March 5, 2014 |
As more of our children's education moves online, there are increased opportunities for abusing the collection of their personal data. Last month, state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) introduced a bill that would help close a loophole in federal regulations - at least in California - in an effort to safeguard personal information of public school students. The potential privacy violations could be significant, and it makes sense for the Legislature to act now. Under the federal Family and Educational Rights Protection Act, schools that receive federal funding are rightly barred from making disclosures about students' education records without permission.
March 2, 2014 |
There is a sense of despair when it comes to privacy in the digital age. Many of us assume that so much of our electronic information is now compromised, whether by corporations or government agencies, that there is little that can be done about it. Sometimes we try to rationalize this by telling ourselves that privacy may no longer matter so much. After all, an upstanding citizen should have nothing to fear from surveillance. In "Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance," author Julia Angwin seeks to challenge that defeatism.
February 21, 2014 |
SAN FRANCISCO -- LinkedIn has added a new privacy control feature that lets you block other users from accessing your profile on the professional networking service. The Mountain View, Calif., company said it created the tool that lets you block spammers and stalkers because “it was the right thing to do.” LinkedIn said the blocking feature was requested by users. In fact, the feature came after a Change.org petition signed by 9,200 people urged the company to put one in place.
February 13, 2014 |
Finally, instead of TMZ, is America saying TMI? Too much information about a celebrity? The NBC news accounts of Philip Seymour Hoffman's “secret diaries” - two volumes found in his apartment - are getting some surprising pushback. The Times' story on the NBC exclusive cites Twitter comments about the diaries - not their contents but NBC's revealing them - as “pretty tacky that anon police are offering news orgs Philip Seymour Hoffman's diary.” And so on: “simply nauseatingly intrusive” and “just despicable.” The Times' story itself attracted a comment in the same vein: “This is a ridiculous invasion of privacy ... he did not shoot up a school, murder his wife ... he killed himself, why do they need to know what's in his diary?
February 6, 2014 |
Just think of it - in a few years, our cars will be able to talk to one another. What'll they be saying? Certainly not the kind of things we humans now say to one another on the road, words that you can't hear in the traffic roar but can't mistake on other drivers' lips. Your car will be talking its own lingo to the cars around you, saying, in Ford-speak, things like “we are changing lanes; please maintain speed and distance” or “the car ahead of us just slammed on its brakes, time to do the same.” When the technology is up and ready, the Obama administration wants all new cars to go “smart.” Cars that can beep out how fast they're going and which way they're going as often as 10 times a second; cars that can chat up stop signs, keep a virtual eye out for cyclists and pedestrians, and tell you to turn on the windshield wipers, dummy.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 30, 2014 |
SACRAMENTO -- Californians routinely use their credit cards to buy songs and videos on the Internet, so a worried state Senate on Thursday approved a measure to protect consumers' information from being misused. Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) proposed SB 383 in response to cases in which hackers have been able to steal the personal financial information of millions of credit card users. Her measure would limit online merchants to collecting personal information from consumers only if it is necessary to combat identity theft.