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Tech Week That Was: Encryption Disrupted; Anonymity Online

Circuit board
Marilyn Nieves
Circuit board

Monday's Labor Day holiday shortened our week, but there was no shortage of news in the tech space. Herewith, our weekly roundup to help catch you up.


Over the airwaves, the week started with news of Microsoft's purchase of Nokia, and Steve Henn discussed the implications on Morning Edition and All Things Considered. NPR's Jeff Brady explored the Amish and their relationship with technology, concluding that it's complicated.

This week on All Tech, your favorite post featured I Forgot My Phone, the short film that so aptly shows our cultural obsession with our ubiquitous smartphones. A marketing data company launched a site to let you see all the income, biographic and shopping history data that marketers have about you. We wondered about the curious Craigslist market for empty iPhone and MacBook boxes. The Weekly Innovation pick was the Case Coolie, a cooler sleeve for your beers that doesn't require ice. Just in time for tailgating!

The Big Conversation

Another week, another set of revelations about government monitoring of citizens. A story jointly published by The New York Times, ProPublica and The Guardian uncovered the National Security Agency's extensive efforts to break into encrypted communication online. The stories were based on the documents released by Edward Snowden. Reuters, meanwhile, reported that the U.K. government asked The Times to destroy its Snowden material.

The Times also reported that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has access to a larger set of phone records than even the NSA, and German news outlet Der Spiegel reported (from the Snowden documents) that the NSA spied on Al-Jazeera.

What's Catching Our Eye

TechCrunch: Pew: 86 Percent Of U.S. Adults Make Efforts To Hide Digital Footprints Online; Fear Of Creeping Ads And Hackers Outweighs Spying

The Pew Internet & American Life Project released one of its studies this week on anonymity, privacy and security online. TechCrunch sums up some of the key privacy and security findings.

The Washington Post: Jeffrey Bezos, The Washington Post's next owner, aims for a new "golden era" at the newspaper

The Amazon founder and new owner of The Post spoke to his paper about his plans. " 'We've had three big ideas at Amazon that we've stuck with for 18 years, and they're the reason we're successful: Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient,' he said. 'If you replace 'customer' with 'reader,' that approach, that point of view, can be successful at The Post, too.' "

The Wall Street Journal: Forgot Something? Tokyo Cabs Want to Make Sure You Don't

A Tokyo taxi company plans to equip its cabs with cameras to record images of the back seat before and after a passenger enters. "If a passenger leaves the car forgetting an item that wasn't there before getting in, the system sounds an alarm," The Journal says.

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Elise Hu is a host-at-large based at NPR West in Culver City, Calif. Previously, she explored the future with her video series, Future You with Elise Hu, and served as the founding bureau chief and International Correspondent for NPR's Seoul office. She was based in Seoul for nearly four years, responsible for the network's coverage of both Koreas and Japan, and filed from a dozen countries across Asia.