New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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What's The Big Deal About Privacy?

Aug 16, 2013

Privacy is the state of being unobserved.

Looking back at history and prehistory, privacy is the rarest luxury. It requires walls or seclusion. It is not our natural condition.

In recent times people have taken privacy for granted, the same way we take other modern conveniences for granted. There's nothing natural about privacy, just as there is nothing inalienable about cheap fast food.

Privacy may be going the way of the dodo, or rather, the way of the long-playing record: a rarity enjoyed by the few.

The striking thing about privacy, it seems to me, is it may not even be something that people want. Actions speak louder than words. And far from acting to preserve or protect our privacy — far from working to find and cultivate conditions in which we are unobserved — we seem, as a culture, to be doing the very opposite, to be reverting to our natural state of openness.

I have always found the idea of the diary somewhat puzzling. It is meant to be the private record of one's thoughts and feelings. Writing just for you. But that's the thing. There's no such thing as writing just for you. Writing, of its very nature, is, if not public, then at least sharable. Behind the impulse to keep a diary, there lies the impulse to share, to communicate, to make public.

So to be a diarist is already to flirt with social media.

These days we keep our diaries in public. We've replaced "Dear Diary" with "hey, fb friends!" We're less Anne Frank than we are PT Barnum, presenting our lives online and in real-time. Each of us runs a media empire devoted to our own exhibition. Millions of us, at minimum, are the authors of fan magazines devoted to ourselves.

And that powerful, vain impulse to broadcast ourselves is just the tip of the iceberg. We use phones that literally map our every move. Our credit cards leave a permanent and transmittable record of our every purchase. And you can't walk down the street, or drive anywhere, without being photographically recorded.

As individuals, and as members of our cultural group, it seems, we tear down the walls and open ourselves up to near constant observation.

Do you remember the JenniCam? Well, for millions of us, it's all JenniCam, all the time.

Is this a bad thing?

Many of us are frightened to be reminded, as Google reminded us this past week, that we have no right to email privacy. Our emails may be read. And many of us expressed shock at the thought that the government could be watching all of us all the time.

What have we got to hide? What have we got to protect? When has privacy ever been anything more than, like the LP-record or cheap fried food, a modern convenience, or, rather, an accident of modern living?

Media and technology are opening us up the way we have, for most of our history, been open to other people and the world around us. No man is an island. And most of us have no desire to be isolated.

If we really value privacy — if, for example, we really believe that being unobserved is necessary to securing our freedom in a democracy — then why are so few of us bothering to pull down the shades and lock the door?


You can keep up with more of what Alva Noë is thinking on Facebook and on Twitter: @alvanoe

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.