Is Your TV Listening to You?

Is Your TV Listening to You?

I’ve seen a bunch of stories on the wording of Samsung’s privacy statement for their SmartTV. Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition — from Samsung’s SmartTV Privacy Policy Sure, that’s awfully creepy sounding.   Many people have made the...

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Vaccines — Personal Belief vs. Religious Exemptions

Vaccines — Personal Belief vs. Religious Exemptions

First things first — there should be no exemptions. As far as I’m concerned, if you don’t vaccinate your child you are guilty of child abuse and neglect(unless there is a medical reason not to do so). The government retains an important role in enforcing laws requiring vaccinations.  A state law like Mississippi’s (yes, that Mississippi) with only medical exemptions ensures that nearly all kids are vaccinated. But in the...

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Popular US Baby Names — BabyCenter versus Social Security Administration

Popular US Baby Names — BabyCenter versus Social Security Administration

I was listening to the latest episode of Slate’s “Mom and Dad Are Fighting” parenting podcast and one of the topics was baby names.  The guests was BabyCenter executive editor Janet Ozzard, who talked about the most popular baby names of 2014.  BabyCenter collects its information on baby names from those that have given their baby’s name to the site, which for 2014 included somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 names.   I thought it...

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Drones for Law Enforcement — but with what privacy and fourth amendment protections?

Drones for Law Enforcement — but with what privacy and fourth amendment protections?

Ars Technica reported yesterday on the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) acquisition of two drones.  Of course, use of drones still needs approval from the FAA.   According to the ACSO, “The reason for specifically acquiring this is search and rescue.”  However, according to the ACSO General Order supporting the drone use, search and rescue is the 4th out of 10 uses.   These includes two that are very broad —...

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Cool TED Talk on using surveillance to reveal government atrocities

Cool TED Talk on using surveillance to reveal government atrocities

Here’s a very cool TED talk on human rights activists turning surveillance on its head — using  tiny hidden cameras to document atrocities for the world to see, and for the oppressors to know that the world sees their actions.  It’s by Oren Yakobovich, head of the human rights organization Videre. We should remember that in the US, we should have the right (except under very limited circumstances) to film or photograph...

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Criticism from the Police used to stifle dissent

The latest major example of the police or government “expressing their opinion” in a way that stifles dissent happened after Sunday’s St. Louis Rams/Oakland Raiders football game. Five Rams players (Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens and Kenny Britt) entered the stadium in the now classic “hands up/don’t shoot” position, as many protestors are doing.  Following this, the St. Louis police...

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Non-profit micro-volunteering

Non-profit micro-volunteering

Huffington Post has a short article on how to recruit non-profit board members who are concerned about the amount of time that it takes to be on a board.  Most of their suggestions are really ideas about how to run an efficient board (and letting potential board members that you do so). However, sometimes being a board member isn’t the best use of time.  More and more I’m trying to think of “micro-volunteering”...

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