January 3rd, 2024

This site typically focuses on privacy as it pertains to (or how it is undermined by) our phones, tablets, and home computers. Devices, some of which are small enough to fit your pocket. But an alarming article in the New York Times points out the threat to privacy by another—much bigger—device: our cars. We’ve written about this before, but given how much time we spend in cars and…... Continue reading >

December 13th, 2023

Lots of scams this time of year, lots of opportunities to make a quick slip and hand personal information to the wrong folks. Yes, the Grinch is on the prowl, and with all the online shopping we’re compelled to do during the holiday season—all the sites we visit, deals we chase, ads we click—it’s easy to become a victim. That’s the bad news. The good news is there are simple steps you can take to stay…... Continue reading >

November 29th, 2023

Seeing may not be believing any longer. AI-generated photos are quickly blurring the line between real or fake. Finding that line—and knowing what or who to trust—is more difficult than ever. The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) has brought about a revolution in the field of photography. AI-powered tools can now generate realistic images, alter existing photos, and even create deepfakes – videos that convincingly replace one person’s face with another’s. While these…... Continue reading >

November 15th, 2023

Have you ever been doxxed? Is someone out there doxxing a friend now? It’s in the news again, which means now is as good a time as any to remind ourselves just what it is, how it works, and how harmful the practice can be. Doxxing is the act of publicly revealing private or identifying information about someone, typically online. (The term comes from “dropping documents.”) This information can include a person’s real…... Continue reading >

October 24th, 2023

Increasing numbers of people are questioning whether significant use of Facebook and Instagram is good for our kids. Well, not just question. Nearly all the states—41 of them plus the Washington, D.C., to be precise—are suing Facebook and Instagram parent Meta, accusing the tech giant of deliberately using addictive features in its social media platforms. “Our bipartisan investigation has arrived at a solemn conclusion: Meta has been harming our children and teens, cultivating addiction…... Continue reading >

October 17th, 2023

What happens to the images you post online? They’re stored on a server that somebody else owns, their content mined for any data that can be monetized. That data includes the faces in the image. So think about what happens when you post a photo of your kids. Their faces get stored, identified, tagged, analyzed, and used to perfect facial recognition technology. That’s all valuable data for tech firms over which you have little, if any, control….... Continue reading >

October 4th, 2023

It seems, finally, like we’re starting to value our digital privacy and to take steps to protect it. We have a long way to go, and anything resembling a solution is far off in the distance, but it would be a mistake not to acknowledge the real progress made in recent years. Let’s not celebrate prematurely, but let’s recognize that norms are shifting. Digital privacy is no longer a fringe concern. It’s inching toward the mainstream, which…... Continue reading >

September 22nd, 2023

New cars may run on gas or electricity, but the car industry runs on data. Your data. For the last century, cars have played a variety of roles in our lives. More than just a machine carrying us from here to there, they reflect our identity. They signify our status. They symbolize opportunity, escape, and hope. And now, improbably, after having offered the freedom of the open road to generations of drivers, they’ve…... Continue reading >

September 13th, 2023

It’s become a staple of our social media feeds: the back-to-school photo. Often the kids in the pictures—smiling on a front step, full of excitement—are holding a sign showing their name, grade, and school. It’s a milestone moment, worthy of a photo, and invariably sweet. Posting these pics is understandable, but it’s also risky. In an age of mass data-collection and tracking (and less often but more alarming, cyber-stalking), these posts offer up…... Continue reading >

July 19th, 2023

Threads, the new Twitter-like social media app from the makers of Instagram, racked up 100 million users within five days of launching. Obviously, it’s popular (though engagement is waning). But it’s also worrisome, as it presents new concerns about privacy and safety and appears to be “gobbling data.” Produced by Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, Threads allows users to connect with the people on their Instagram “close friends” list. You can post messages,…... Continue reading >