December 24th, 2019

Sobering words from the New York Times on tracking you: “Now, as the decade ends, tens of millions of Americans, including many children, find themselves carrying spies in their pockets during the day and leaving them beside their beds at night — even though the corporations that control their data are far less accountable than the government would be.” If that doesn’t get you thinking about opting out, it should.

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December 18th, 2019

Privacy Parent’s founder has taken to the radio recently to emphasize the importance of protecting your family’s digital privacy and security. “Information is power,” he told WKIP’s Uncle Mike. “And once you can collect information and create profiles of people, it’s easy to serve them ads, manipulate them, whatever it might be.” Click here to listen to that interview and here for a conversation with Tom Sipos, host of Hudson Valley Focus. “We’re the Guinea Pig Generation with these devices.”

December 5th, 2019

Private companies are tracking your every online move and using that data to rate your behavior as a consumer. It’s valuable information, and it’s now available for you to see. As explained in this recent piece in the New York Times, you can request your file—the records that determine your secret consumer score—and find out just what these companies know about you. Fair warning: They know a lot. And if you want to try to shake some of the trackers, here’s one of our articles about how to get started.

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November 13th, 2019

Instagram is experimenting with likes—specifically, it’s testing what happens when it switches off public “like” tallies. Other tech companies, Twitter and Facebook among them, are launching similar assessments. According to Axios: “Responding to public clamor and media criticism, social media companies are trying to move away from engagement at all costs and towards a healthier experience. That means they’re also stepping into a more unpredictable future for their own bottom lines and those of businesses that depend on them.”

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October 2nd, 2019

Microsoft recently revealed a new security flaw in its Internet Explorer. Some say it’s high time to ditch the browser altogether in favor of more secure options. In a statement, the company warns, “An attacker who successfully exploited the vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user.” Mashable’s Jack Morse writes, “Sure, there’s a wonky fix available, but you have to do it manually. . . So go ahead and delete that relic from your forgotten past.” No matter which browser you use, always look for secure sites.

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March 18th, 2019

Lexie Kite, PhD, explains in detail the pitfalls of letting girls on Instagram. While this article on BeautyRedefined.org focuses on middle school and high school aged girls, it also demonstrates how it can be bad for boys as well. The inherent message in Instagram is that your value resides in your appearance. For developing brains who are creating their identities, this is a dangerous paradigm and when Dr. Kite writes “Save Your Girls from Instagram,” it’s not an exaggerated headline. The article also shows how social media apps and their endless scroll take a toll on our lives.  

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March 20th, 2019

This One Zero article on Medium explores a new math game, Prodigy, that bills itself as both an education and fun. The creators see themselves as competing with Fortnite, and teachers and parents like that it teaches the children math. Gamifying education isn’t a new idea, think Oregon Trail or Carmen Sandiego, but having hidden purchases available is. Jeff Wise explores this idea in his article, “The Ethically Questionable Math Game Taking Over U.S. Schools.”

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September 6th, 2018

Professor Zeynep Tufekci has been talking to the tech world about the dangers of data collection since 2012. Six years later, everybody else is finally starting to listen. She has received a lot more attention since the news broke about Facebook and Google’s data collection in Spring of 2018. The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interview with her (behind a paywall). And on Vox, she recommends three books on how technology shapes us. (At the bottom of that article is a link to Ezra Klein’s interview with her on his podcast.) The podcast goes into the weeds on this topic, but also gives a solid background into what companies have been doing for years in terms of collecting users data. Tufekci has also given a few TED talks about this topic, and they are well worth watching. She also writes about all of this for the New York Times.

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