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Technology

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

As Europe's sweeping new privacy law went into effect on Friday, California voters may get to decide on strict privacy laws for their state.

An initiative likely headed for November's ballot in California would be one of the broadest online privacy regulations in the U.S. and could impact standards throughout the country.

Massena, N.Y., perched on the northernmost border of New York state, is the archetype of the company town that has lost its companies. Downtown there's a pillared town hall and a Main Street lined with stately old buildings, along with an empty union hall, a couple of banks and restaurants, and a bunch of vacant storefronts — echoes of the town's more prosperous past.

Why Ghana's Clam Farmers Are Digging GPS

May 27, 2018

Samuel-Richard Bogobley is wearing a bright orange life vest and leaning precariously over the edge of a fishing canoe on the Volta River estuary, a gorgeous wildlife refuge where Ghana's biggest river meets the Gulf of Guinea.

He's looking for a bamboo rod poking a couple feet above the surface. When he finds it, he holds out a computer tablet and taps the screen. Then he motions for the captain to move the boat forward as he scans the water for the next rod.

Newark, New Jersey's largest city, is taking the concept of a neighborhood watch to a whole new level.

The city is installing hundreds of surveillance cameras to create a virtual block watch.

Some residents are concerned about the technology's implications for people's privacy.

As secret recordings go, the Portland couple's conversation was pretty mundane: They were talking about hardwood floors.

But their Amazon Echo was listening and recording their discussion. The device then sent the recording to someone in their contacts — without the couple's knowledge.

Patients sitting in emergency rooms, at chiropractors' offices and at pain clinics in the Philadelphia area may start noticing on their phones the kind of messages typically seen along highway billboards and public transit: personal injury law firms looking for business by casting mobile online ads at patients.

The potentially creepy part? They're only getting fed the ad because somebody knows they are in an emergency room.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Attention Please.

About Zeynep Tufekci's TED Talk

Why is it so easy to burn through an hour on YouTube or Facebook? Sociologist Zeynep Tufekci explains how advertising algorithms have turned our attention into a valuable commodity.

About Zeynep Tufekci

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Attention Please.

About Jaron Lanier's TED Talk

Jaron Lanier says tech giants are battling for our attention to manipulate our behavior. But how did we get here? Lanier offers insights from the Internet's early days and a possible path forward.

About Jaron Lanier

Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, technology writer, and composer.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Attention Please.

About Tristan Harris's TED Talk

Designer Tristan Harris says attention is at the core of human experience. He argues that our addiction to technology has the power to threaten our very capacity to think, reason and problem solve.

About Tristan Harris

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Attention Please.

About Amishi Jha's TED Talk

What exactly is attention, and how can we reclaim it? Neuroscientist Amishi Jha says there's a powerful link between mindfulness, meditation and attention.

About Amishi Jha

Amishi Jha is a neuroscientist whose research focuses on attention, working memory and mindfulness.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Attention Please.

About Manoush Zomorodi's TED Talk

With a never-ending stream of stimulation, we rarely experience boredom. But tech podcast host Manoush Zomorodi says we actually need to feel bored in order to jump-start our creativity.

About Manoush Zomorodi

Manoush Zomorodi is the co-founder of Stable Genius Productions.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Uber self-driving vehicle that struck and killed a pedestrian two months ago in Tempe, Ariz., took note of the victim with its sensors, but its software did not engage the car's brakes to prevent the collision, according to a preliminary report released Thursday by the National Transportation Safety Board.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Johanna Humphrey has a crayon problem.

The Philadelphia resident ordered 24 boxes of crayons to hand out at her son's third birthday party. But retailer Amazon accidentally sent her twice that many and doesn't want the extras back.

"Parents don't need this many crayons in their house," jokes Humphrey as she takes photos of the boxes with her smart phone to list them on her local "Buy Nothing Project" Facebook group. Humphrey wants to give the extra crayons to a local teacher.

The U.S. takes credit for creating the Internet, and the European Union seems determined to govern it. On Friday, a sweeping new directive goes into effect called the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR. Taken together, its 99 articles represent the biggest ever change to data privacy laws. The new rules have implications for U.S. Internet users too.

Here are answers to three questions you might have about the new law and its potential impacts.

What is GDPR?

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The FBI significantly over-counted the number of encrypted phones it says are connected to ongoing criminal investigations but remain inaccessible to investigators without back door access.

As people continue to feed more and more of their interior selves — our likes, dislikes, wants, needs, social cartographies — into digital networks that harvest and parse that information into profiles used to make money, a new frontier of monitoring that hones in on our physical features is ascendant.

It took more than 280 characters, but a federal judge in Manhattan ruled Wednesday that President Trump and his aides cannot block critics from seeing his Twitter account simply because they had posted caustic replies to his tweets in the past.

Among the lawmakers' concerns: How Facebook might make up possible abuses to its users — and whether Zuckerberg himself is telling the truth when he promises to obey Europe's privacy laws.

A California startup that sought to revolutionize audio headphones, promising personalized devices that would produce sound "indistinguishable from reality," has found that raising interest among investors was easier than delivering the goods.

Ossic raised more than $3.2 million in crowdfunding for its Ossic X, which it touted as the "first 3D audio headphones calibrated to you."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

War, natural disasters and climate change are destroying some of the world's most precious cultural sites. Google is trying to help preserve these archaeological wonders by allowing users access to 3D images of these treasures through its site.

But the project is raising questions about Google's motivations and about who should own the digital copyrights. Some critics call it a form of "digital colonialism."

When a WWE wrestler, especially one known for his demonic antics and a move called the "tombstone piledriver," runs for mayor of your county, you know your election is going to get more attention than usual.

But in Knox County, Tenn., it wasn't the fact that Glenn Jacobs, also known to wrestling fans as Kane, was running for mayor that gained national attention on the county primary day, May 1.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Wednesday it has launched an investigation into a rear-end collision involving a Tesla in South Jordan, Utah, the Associated Press reported. It marks at least the third investigation into crashes involving the company's cars since March.

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