Archives for privacy

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 7/9/15

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Humans are very good at identifying human faces. These days, computers are just as good, or even better, even when the person isn’t facing a camera. Most of us have a photo of ourselves somewhere on the web, even if we didn’t put it there ourselves. Facial recognition software can compare a picture taken in a store or gas station or even on the street with photos taken from the web and all the sudden our online and offline lives come together for retailers, marketers, and government agencies. For over a year, trade associations and privacy advocates have been meeting to try to come up with a voluntary set of guidelines for using facial recognition technology. Recently all nine privacy advocate organizations walked out of those meetings. Here’s why.

WERU News Report 2/27/13

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

“An Act To Protect the Privacy of Citizens from Domestic Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Use,” (LD236) sponsored by Senator John Patrick, was discussed yesterday at a public hearing before the judiciary committee in Augusta. And before you think domestic drones a thing of the future, you should know that Shenna Bellows of the Maine ACLU was able to bring a few of them with her for “show and tell”

Today we hear testimony from Shenna Bellows, Executive Director of the ACLU of Maine, and Bruce Gagnon of Maine Veteran’s for Peace, as well as questions from the committee members.

Viking Unmanned Aerial Systems, based in Maine:

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 11/1/12

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

As we clean up in the physical world from Hurricane Sandy, let’s do a little clean up in the digital world as well by looking at some recent developments in research on smart meter privacy hazards, and on Amazon’s occasional forays into removing stuff from your Kindle that you bought and paid for.

And if you’d like to find out how to avoid having Amazon “repossess” books you have bought, you may want to take a look at

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 7/16/12

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Cell phones and smart phones are terrifically convenient but they also contain a lot of information about where we’ve been, where we are now, and, maybe, where we’ll be in the future. Lots of people would like to grab that information, and lots of it is being grabbed right now.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 4/12/12

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

We’ve been following the deployment of so-called smart meters which, as has been pointed out, are not particularly secure, giving rise to privacy concerns for consumers. Now there is a problem for the utilities themselves according to this report about an FBI document: hacking of smart meters to steal electricity.

There are lots of free college courses available online. Here are some sites where you can find out more:

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 3/14/12

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

Interested in keeping yourself to yourself as you move around the web? There are tools to help you do that. Listen up and take a look at:

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 3/8/12

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

It seems as if lots of the media as well as lots of politicians are upset over the privacy policies of Google, Facebook, and other commercial web companies, and with good reason. But users have a choice about what company’s services to use. There is no choice about government so it behooves us to keep up on current and future government use of technologies
that affect out personal privacy that most politicians don’t seem to want to talk about. Here are a few.

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 12/14/11

In this edition, we update a couple of topics we’ve looked at recently – the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), an alternative to SOPA which troubles many in this country and aboard; and a reminder that our privacy laws are reducing the competitiveness of U.S. companies trying to do business in countries worried about ubiquitous U.S. surveillance of personal information.

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell