Privacy | St. Louis Public Radio


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A Missouri Senate committee is considering legislation designed to further boost online privacy.

The bill would forbid employers, landlords and educational institutions from requiring current employees, renters, and students – as well as applicants – to provide user names and passwords of their email and social media accounts.

Dan Chace | Flickr

Rumors of an executive order about cybersecurity from President Donald Trump have been swirling for the last week, and improving our national cybersecurity has been a political issue for the last couple of years.

On a personal level, hacking, data collection and recording by personal devices all pose threats to personal information security.

derekGavey | Flickr

Of the five proposed constitutional amendments Missourians will get to vote on in August, two of them have generated little attention and virtually no controversy.  One would expand the right against unreasonable search and seizures to include electronic communications and data, while the other would create a new Missouri lottery ticket to fund the needs of veterans.

Electronic data and communications

U.S. Supreme Court
Matt H. Wade | Wikipedia

In a landmark decision protecting Americans' digital privacy, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that police almost always need to get warrants to search the cell phones of people they arrest.

Washington University School of Medicine

In the not-so-distant future, it will be possible, perhaps even common place, to have computers implanted in our brains, says St. Louis neurosurgeon Eric Leuthardt.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I am as angry as anyone about the NSA’s persistent, nefarious, cynical -- and successful -- efforts to open back doors into the world’s computer systems, developing honed abilities to wander through the private communications of just about everyone in with a screen-name. 

But it’s no more than we deserve.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In a June 13 article (“Combating Terror with Eyes Wide Shut”), I remarked on the coincidence that whistleblower/turncoat Edward Snowden shared the same last name with a key character in Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. Both the real Snowden and his fictional predecessor became famous by spilling their guts, though the former did so metaphorically while the latter was quite literal about the process.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON – While this week's focus is on possible terrorist threats to U.S. installations abroad, Congress -- when it returns next month -- may seek more transparency in government surveillance programs that officials say help deter such terror at home and abroad.

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Last Friday teens and those who work with teens in trouble got to interact with lawyers who gave them roadmaps for traversing potential legal problems. The day-long session has been developed to help connect resources and knowledge with the people who need them.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon followed through Tuesday with an apparent shift in his position on government retention of the public’s personal information, by vetoing a bill that would have mandated a state database – accessible to employers – of all Missourians who file workers’ compensation claims.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I was not particularly shocked by Edward Snowden’s revelations that the National Security Agency has been snooping around in our supposedly private communications. Like Thoreau, “I heartily accept the motto, that government is best which governs least,” but I found news of widespread surveillance unsurprising because I’d long assumed it was going on.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., says he remains a critic of the federal Affordable Care Act -- and remains convinced that the measure’s pending health insurance changes could eventually end up reducing the number of Americans with coverage.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: It is said that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. If that adage is true, George W. Bush should be feeling rather smug at the moment.

The former president was pilloried by civil libertarians for some of the alacritous executive actions he took to protect the nation in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. He popularized the once arcane term “enemy combatant,” established his own concentration camp at a naval base in Cuba (a.k.a. Gitmo) and authorized “extraordinary rendition” (a.k.a. sending people to countries where they are likely to be tortured) in limited circumstances, though that practice was also terminated on his watch. He championed passage of the Patriot Act and made generous use of the expanded surveillance powers it granted him.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: WASHINGTON -- The extent of phone and internet information collected by intelligence agencies is "troublesome" and should be debated, says U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who had been briefed on such activities as a longtime member of congressional intelligence panels.

"I actually am concerned by the volume of records the federal government is keeping and future potential uses for those records," Blunt, R-Mo., told reporters Wednesday.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The typical American citizen could be forgiven for being confused about the seriousness of the disclosure that the National Security Agency is collecting everyone’s telephone data as part of its effort to detect terrorist communications.

From one point of view, the disclosure of the NSA’s big data collection program is one of the most significant security leaks in U.S. history. It a massive invasion of every American’s privacy and proves the existence of the "surveillance state."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Mildred Loving has a special place in my memory.

Almost 20 years ago, I was writing stories about the Constitution. One afternoon, on a whim, I put my sleeping 4-year-old in the car and set off from our Bethesda, Md., hoping to find Mildred Loving at her rural Virginia home.