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This Software Won't Let You Look Away

August 20, 2013 It's hard to imagine a creepier educational technology than "FocusAssist," a new feature announced by online training company Mindflash last week. Designed to be used in corporate training courses on iPad, FocusAssist, according to Businessweek: uses the tablet's camera to track a user's eye movements. When it senses that you've...

It Now Appears Possible to Hack a (Fancy, Japanese) Toilet

August 6, 2013 O, woe! Beware, you prophets! Beware, you men of ideas, aloft in metropolitan skyscrapers, believing yourself apart, aloof, immune! There are invaders in your home, invaders on your tail, invaders in the last place you would think to look. For, yesterday, we learned that toilets can be hacked. The information...

We're close to strengthening the privacy of your cell phone's location! (But only in California.)

August 27, 2012 On Wednesday, an American legislature took the most affirmative step so far to limit cell-phone location tracking by law enforcement. The California Location Privacy Act, passed with bipartisan support by the state's Assembly, could protect the location data created by citizens' cell phones, tablets and computers. Under current law, police...

Nine concrete, specific things we actually know about how social media shape elections

August 23, 2012 Nearly a quarter of American time spent on the Internet is spent on Facebook. 15 percent of online Americans tweet. Two-thirds of Americans use a social network. And there's an election in November. Opinions about the Internet's potential effects on politics range from the thoughtlessly utopian to the haughtily dour....

Finally, a new bill requires police get a judge's approval before they see your texts or location

August 15, 2012 A month ago, we learned that more (and maybe many, many more) than 1.3 million people's cell phone data were handed over to US law enforcement agencies in 2011 alone. Text messages, caller locations, and records of who called whom and for how long had all been shared without a...

In past four years, universities began preserving the web

July 6, 2012 To paraphrase the Chief Justice, every day, objects cannot be in an infinite number of places -- precious, historic objects especially. So traditionally, when it came time for an author's notebooks or collected letters to be preserved, archives and special collections had to fight (and pay) for the right to...