WeeklyTech #21

Technology and Democracy

with Josh Wester

As you begin your day, you likely check your email, social media accounts, various app notifications, and even breaking news alerts that came in as you slept. Every morning most of us encounter the onslaught of innovation before we even have our first cup of coffee. We live in an unprecedented time of technological innovation that is often masked by the ubiquity of these digital tools in our lives. And the sheer pace of change can be overwhelming, even for the most technologically savvy among us. It is easy to lament the changes technology has ushered in over the last few decades. Scrolling our social media feeds, we encounter “fake news,” cancel culture, and jeremiads about our fragmenting democracy, all within a few tweets in our timelines. But as with every era of technological innovation, these new tools reveal unforeseen possibilities for human flourishing as well as the possibility of breakdown in society.

Interesting technology stories

Exclusive: Apple to remove vaping apps from storeAxios

Amid growing health concerns over e-cigarettes, Apple will remove all 181 vaping-related apps from its mobile App Store this morning, Axios has learned.

Google’s ‘Project Nightingale’ Gathers Personal Health Data on Millions of AmericansThe Wall Street Journal

Google is engaged with one of the U.S.’s largest health-care systems on a project to collect and crunch the detailed personal-health information of millions of people across 21 states.

Facial recognition surveillance would require warrant under bipartisan billCNET

The bill calls for federal agencies like the FBI and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to obtain a warrant if they want to use facial recognition for ongoing surveillance, like tracking a person’s whereabouts for longer than 72 hours. 

Disney Says Disney Plus Has Over 10 Million Sign-Ups After Launch DayVariety

Touting “extraordinary demand,” Disney announced that Disney Plus had signed up over 10 million users, making the claim one day after launching early on Nov. 12.

Microsoft says it will follow California’s digital privacy law in U.S.Reuters

Microsoft Corp said in a blog post on Monday that it would honor California’s privacy law throughout the United States, expanding the impact of a strict set of rules meant to protect consumers and their data.