Archives for privacy

Notes from the Electronic Cottage 8/6/15

Producer/Host: Jim Campbell

As more and more things that we use every day, from cars to health bracelets, get connected to the Internet, and as personal information gets aggregated and stored in large centralized databases, the odds keep going up and up that one of these days, our personal information is going to get hacked. Here are some recent indications.

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.

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 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 3/8/12

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