Martin Kaste

Martin Kaste is a correspondent on NPR's National desk. He covers the news throughout the Northwest, with an emphasis on technology and privacy stories.

In addition to general assignment reporting throughout the region, Kaste has contributed to NPR News coverage of major world events, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 uprising in Libya.

Focusing on technology and privacy issues, Kaste has reported on the government's wireless wiretapping practices as well as the data-collection and analysis that goes on behind the scenes in social media and other new media. His privacy reporting was cited in a US Supreme Court opinion concerning GPS tracking.

Before moving to the West Coast, Kaste spent five years as a reporter for NPR based in South America. He covered the drug wars in Colombia, the financial meltdown in Argentina, the rise of Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, and the fall of Haiti's president Jean Bertrand Aristide. Throughout this assignment, Kaste covered the overthrow of five presidents in five years.

Prior to joining NPR in 2000, Kaste was a policital reporter for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul for seven years.

Kaste is a graduate of Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota.

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5:32pm

Fri January 10, 2014
U.S.

Marijuana 'Hash Oil' Explodes In Popularity, And Kitchens

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

Jim Andersen displays butane hash oil at a marijuana growing facility in Seattle in April 2013. The state's licensed producers will be required to use professional-grade equipment when making the extracts.
Elaine Thompson AP

If you think the recent liberalization of marijuana laws around the country is only about smoking leaves and buds, think again. For users younger than 25, "hash oil" is where it's really at. This concentrated resin of marijuana is creating new public safety headaches — even in places where it's legal.

There have always been forms of the substance, but the resins available today are much stronger than in years past. That's due in part to the expertise developed by medical marijuana producers, who have learned how to make more potent versions of the oil.

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10:05am

Sun December 22, 2013
Around the Nation

'Bertha' Still Stuck In Her Tunnel Under Seattle

Originally published on Sun December 22, 2013 2:33 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The people of Seattle are puzzled by a mystery unfolding underground: the world's biggest tunneling machine is stuck about 75 feet under street level where it's digging a nearly two-mile-long highway right under downtown Seattle. As NPR's Martin Kaste reports, engineers say it'll take until January to figure out what is causing the block.

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6:06pm

Tue December 17, 2013
Number Of The Year

A Majority In U.S. Favor Legal Pot, But Will That Stick?

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 1:49 am

Partiers celebrate marijuana legalization in Washington state at a pot party in Seattle earlier this month.
Elaine Thompson AP

As we near the end of 2013, NPR is taking a look at the numbers that tell the story of this year. They're numbers that, if you really understand them, give insight into the world we live in.

This year, for the first time, national polls show a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Gallup has been asking the question for four decades, and now it says 58 percent favor legalization.

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5:01pm

Tue December 3, 2013
U.S.

Washington State Growers Roll The Dice On New Pot Licenses

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:55 pm

Washington is the second state to adopt rules for the recreational sale of marijuana. Some entrepreneurs see state-licensed pot as a golden ticket, but other growers aren't sure applying for a license makes good business sense.
Ted S. Warren AP

Washington residents thinking about jumping into the state's new legal marijuana industry need to act soon. The deadline to apply for a state license to sell recreational pot is Dec. 19, and the applications are flooding in.

Danielle Rosellison, a loan officer in Bellingham, Wash., applied for her pot-growing license on the first day. "It's so cool," she says, laughing. "We have butterflies in our stomach all the time. I feel like they're all shot up on adrenaline."

To Rosellison and her husband, a stay-at-home dad, legal marijuana is an opportunity to change their lives.

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5:05pm

Mon November 18, 2013
All Tech Considered

Is It The End Of The Line For The Landline?

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 2:35 pm

A lineman grounds a line on a replacement pole in McNeill, Miss., after 2012 Christmas day storms downed both telephone and electric power lines and poles throughout the state. Upkeep on traditional landlines is expensive, and some are pushing for relaxing requirements that phone companies maintain these lines.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

America's traditional phone system is not as dependable as it used to be. Just last month, the Federal Communications Commission told phone companies to start collecting stats on calls that fail to complete. According to one estimate, as many as 1 in 5 incoming long-distance calls simply doesn't connect.

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5:01pm

Wed November 6, 2013
Law

There May Be A Green Light For Pot, But Not For Driving High

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 8:44 pm

In Washington state, dogs don't need to sniff out pot anymore, but troopers are keeping an eye out for high drivers.
Matthew Staver Bloomberg via Getty Images

Western states have led the way in the legalization of marijuana, first with medical marijuana, and then with the legalization of recreational pot in Colorado and Washington last November.

It's been quite an adjustment for the police. Washington State Patrol is adapting to the new reality in a variety of ways, from untraining dogs that sniff out pot, to figuring out how to police high drivers.

A Smell Once Forbidden

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3:38am

Mon October 28, 2013
All Tech Considered

A Look Into Facebook's Potential To Recognize Anybody's Face

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 5:00 pm

Social media companies like Facebook won't talk about who can access face-tagging data. That silence is a problem, privacy advocates say.
iStockPhoto.com

Revelations about NSA spying have left people wondering about the privacy of their digital data. But what about the privacy of their faces?

The movies make facial recognition look easy: In the 1998 film Enemy of the State, a team of NSA agents simply freeze a surveillance tape, tap some keys and identify the face a few computer beeps later.

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5:39pm

Wed October 23, 2013
All Tech Considered

It's Easy To Blame The Canadians For HealthCare.gov Problems

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 6:43 pm

Heavy Internet traffic and system problems plagued the launch of the new HealthCare.gov insurance exchange site.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

President Obama is putting former CEO Jeff Zients in charge of the "tech surge" — the administration's emergency effort to fix the Web portal at the heart of the federal government's new health care market. But what about the contractors that built the system? What's their responsibility?

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6:33am

Tue October 22, 2013
Around the Nation

Seattle Suburb Considers Setting $15 'Living Wage'

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 6:53 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Minimum wage workers in a tiny suburb of Seattle may soon get a big pay raise - a big raise - if voters approve a controversial ballot initiative there next month.

NPR's Martin Kaste reports.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: This is SeaTac - it's a smallish suburb halfway between Seattle and Tacoma - hence the name - and the site of the international airport. Tucked behind the long-term parking lots is a low-rise apartment building that's home to some of the airport's workers.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOOR OPENING)

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6:39pm

Wed October 16, 2013
The Salt

So What Happens If The Movement To Label GMOs Succeeds?

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 8:09 pm

Labels on bags of snack foods indicate they are non-GMO food products.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

I have a story on All Things Considered Wednesday (click on the audio link above to hear it) about the campaign to put labels on food containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The idea is gaining ground in the Northeast — Maine and Connecticut passed labeling laws this summer, though they won't take effect unless more states do the same. And GMO labeling is on the ballot this November in Washington state.

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