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privacy

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On Tuesday, a federal judge ordered the tech giant Apple to help the federal government break into an iPhone. The phone in question belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters — making this case a vivid example of the conflict between national security and personal privacy.

“The phone is password protected, and Apple does not keep the passwords,” says David Kaye, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. “The FBI is essentially asking for access to the contents of the phone.”

Remember the cryptex, the little handheld safe from The Da Vinci Code where entering the correct combination will reveal the secret message and entering the wrong one will destroy it?

Now replace the little safe with an iPhone, and instead of a secret message, it's holding evidence in a terrorism case. The critical combination? It's a passcode — one the FBI doesn't know, and one that Apple is reluctant to help the agency figure out.

When CVS Health customers complained to the company about privacy violations, some of the calls and letters made their way to Joseph Fenity. One patient's medication was delivered to his neighbor, revealing he had cancer. Another was upset because a pharmacist had yelled personal information across the counter.

Tiffany Von Arnim via Flickr Creative Commons

The city of Bellevue collects lots of data. The data comes from things like construction permits, 911 calls and business licenses. Today, it announced plans to publish more of that data online. But it’s not without risk for the city.

Flickr Photo/g4ll4is (CC BY SA 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1XFJPoy

Ross Reynolds interviews Alex Alben, Washington state’s chief privacy officer, about a new pamphlet he's issuing today called "Privacy: A Guide for Washington Citizens."  Alben talks about all the information the state has about about you and how it's used.

Michael Mattmiller in one of Seattle's secret data centers. He says data helps government work better, but he's trying to cut back a bit and disseminate a uniform data privacy policy across all city departments.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Somewhere in an office tower in downtown Seattle is a floor filled with data servers. Some of that data is about you. You might show up in a traffic camera video. Your personal information might show up in a utility bill.

Seattle collects a lot of such data. But data can be hacked and information can be misused. That’s why the city’s rethinking how and when it collects your personal data.

Cybercrime is costing the global economy nearly half a trillion dollars a year, according to the insurer Allianz. It's a major threat to businesses, which are looking for ways to protect themselves. One option is cybercrime insurance.

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.

A Washington Post analysis of data provided by Edward Snowden has revealed that nine out of 10 communications intercepted by the National Security Agency were from ordinary Internet users, not legally targeted foreigners. But the examination also showed that officials gleaned valuable intelligence from the wide net the agency cast.

The encryption code unlocked by the Heartbleed bug last week provided vital security for some of the most widely used websites on the Internet. Fortune 1000 companies rely on the open source code for their core business. But it turns out no one is paying for it.

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.

fingerprint
Flickr Photo/CPOA

Ross Reynolds talks with University of Washington law professor Anita Ramasastry about the concerns behind using biometric technology in schools, like using fingerprints to identify students.

Google, The Government And You

Nov 15, 2013
Official Google Blog

Ross Reynolds talks with Electronic Frontier Foundation staff attorney Nate Cardozo about Google's recent publication of transparency papers that show which governments want to know more about your search history.

UW Students Learn To Hack For Your Safety

Nov 14, 2013
Flickr Photo/Alexandre Dulaunoy

What do kids who play capture the flag on summer breaks do when they grow up and go to college? Turns out, the same thing – only the game evolves to computer security and privacy puzzles in a trend that’s being called “ethical hacking.”

Flickr Photo/Chris Hardie

Steve Scher talks with Washington Representative Susan DelBene about USA Freedom Act which could limit the NSA's ability to collect data in the US.

Flickr Photo/James Joel

The continuing drip of revelations about NSA spying continues to provoke outrage around the world.  Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer Jill Lepore puts that outrage in historical context. She tells The Record's David Hyde that the modern concept of a right to privacy is a relatively new concept. And Lepore says the assertion of privacy rights always follows the rise of new technologies that have already invaded our privacy.

Should Parents Post Baby Pics Online?

Sep 11, 2013
Michael Clinard

We’ve all seen them: cute baby pictures in our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter feeds. For many parents, it’s hard to resist the temptation to share just how adorable their kid looks in their first rain boots or winter hat. But some are saying parents should pause before hitting that "share" button. Marcie Sillman talks with Amy Webb about why she doesn’t post anything about her daughter online.

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