Even the most mundane online tasks require us to hand over sensitive data. Privacy policies pass by with an easy click. Yes, each company has its own legal language about the risks we take on, but the standards for consumer protection are murky.
"There is no one law in the United States that mandates that websites and phone applications have good data security," says law professor Woodrow Hartzog, who focuses on the area of privacy law and online communication.
So if there isn't one set of rules, who's working to keep your personal information safe?
For the first time, a woman has been named CEO of a major U.S. automotive company. Mary Barra, 51, breaks a glass ceiling in one of the most male-dominated industries in the nation. But women buy more than half the cars in America, so the question is why it took so long.
Nicole Hockley says she used to be the kind of person who knew where she was going in life. Then, last Dec. 14, her 6-year-old son, Dylan, was one of the 26 victims killed by a gunman at Sandy Hook Elementary.
"Every plan I had went out the window, and I just kind of lost my way in terms of where do you go from here, how do you pick yourself up and move forward and find a new path," Hockley says.
The phone kept ringing at home, and media outlets sent flowers with cards asking for interviews.
The tornado on Nov. 17 missed the house of Darin Repp's cousins in Washington, Ill. But less than a half-mile away, it flattened rows of homes, uprooted trees and flung cars around the neighborhood like a child with a temper tantrum.
In the following days, Repp noticed posts on Facebook about people finding — and returning — photos that belonged to Washington residents. Eager to help his cousins' community, he drove out to a forest preserve along the storm's path.
Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 1:27 pm
When Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, Africa's record on democracy was abysmal. One stark fact summed it up: Not a single African leader had ever lost his job at the ballot box in the three decades since African countries began receiving independence around 1960.
But with Mandela leading the way, South Africa became the most prominent example of the emerging democracies and open elections that spread across the continent in the 1990s.
Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 8:47 pm
On the final leg of 10 days of mourning, Nelson Mandela's body was flown from the seat of government in Pretoria to his ancestral hometown of Quno on Saturday.
"A guard of honor carried his casket from the hearse onto the transport plane that flew the late South African statesman home to the Eastern Cape for burial on Sunday," NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton tells our Newscast unit from Johannesburg. "The two-hour flight was preceded by a moving memorial, organized by his governing ANC Party."
In a surprise move, the Indian Supreme Court this week ruled to uphold a ban on gay sex. The ban, instituted under British colonial authority more than 150 years ago, had been repealed in 2009. With its reinstatement, the law, also known as Section 377, once again makes homosexual acts punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Originally published on Sat December 14, 2013 7:01 am
A Chinese spacecraft made a soft landing on the surface of the moon on Saturday, China's state television is reporting.
Televised images showed the control room at the Aerospace Control Center in Beijing erupted into applause at about 8:10 a.m. ET. Almost immediately, the lander started to deploy its solar panels and began running a systems check.
Last week, the principal of Trumbull High School canceled a student production of Rent scheduled for next March.
Rent is Jonathan Larson's 1994 rock musical about a group of colorful young people living and loving in a colorful wreck of a brownstone on New York's Lower East Side, when struggling young artists could afford the rent there.
The work of the late Harry Jackson ran the gamut from abstract expressionism, inspired by his friend Jackson Pollock, to the Western art for which he was best known. His sculpture of a hard-riding John Wayne was on the cover of Time Magazine in 1969.
Most of Jackson's life work is still at his studios in Cody, Wyo. But unless a major donor steps forward, it will be sold piecemeal to pay the bills.
It's not big enough to be called a shakeup, but the new hire announced this week at the White House is important: John Podesta will come on board in January as a counselor to the president.
Podesta is a Democratic wise man, the founder of the Center for American Progress, a policy and personnel incubator for Democratic administrations, and he just started a new think tank on income inequality — the problem President Obama says will animate his second term.
The factory that makes and bottles Sriracha sauce is in trouble - for the second time this year. First, one of the company's Southern California plants faced a shutdown after neighbors complained about the pungent odor there, and now a California Department of Public Health has placed a 30-day hold on all new bottles of Sriracha, citing health concerns. NPR's Sam Sanders reports.
This week, Peter Higgs and Francois Englert received the Nobel Prize for developing the theory known as the Higgs-boson particle in 1964. But distinguished as they are, Higgs and Englert are just two of six scientists who developed the theory and because of the Nobel committees rule of three; that no single prize can go to more than three individuals, most of these scientists missed out on winning the Nobel, including Carl Hagen, a University of Rochester physics professor.
At 9:30 Eastern Time this morning, houses of worship across Connecticut will rang their bells 26 times.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELLS RINGING)
SIMON: These are the bells of the Basilica of Saint John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church in Stamford. Churches, mosques and synagogues in Newtown are holding events today to mark the anniversary of the shooting. Not only prayer services, also some arts and crafts activities for children, even comfort dogs.
Most parents of elementary school-age children say their schools boosted security following last year's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to a poll from NPR in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.
You've probably never heard of painter Fred F. Scherer. If you've ever been to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, though, you may have seen his paintings — probably without realizing it.
Scherer died at age 98 a few weeks ago. His art — those big murals you see behind taxidermic animals in museum dioramas — deserves a closer look.
We visited the AMNH to photograph some of the installations containing his paintings, and spoke with Stephen C. Quinn, who recently retired as an artist from the museum, and knew Scherer well.