WeeklyTech #40

Should we really expect privacy in our digital age?

From the smart doorbells that guard our homes to the millions of images that we post on social media to our phones, which never leave our side, tracking us in real time, we live in a world, mostly of our own choosing, where privacy is becoming more passe. Real-time tracking on our phones helps us to know exactly where our spouse is at any given moment and trackers keep up with teenage children as they drive off for the first time on their own. It seems we are blissfully living inside of George Orwell’s 1984 novel, but is it possible to have any sense of real privacy in a society that is increasingly connected to sophisticated artificially intelligent (AI) systems?

And yet there is a renewed interest among Americans about the nature of digital privacy. Legislators in California passed sweepig legislation called The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) modeled on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enacted a few years ago by the European Union. While Congress continues to debate federal privacy legislation, our friends and neighbors are growing increasingly wary of emerging technologies and what they might mean for our own personal privacy and that of our family.

Often these conversations revolve around a sense of personal autonomy etched in our minds by Western philosophies or just a deep sense that we don’t want people knowing all of our business. In authoritarian states like China, citizens have very little hidden from the watchful eye of the Communist Party. Is this where we are inevitably headed in the United States?

The Rundown

Zoom Is Easy. That’s Why It’s Dangerous.The New York Times

The technology we love is easy to use. Most of the time, this is good. But as the security concerns swirling around Zoom show, there’s a dark side to making it easy to buy, share and use.

Facebook’s new ‘Quiet Mode’ option lets you turn off the app’s push notificationsTech Crunch

Facebook  today is launching a new feature called “Quiet Mode” that will allow you to minimize distractions by muting the app’s push notifications for a time frame you specify.

Facebook launches accessibility and creator tools to make live-streaming available to more peopleThe Verge

COVID-19 and its resulting social distancing measures have inspired lots of people to live stream, so Facebook says it’s going to launch various features over the next couple weeks to make Facebook Live more accessible.

How Facebook and Google are helping the CDC forecast coronavirusMIT Technology Review

One of the nation’s best flu-forecasting labs, tapped by the CDC to help predict the pandemic, is relying on the tech giants for some of their most important data.

Kushner’s team seeks national coronavirus surveillance systemPolitico

The proposed national network could help determine which areas of the country can safely relax social-distancing rules and which should remain vigilant.