unmissable weekly experience for thousands of listeners and helped build a dedicated community of listeners, and we’re hoping to bring someone on board who can help continue our growth and development.

We’re looking for a freelance half-time audio producer who will work closely with the hosts of the show and the existing production team to execute weekly hour-long episodes, as well as several live recordings each year. This is an on-going contract position—while much of the work can be done remotely, you will need to be present at our studio and office in Manhattan one day a week, and be able to travel for live shows out of state three OR four times a year. The producer must have an obsessive eye for detail and an appetite for unique, quirky, thought-provoking stories with a Jewish angle. The producer should also have experience in audio. We’re looking for a collaborative producer who will steer the ship, think about the big picture, and help us produce great content every week. This is a team that has had a lot of fun growing the most successful Jewish-themed podcast in America, and the producer should be excited to make this show even more fun, unexpected, and engaging for our diverse audience.

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Edward Luttwak on Why the Iranian Regime Cannot Last

Ronald Reagan, who outraged the Washington elite and frightened European leaders by flatly refusing coexistence with the Soviet Union, lived to see its sudden decline and fall. There is a fair chance that Donald Trump, who contradicts Barack Obama and Europe’s leaders by refusing coexistence with Iran’s ayatollah empire, will also have the satisfaction of seeing the dissolution of a regime that Obama among many others preferred to accommodate.

Whether or not this past weekend’s mass demonstrations in Iran will spread, whether a second revolution is imminent or not, the numbers for the ayatollah empire just don’t add up. A breakdown is materially inevitable.

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Let Omri Casspi Guide Your New Year’s Resolutions

When Omri Casspi was picked by the Golden State Warriors last year, most Jewish sports fans applauded the move but paid it little mind. True, Casspi is the first Israeli in the NBA, and as such a source of unending pride, but he’d been in the league since 2009 and has slogged on as a capable but unremarkable journeyman in teams like the Sacramento Kings and the New Orleans Pelicans, a respectable benchwarmer but never exactly a household name.

What a difference a year makes.

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2,700-Year-Old Jewish Seal Found in Jerusalem

Earlier this week, Israeli archaeologists revealed a recently discovered 2,700-year-old clay seal impression, unearthed not far from the Western Wall and belonging, according to the inscription, to one of the governors of Jerusalem mentioned in the bible.

About as big as a small coin, the seal carries an inscription in Hebrew that reads “belonging to the governor of the city.” Having studied it, Hebrew University professor Tallay Ornan and Tel Aviv University Professor Benjamin Sass described the image it depicts: “Above a double line are two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner. Their heads are depicted as large dots, lacking any details. The hands facing outward are dropped down, and the hands facing inward are raised. Each of the figures is wearing a striped, knee-length garment.”

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How a Character’s Use of Vocal Control Directs the Narrative of the Film

In another of his truly insightful video essays, host Jack Nugent of the series Now You See It speaks to the immersive technique of vocal control as was regularly utilized by actor John Wayne in most of his roles and particularly with Daniel Day-Lewis‘ sublime performance as Daniel Fairview in the 2007 film There Will Be Blood. Both men in their respective roles, use their voice or its withdrawal to control the narrative, the scene and those around them; diminishing those who seek approval as well as those who rebel against the character’s authoritative nature. Questions are ignored, speech is interrupted, promises are made and then broken. How the characters exert their vocal control most profoundly, however, is in the need to be recognized as the most important voice at all times, the proverbial the voice of God.

Daniel Plainview may have the vocal influence but he’s a conman. In one of his monologues he elegantly talks about the schools he’ll build, the wheat he’ll grow, the importance of family values but the visual shows only men and no schools, irrigation or farmland just people preparing the drilling. His voice of God Authority tricks us even though Plainview constantly talks about bringing wealth to the town there are actually very few signs of him improving the town.

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How Ongoing Competition Between Airlines Affects the Cost of a Flight

In a high-flying episode of his informative series, Wendover Productions explained the science behind the cost of airline flights, the cheapest days to fly, the different codes used in pricing and how the constant competition within the industry has caused airlines to lower their prices, particularly at larger airports.

It’s all about competition. Different routes of the same distance cost different amounts generally not because they cost different amounts to operate, but because of how much the competitors are charging. This is part of why flights into small airports are so expensive—because they lack competition. …In all, the truth is that prices reflect what people will pay and so people will pay what flights are priced.

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A Gorgeous Wooden Sculpture of a Floating Coffee Cup Spilling Out a Rainbow of Colored Pencils

Bobby Duke, a very talented wood carver and artist in Fort Worth, Texas, crafted an amazing floating coffee cup that’s tipped over and spilling a rainbow of colored pencils that lands with a big splash onto its base. The entire sculpture is made of wood, in a process that Duke very generously shares on camera in both long and short form video. Once completed, Duke put the sculpture up for auction on Ebay. It sold for $4,550 and 10% of the proceeds will be going to St. Jude’s Hospital. .

the original “floating cup pencil carving”. It is one of a kind and completely hand made by me, Bobby Duke 🙂 Cup is carved from a solid block of basswood (handle is not glued on) Colored pencils and cup are encased in clear resin. Base is made from unknown wood species (burl). Dimensions are, Height 16.25in Width 4.75in Depth 9.25in. …I will be giving 10% of the proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Hospital

A post shared by Bobby Duke Arts (@bobbydukearts) on

via Colossal

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