If you use the Internet or carry a smartphone  and let's face it, that's almost everyone who's not off the grid  you probably already know that companies are tracking our movements. Apps track where we shop, the items we search for, and where we like to travel. Companies are gathering as much data as they can, in large part to come up with more effective ads to sell us more stuff, or in the case of the government, to track suspicious activity.

School spokespeople often help a district in crisis. But they can also obscure facts just to avoid legal risk, and make it harder to sort out truth from spin, possibly interfering with the public's right to know.

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The Iranian government has criticized the decision by a U.S. court to sentence an engineer with dual citizenship to more than eight years in prison for trying to send sensitive military documents to Iran. 

Hackers have stolen the personal information of about 15 million T-Mobile customers and potential customers in the U.S., including Social Security numbers, dates of birth and home addresses.

Experian says it notified law enforcement as soon as it discovered the breach, NPR's Laura Sydell reports:

She also says:

U.S. Intelligence Dabbles in Forecasting the Future

Sep 29, 2015
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The participants are average citizens: school teachers, waiters, pharmacists, perhaps even your neighbor. By day they work and pay their bills, but when they return home, things change. These elite individuals go to work forecasting the outcomes of global events (sometimes years into the future), all at the direction of a little-known government intelligence agency called IARPA.

While this all sounds ripped from the latest Hollywood thriller, the truth is that this is happening right now in America. The "superforecasters," as they are known, are all volunteers. They are Americans like you and me who signed up to take part in a long-running experiment put together by U.S. intelligence officials and several university professors.

A group of hackers, who calls itself the Impact Team, purportedly released a huge trove of data that appears to contain the account details of more than 30 million users of a website that helps married people cheat on their spouses.

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State officials are urging federal lawmakers to reconsider several bills aimed at improving cybersecurity.

Can Big Data and Privacy Coexist?

Jul 13, 2015
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"Big Data" describes vast data sets that, when analyzed by algorithms, may reveal patterns, associations, and trends. In particular, these findings relate to human behavior and interactions.

Cara Paiuk

A piece written for The New York Times by a mother in West Hartford has gone viral. The article in the Motherlode blog is called, “A Kindergarten Form Asks: Vaginal Birth, or C-section. Why?

The U.S. ambassador to France has been summoned to the French Foreign Ministry to answer new claims that the NSA monitored the communications of three sitting French presidents and their top staff.

Those said to be targeted include President Francois Hollande, who is holding an emergency meeting today with top French lawmakers.

From Paris, NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports:

More than 3,400 people are now under quarantine in South Korea's fight to contain an outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome — a deadly virus that can cause severe pneumonia and organ failure.

So far, South Korea has reported 122 MERS cases. And the government is actively tracking the whereabouts of people possibly exposed to the virus.

Chung-ahm is a Buddhist monk who's quarantined in the Jangduk village in southern South Korea.

The Senate has approved the USA Freedom Act, which will alter the way U.S. agencies conduct surveillance and gather data. A final vote on the bill came late Tuesday afternoon, after amendments to the bill failed.

Update at 9:30 p.m. ET: Obama's Signature

Following an expedited enrollment process, President Obama signed the bill into law late Tuesday.

(This post was last updated at 11:09 p.m. ET.)

It was a dramatic day on the floor of the United States Senate on Sunday. Unable to overcome parliamentary maneuvers by Sen. Rand Paul, the body adjourned and let three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act expire at midnight.

Trying to beat a midnight deadline during a rare Sunday session, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to fast track a House bill that would overhaul the government's bulk collection of Americans' phone records.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

Emails released Friday by the State Department appear to confirm Hillary Clinton's assertion that she received no classified information on her personal email account while she served as secretary of state. Still, some of the emails were classified at the FBI's request after the fact — something the White House says is not uncommon.

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The state legislature has approved a bill aiming to protect the online privacy of employees and job applicants, but state analysts expect the law to impact fewer than ten people per year.

The National Security Agency's practice of collecting data about Americans' telephone calls in bulk goes beyond what Congress intended when it wrote Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday.

The three-judge panel was asked to consider whether the program violated the Constitution. Instead, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel punted on the constitutional claim, deciding the program was simply not authorized by federal law.

The unrest in Baltimore and other cities regarding alleged police misconduct has prompted new calls for law enforcement officers to wear body cameras. Such recordings could provide accountability and transparency in potentially controversial circumstances.

At least, that's the idea.

Nearly a million people will line the streets to watch the Boston Marathon on Monday, and someone else will be watching them. Bill Ridge with the Boston Police says video surveillance is a big part of the security plan.

"We've got a lot of cameras out there," he says. "We're going to be watching the portions in Boston — particularly the routes along Boylston Street, the finish line."

Mara Lavitt / WNPR

The data breach that affected Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in February affected more than a million and a half current and past Connecticut members. Most recently, Anthem announced they’ll be sending letters to those whose data was possibly leaked, offering them two years of free credit monitoring. We'll get an update. 

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Tax time appears to be revealing an uptick in identity theft -- and it may be related to some of the massive data breaches seen this year, including the one from health insurer Anthem. 

Almost a third of Americans have taken steps to hide or shield their information online since Edward Snowden publicized National Security Agency surveillance practices.

But as a country, we're deeply divided — nearly 50-50 — over whether to be concerned about massive government surveillance. And while there are signs that privacy is a partisan issue, it's not partisan in the way you might think.

All that is according to the latest privacy study by the Pew Research Center.

More than 4,000 people availed of the government's employment-verification system using Social Security numbers belonging to people over the age of 112. Trouble is fewer than 40 people are known to have reached that age. That's one of the revelations from a review by the watchdog for the Social Security Administration.

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Should employers be able to get access to a worker's personal email or their social media account? That's the question at the center of a legislative proposal being discussed in Hartford, which begs the bigger question: do any employers actually do this? 

The bill would make it illegal for employers to force workers or job applicants to share passwords to their personal online accounts

Responding to concerns over her use of a personal email account to conduct official business while in office, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she wants the public to have access to her emails. The State Department says it will review messages for possible release.

The issue rose to importance earlier this week, after it was revealed that during her entire tenure at the State Department, Clinton used a personal email account — a move that had kept the emails out of the government's control and circumvented archival practices.

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Anthem announced that customers will be able to sign up for credit monitoring services starting Friday.

Responding to a letter sent Tuesday by Connecticut’s attorney general, the health insurer said anyone who had a health plan with them in the last ten years will be allowed to access the protection. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut’s Attorney General has joined with nine other states to ask health insurer Anthem to speed up its plan to protect consumers in the wake of what may be the nation’s biggest-ever data breach.

George Jepsen sent a letter to Anthem's CEO on behalf of attorneys general from Rhode Island, Maine, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and several other states, calling on Anthem to step up its response to its customers.

Eighty million people, including more than a million in Connecticut, may have been affected by the cyber hack, and Anthem initially said it will provide two years of credit monitoring for customers.


More than a million people in Connecticut are potentially at risk from the massive data breach at health insurer Anthem. The company is the biggest insurer in the state, and also covers 200,000 state employees and retirees. 

Governor Dannel Malloy said Thursday he’s pushed Anthem to provide two years of credit monitoring for everyone affected. But he said Anthem customers should also take steps to protect themselves.

"Monitor your accounts, look for suspicious activity," Malloy appealed. "The criminals who stole this information may look to open up new lines of credit, steal tax refunds, obtain new credit cards or take other fraudulent actions, so be alert."

The call for more systemic changes to prevent mega-hacks is getting louder after hackers hit Anthem, the nation's second-largest health insurer. The company says cyberthieves gained access to the addresses, employment information and Social Security numbers of 80 million customers and employees.

Eighty million individuals is a lot — it's roughly the populations of California, Texas and Illinois combined.

Online Security: A Battle You Just Can’t Win?

Jan 13, 2015
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The highly publicized hacking of Sony Pictures and Monday’s infiltration of Central Command’s Twitter account are just two of the most recent examples of Internet crime.

The CEO of Sony Pictures has been saying that the cyberattack against his company is "the worst cyberattack in U.S. history." And you can see where he's coming from. An entire feature film got canned — at least for now. And his corporate networks were so damaged, Sony workers had to revert to using fax machines to communicate. That said, "the worst" is a big claim.