Civicist: Hearing on Algorithmic Transparency Reveals Rift in NYC Tech Community

In a packed room at City Hall on Monday, Council Member James Vacca heard testimony from city officials, technologists, and civil rights advocates on his proposed legislation for transparency in the use of algorithms for city services. Vacca said that the legislation is, to the best of his knowledge, the first of its kind in the United States. Although most of the testimony was in favor of the proposed legislation, the hearing revealed a schism between the tech community as represented by the trade nonprofit Tech.NYC—whose dozens of members include giants like Facebook and Google, as well as smaller companies like Meetup and Civic Hall—and the technologists who testified as individuals. Read more…

Civicist: A Sanctuary City for Data Privacy?

The New York City government is looking into ways to enforce stricter data privacy laws in the mold of the recently-scrapped FCC rules governing how internet service providers collect, store, and sell user information. The move sets New York City up to become a sanctuary for citizens looking for a little more privacy online. To start, the city has announced a new privacy policy for the free, public wi-fi kiosks that dot the city, one that clearly states that browsing history will not be stored or sold. Read more…

The L Magazine: Going Guerilla With the Founder of Williamsburg’s Street Museum of Art

Yet another museum has arrived in Brooklyn, only this one claims to be unlike all those that came before. The Street Museum of Art (SMoA) is completely free, open at all hours and publicly curated (one might say crowdsourced). If you live or work in Williamsburg you might already have stumbled across some of the exhibition, which launched 6 weeks ago, although parts of it have already been dismantled and replaced because the streets don’t have security guards. SMoA’s online description has the intriguing words “guerrilla” and “illegally” in the online description, so of course we had to find out more.

The Founder and Director agreed to an interview but only via email in order to safeguard his or her anonymity. Read more…

Brooklyn Magazine: Parrots And Guide: One Of The Last Unadulterated Quirks of Brooklyn?

In the 1970s a group of Argentinian exiles escaped captivity at JFK airport. They settled down in Brooklyn, built homes from scratch and started families. I speak, of course, of the elusive Wild Quaker Parrots, also known as the Monk Parrot.

Once a month, Steve Baldwin leads a group of bird-watchers and curiosity-seekers on a Wild Quaker Parrot Safari near Brooklyn College. I joined him on his most recent expedition, and the parrots were a riot—the guide even more so. Read more…