privacy

technology computer keyboard
Flicker Photo/Leslee Lazar (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Here in the internet age we might wonder, are democratic ideals and technological innovations compatible?

Most of us leave a wide digital trail in the wake of our day to day activities. Organizations and governmental agencies have a keen interest in following where that trail leads.

This episode of Speakers Forum explores how surveillance and newly-emerging technologies affect our civil liberties and shape our lives.

Michael Fertik at the 2011 World Economic Forum
Flickr Photo/World Economic Forum (CC BY NC SA 2.0)

For centuries great thinkers have tried to make sense of how to judge human character. Socrates, for instance, famously said, “The way to a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” The internet age throws a wicked curve ball at that seemingly simple advice.

Our speaker this week seeks to shed some light on the complex reality of the modern reputation. He compares our society to the early days of primitive humans, when everyone knew everyone else’s stories and secrets, and people lived and died according to their community standing.

Compost trash
Flickr Photo/Jason Tester Guerilla Futures (CC BY ND 2.0)

Ross Reynolds speaks with Brian Hodges, an attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation. Hodges is suing the city of Seattle on behalf of eight Seattle residents who say inspection of their garbage to enforce food waste laws is an invasion of their privacy.

This undated handout photo provided by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office shows the StingRay II, manufactured by Harris Corporation, of Melbourne, Fla., a cellular site simulator used for surveillance purposes.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Ross Reynolds speaks with Nate Wessler, staff attorney with the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, about how a new law on the books in Washington will protect residents from a powerful surveillance devices known as Stingrays.

Author Bruce Schneier.
Flickr Photo/Berkman Center for Internet & Society (CC-BY-NC-ND)

We live in a brave new digital world, and there’s much to appreciate about that. It’s efficient. It’s fun. It’s convenient. But what are we giving up when corporations and governments follow our whereabouts, buying habits, interests and orientations? What privacies do we trade away for the convenience of having a phone, a computer and a credit card?

Bruce Schneier is a cryptographer, privacy specialist and the author of “Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World.”

He spoke about his book and his views on what he calls “the golden age of surveillance” at Town Hall Seattle on March 9. Thanks to Anna Tatistcheff for our recording. 

Sometimes it's a vengeful ex-lover; sometimes a thief or a hacker is behind it. Either way, explicit, private photos of people keep getting out on the Internet.

The Washington governor's office unveiled draft rules for government use of drones Monday. It would replace legislation that Democrat Jay Inslee vetoed earlier this year.

Ross Reynolds talks to Christopher Soghoian, privacy expert for the ACLU, about a 2007 case where the FBI created a fake news link and sent it to a student they suspected was calling in bomb threats to Timberline High School. The link planted malware on the suspect's computer that the FBI was able to use to track and convict the teen.    

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated which news outlet the FBI used to bait the student suspected of making bomb threats. It was The Associated Press, not The Seattle Times as the guest noted in the radio interview.

Flickr Photo/Adam Fagen (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Jeannie Yandel talks with UCLA law professor Adam Winkler, author of, "Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right To Bear Arms in America," about privacy concerns with background check bills. Also, we hear from Alan Gottlieb with Protect Our Gun Rights.

Marcie Sillman talks with Tacoma News Tribune reporter Kate Martin about a surveillance device being used by the Tacoma Police Department that sweeps up meta data from cell phones.

Editor's Note: A very serious bug with a scary name, Heartbleed, was discovered and disclosed this week. The bug affects OpenSSL, a popular cryptographic library that is used to secure a huge chunk of the Internet's traffic. Even if you have never heard of OpenSSL, chances are, it's helped secure your data in some way.

smart phone texting app
Flickr Photo/AdamFagen (CC BY-NC-ND)

Marcie Sillman talks with Hanni Fakhoury, attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, about the recent Washington Supreme Court ruling on privacy rights. The Court found that text messages are considered private, and police need a warrant before they read them.

Seattle police patrol cars.
Flickr Photo/Brittney Bollay (CC BY-NC-ND)

Ross Reynolds talks with Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell about a proposal that would allow the Seattle Police Department to use facial recognition software to identify suspects from security footage.

Life After Blowing The Whistle On The NSA

Feb 6, 2014
Flickr Photo/Project On Government Oversight

Steve Scher talks with former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake about his experience before, during and after blowing the whistle on fraud and abuse in the United States government.

Marcie Sillman talks with Randy Barnett, Georgetown University constitutional law expert, about what promises to be a long legal battle over NSA surveillance.

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