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?
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.
British-Iranian comedian and actor Omid Djalili gained a degree of fame in the United States talking about and even joking about issues of terrorism and the Middle East following 9/11. After several years and success in Britain, he's coming back to the States.
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.
The latest budget deal from Washington includes provisions that would make new federal workers contribute more toward their retirement. And changing the rules for public pensions has been happening for a while at the state and local level.
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.
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.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:44 pm
In the wrenching days and weeks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, many on both sides of the gun control debate thought that horror had so shifted the political winds that stricter federal gun laws would surely result.
That, of course, didn't happen.
On the surface, it may look like the gun lobby ultimately won the political battles that mattered in the past year. After all, Congress failed to pass tougher gun laws. But the reality is more mixed; the result was more of a stalemate.
Negotiations between Boeing and the machinists union in Washington State broke down again last night. The union rejected Boeing's latest contract offer. The deal would've guaranteed that production of the new 777X airplanes would stay in the Seattle area. Now, the aerospace giant may be taking those planes and thousands of jobs elsewhere.
Other states are eagerly courting them. But Michael Tomsic of member station WFAE in Charlotte reports that landing the aerospace company won't come cheap.
In the meantime, Newtown, Connecticut, is still grieving nearly a year since a mass shooting there took place. Scarlet Lewis feels the loss every day. Her son Jesse was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting. Lewis and her other son have struggled to deal with their grief. Craig Lemoult of member station WSHU reports that they found solace by reaching out to others, some who are halfway around the world.
CRAIG LEMOULT, BYLINE: On every wall and in every corner of Scarlet Lewis' living room are gifts from around the world.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:28 pm
A student armed with a shotgun opened fire at a Colorado high school, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said Friday. Police said the shooter injured two fellow students at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., before killing himself.
With its colorful box-style buildings with big windows, Castlemont High in Oakland, Calif., looks like any other school. But inside, teacher Demetria Huntsman and Joseph Hopkins, 16, are deconstructing a shooting that happened out front just 30 minutes before.
"We just, like, heard gunshots," Joseph explains. "We just ... turned around and started running. That's the closest I've ever came to almost, like, actually getting shot."
Texan John Cornyn is the No. 2 man in Senate GOP leadership and by most measures holds high conservative ratings — according to National Journal's rankings, he was the second most conservative senator in the last Congress.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:37 pm
A day after The Associated Press reported that an ex-FBI agent who went missing in Iran nearly seven years ago was on a rogue mission for the CIA, the White House has reiterated its long-held position that Robert Levinson was not on the U.S. payroll when he disappeared.
The North America's grizzly bear is protected under the Endangered Species Act. Its population was virtually wiped out in the lower 48 states. One group of bears, though, may soon lose that protection - the Yellowstone grizzly. Some scientists say that group is thriving. Others disagree. NPR's Christopher Joyce has more on the battle over the bear.
The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., one year ago sparked a national conversation about the country's troubled mental health system. Politicians convened task forces and promised additional funding and new laws. But today, despite those promises, patients and advocates say treatment for mental health is still in shambles.
Three years ago, Maria Vasquez-Rojas received news to celebrate: After many attempts to conceive, she was going to have a baby. But while pregnant with her daughter, Ellie, Maria was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer.
"If I had not gone in for that ultrasound they would have never caught it. [Ellie] saved my life," Maria tells her brother, Francisco Vasquez, on a visit to StoryCorps in Los Angeles.
As Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy sped from Hartford to Newtown nearly a year ago, the death toll kept rising. When he arrived on the scene, he found himself in charge — and it fell to him to answer the question: How long should family members have to wait to learn that their loved ones were gone?
Malloy decided that he was going to do what he thought was right. Still, standing in front of more than two dozen families gathered in a firehouse, he doubted that it was.
Two agricultural scientists from China have been accused of trying to steal patented seeds from a biopharmaceutical company in Kansas.
Separately, six men from China, including the CEO of a seed corn subsidiary of a Chinese conglomerate, were charged Thursday with conspiring to steal patented seed corn from two of the nation's leading seed developers, prosecutors said Thursday, according to The Associated Press.
It wasn't immediately clear if the arrests were related, but The AP wrote of the group of six charged:
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:05 am
The Associated Press reports in an investigative piece that an ex-FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 and was last seen in a "proof of life" photograph more than two years ago had been working for the CIA, despite official denials from the U.S.
Robert Levinson, who would now be 65, vanished after traveling in March 2007 to the Iranian island of Kish, described by The Associated Press as a resort "awash with tourists, smugglers and organized crime figures."
U.S. wireless carriers reached a deal with the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday that will make it easier for consumers to "unlock" their mobile phones and use them on a competitor's network.
The deal came in the wake of a consumer rebellion over the policy of locking cellphones to a carrier. A petition that garnered more than 114,000 signatures landed at the White House, and the Obama administration sided with the petitioners.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:05 am
The House has approved a bipartisan budget deal to cut around $23 billion from the federal deficit over 10 years while removing the threat of a possible government shutdown until 2015. A shutdown deadline had loomed for Jan. 15.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 also sets spending levels for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years, which its backers say will add more stability to both the U.S. economy and the government's operations.