Privacy in the Age of the Internet

On the Internet, do we make sure that our passwords contain at least 8 case-sensitive characters and include at least one special character because we believe that our information is safe from prying eyes?

No.

Are we judicious about our privacy settings and visibility of our online profiles because we believe that our online reputations are not without consequence?

Of course not.
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Crowdfunding Has Consequences

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Over two weeks this past summer, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge poured millions of gallons of frigid water over people’s heads and millions of dollars into the ALS Association’s coffers. (“Coffers”: one of those words used only in writing, never in conversation.) The combination gag phenomenon/act of charity caused a social media tsunami and quadrupled the foundation’s usual fund-raising take, drawing 70,000 new donors to the cause.

I thought about the Ice Bucket Challenge when I read in the New York Times about the “Table of Peace,” a nifty little jewel-bedecked item of 18th-century French furniture (see close-ups here) that made a guest appearance in Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way. (Fancy!) The table was in the Times because it’s the latest item the august Louvre is attempting to buy through crowdfunding. Turns out the French government has had to downsize financial support for cultural institutions for two years straight, so the museum launched a campaign to raise a million euros of the $12.5 million euro price tag set by the current owners, the family of the Baron de Breteuil, from the people. (Let them eat cake off of that, amirite?)

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Will This New “Sex App” Clear Up College Sexual Assaults?

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In his eloquent paean last week to watching porn, Daily News scold Stu Bykofsky equated the practice to stopping by the watercooler to chat with a colleague. There’s one essential way, at least, in which the two acts differ: One is solitary, and one is not. Stu cited the statistic that 29 percent of Americans say watching porn is morally acceptable.

I’m surprised the number’s that low. I don’t give a royal hoot who watches porn, though I’d prefer public officials not be doing so while they’re on the job. But what’s being called “Porngate” reminded me of a handy app that’s being pushed as the answer to the current “crisis” of sexual assault on college campuses. The app, Good2Go, takes the mushy gray out of “He said, she said” college sexual assault accusations by reducing the question of consent to a Wawa touchscreen condiment choice. Read more »

Report: Abington Police, Delco DA Handed Out Dangerous Spyware

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Back in 2011, Action News ran a story about ComputerCop, which was described as “a new Internet monitoring software designed to protect young people from online predators.” Police departments and other authorities around the country were distributing ComputerCop to freaked out To Catch a Predator-bingeing parents, including, according to a new report, in Abington Township and Delaware County. But now we’re learning that ComputerCop may have done far more harm than good. Read more »

Need a Cuddle Buddy?

Screen grabs from the Cuddlr app.

Screen grabs from the Cuddlr app.

Need a cuddle buddy? There’s an app for that, too.

How sad.

If there’s ever a moment where you might feel especially in need of a human touch, head over to the App Store and download Cuddlr, a new lifestyle app designed to allow complete strangers to find time to cuddle in a place of their choosing.

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Report: Suspects in Gay Bashing Will Meet Police Today

Suspects in a Center City gay-bashing case will meet police today, 6ABC reports, after Philadelphia’s Twitter community helped police discover their identities.

Events developed quickly Tuesday after Philadelphia Police released surveillance video of up to 12 people it identified as suspects walking through Center City on Thursday evening near the time of the attack. Within hours, former Real Housewives of New Jersey castmate Greg Bennett tweeted this photo that he claims — because of similarities in clothing — includes some of the alleged suspects in the hate crime that happened on Thursday in Center City.

Not long after, police were contacted by lawyers for the suspects. 6ABC reports: “Late Tuesday night, Action News has learned attorneys for some members of the group have called police. They are making arrangements to bring their clients in for questioning on Wednesday.”
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Apple (Yawn) Launched a New iPhone and a Watch Yesterday

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I find it difficult to get excited about new consumer technology these days. It may be a sign that I’m getting older or cheaper, or perhaps a bit more jaded about how much easier things need to be. I already blame my iPhone for my waning ability to remember things, and I hold Netflix responsible for how much time I spend sitting in one place on weekends: Binge sessions of House of Cards have become a priority in my home.

I also find it difficult to get excited about big Apple releases (like yesterday’s) because I’m not quite sure that Apple is at the forefront anymore.

When I heard about the iPhone 6 release, I wasn’t all that excited. In truth, I haven’t really been excited about Apple since Steve Jobs died in 2011. I’ve had the 4s for as long as its been out and it suits me just fine. I watched the release announcement yesterday, not because I wanted the phone, but because everyone else was — I thought perhaps I missed something.

What was missed yesterday was an opportunity, at least from a branding perspective.

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