Archives for privacy

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 2/7/19

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Facial Recognition Update 2019

“Imagine a government tracking everywhere you walked over the past month without your permission or knowledge. Imagine a database of everyone who attended a political rally that constitutes the very essence of free speech…” Words of some tin-hat wearing technophobe? Nope, the words of Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, talking about the potential of uncontrolled use of facial recognition technology, a technology whose uses he and many others feel requires government oversight. Here’s why.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 9/7/17

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Though the bluster that passes for governing these days is dominating our airwaves and news outlets, there is a very important law that no one is talking about that will sunset at the end of 2017 if not specifically renewed. Whether it should be renewed at all, or changed and renewed is an important issue for all Americans, and one that strangely seems to be buried. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is, in the minds of those who care about civil liberties, every bit as important as the budget or health care or a wall on the Mexican border. Yet we hear almost nothing about it. Here’s a start of a discussion. For background information, check

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 6/8/17

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Google users know that Google tracks what they do online across computers, smartphones, personal assistants, etc. Now Google has unveiled a new plan called Google Attribution which will follow users offline right into brick and mortar stores to track individual’s purchases through their credit card receipts so that advertisers can tell that their Google advertising works. What could possibly go wrong?

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 3/2/17

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Some estimates suggest that there could be 50 billion connected devices in the world by 2020 making up a huge web that many refer to as the Internet of Things (IoT). From interconnected devices in our cars to our homes to our children’s toys and beyond, we humans are going to be interacting regularly with often artificially intelligent sensors and electronic devices. Are we ready to handle them all? A recent report from the Community Computing Consortium raises some pretty important questions. If you’d like to see the whole report yourself, take a look at

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 6/2/16

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Former Attorney General Eric Holder recently said that he thought Edward Snowden had done a public service for Americans and generated a conversation that we needed to have about privacy and security. A recent vote in the Senate Intelligence Committee that would allow the FBI to gain access to information about our emails without a court order, and a new patent for a police cruiser light bar that would include facial recognition capability might make us wonder where that conversation is ending up.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 5/19/16

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Over 200 years ago, the philosopher Jeremy Bentham proposed a prison model called a Panopticon based on the belief that people change their behavior when they think they may are being watched. Recently, the National Telecommunications Information Administration has confirmed that people are behaving differently online today based on fears about privacy and security. That could be bad news for both our civic and our economic health in the US. To read about the report, go to To listen, click right here.