Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
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Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

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Dear NSA: Please Read This Email

Jun 14, 2013
Originally published on June 14, 2013 2:19 pm

To: The National Security Agency

From: The Protojournalist

Subject: Please feel free to read our email exchange with Wendy Nather, a high-tech analyst who focuses on security issues at 451 Research in Austin, Texas. Not that you need our permission.

Dear Wendy Nather,

I am writing a blogpost for NPR's website about legitimate paranoia when it comes to life online. After seeing your thoughtful piece about PRISM [the U.S. government's Internet-monitoring program] on the Dark Reading website. I hoped you might be able to elevate the story.

Perhaps the NSA is not really monitoring our day-to-day dealings with websites. But are there other types of people who are keeping an eye on our online engagements — identity thieves, webcam hijackers, insurance detectives, people who want to obtain information about our online habits and use that information for their own benefit?

Wendy Nather's Reply

I don't think it's a matter of being too paranoid, so much as knowing which things are more appropriate to be paranoid about. :-)

One of the things that we have lost with the Internet is the ability not to be singled out. It used to be that you had to work hard to gather information on one person, even if that data was publicly available somehow: you had to go to offices, to the library, search newspaper archives, etc. But now all you have to do is decide that you want to research someone, and the searching takes only minutes or a couple of hours if you know what you're doing.

This is the difference between what we traditionally understand as our Fourth Amendment rights and what advertisers, the government, law enforcement, and entities of any kind are able to do today. They can gather aggregate information on huge populations, and you might be in there — but if someone decides to query your data individually, is that the part that constitutes "unreasonable search"? Is just possessing the data considered a search? Or is it when they construct the database query that brings up your name and your data together for intentional viewing? We don't know, and that's the very thin dividing line that used to be thicker.

So yes, anyone can search out your information for different reasons. The only question is the probability of that happening. You should probably be most concerned about anyone who would have a reason to want to single you out:

  • Angry exes
  • Employers (or potential ones)
  • Anyone who wants to validate information about you (such as a public assertion you've made, or a benefit you've applied for)
  • Curious family or friends (my mother has had a Google Alert on me for years ;-)
  • Anyone who is investigating someone you're connected to in some way (law enforcement, government agencies)
  • Anyone else who is angry enough with you to want retribution, and who is the type to be able to do it online

Yes, we should be worried about credit card fraud, which is different from identity theft. The former is done in bulk today, without discrimination, as opposed to the latter, which is often done by someone who has reason to know more of your biographical data to make the identity theft more complete.

In my opinion, the general population should not be too worried about being singled out. However, the fact that the government is collecting the type of data already that makes it even easier to do just that, at the drop of a hat, is something that we as a society should discuss. We should figure out how to make the barrier higher to being singled out, as opposed to making the barrier higher to collecting our data, because that's already too late.

Hope this helps!


Wendy Nather

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