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2 Easy Steps to Improve Privacy Policies

August 26, 2015 The end of last week saw one of those tech stories that runs the cycle—from Twitter outrage to corporate chagrin—in less than 48 hours. Here’s what happened: On Thursday, a major tech company (in this case, Spotify) debuted a new privacy policy. The policy permitted the software to access more...

Do Police Need a Warrant to See Where a Phone Is?

August 10, 2015 Right now, many Americans generate a detailed database of their whereabouts over time—as they move throughout the day from their workplace to their doctor, from their own house to their partner’s—that they do not see or control. It’s called “cell-site location information,” or CSLI, and it can be accessed by...

Body-Camera Footage Gets an Officer Indicted for Murder in Cincinnati

July 29, 2015 On July 19, 2015, a 43-year-old Cincinnati man named Samuel DuBose was pulled over by a University of Cincinnati police officer, Ray Tensing. Tensing was white. Dubose was black. His car was stopped for missing its front license plate. Minutes later, Tensing shot DuBose in the head, killing him. What...

Hiring: The First Librarian of Congress for the Internet Age

June 21, 2015 In a month or six, the United States will get its first new Librarian of Congress in nearly three decades. The current librarian, James Billington, has held the title since his appointment by President Reagan in 1987. Though named by the president and confirmed by the Senate, the Librarian doesn’t...

Elon Musk Is Building a Hyperloop Test Track in California

June 15, 2015 Nearly two years ago, Elon Musk unveiled a blueprint for the Hyperloop: a fantastical, futuristic train that would link San Francisco and Los Angeles by means, essentially, of a giant tube. If the system worked, he said, four or five riders could whisk along the 350-mile long track in half...

from govexec

The Best Pages on Some Campaign Websites are the Ones That Are Not There

May 27, 2015 The only unimpeachably good things to emerge from the 2016 presidential election so far have been the 404 pages of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I’ll back that up, but some context first: When a visitor follows a broken link, or a server can’t find a certain webpage, that server...

Long-Range Iris Scanning Is Here

May 13, 2015 An officer pulls someone over on the side of the highway. The cop sits in the car a moment, runs the plates—they’re fine—and gets out of the car. As he or she approach the driver’s side window, the driver pulls out a gun, shoots the officer, and flees. This is...

ACLU App Gives Citizens Some Backup Tech Support

May 6, 2015 Last month, video footage emerged that appeared to show something illegal: A U.S. marshal approached a woman who was filming him on duty, snatched her smartphone, and smashed it on the ground. That incident only became news because someone else was filming the encounter. But not every bystander filming a...

The Internet Mapmakers Helping Nepal

May 4, 2015 The night after the earthquake hit Nepal, people feared to sleep in their homes, worrying about powerful aftershocks toppling the few buildings left standing. They slept instead in tents, in the street or in city parks. Meanwhile, it rained and rained. The storm soaked people’s possessions and chilled those without...

The Big Money in Police Body Cameras

May 1, 2015 Body cameras are a tool of citizen surveillance and of public accountability. They’re endorsed by police reformists and police chiefs, and, above all, by the White House, which has pledged $75 million toward nationwide adoption of police-worn cameras. But they’re something else, too: a business. And, on Thursday, we got...