Posted on August 5, 2020 - 11:29am
ON APRIL 24, 1981, THE BODY OF A YOUNG WOMAN with auburn braids and a fringed jacket was discovered off the side of a road in Troy, Ohio.
She had been strangled to death only hours before. Authorities took DNA samples but couldn’t find a match for the woman. For decades, she was described only by the clothes on her back: “Buckskin Girl.”
In May 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented a program called Rapid DNA testing—subjecting families crossing the Mexican border to cheek swab tests, which produce extensive DNA profiles in less than two hours that are entered into a national criminal database. The initial pilot program, begun this summer, was ostensibly rolled out to identify “fraudulent family units”—groups of children and adults who are not blood-related but were trying to achieve special immigration status—and prosecute them for fraud.
Posted on November 20, 2019 - 2:03pm
The Christchurch mosque shooting was the clearest turning point: a mass murder that was, as the New York Times put it at the time, “of, and for, the Internet.” The gunman had teased the shooting on Twitter, announced it on the anonymous, fringe forum 8chan, a megaphone for extremist political views and hateful ideology, and it was live streamed on Facebook. On YouTube, Reddit, and elsewhere, the video of the shooting was repeatedly uploaded faster than the sites’ moderators could take it down.
Posted on October 23, 2019 - 2:28pm
The recent capture of a suspect for the notorious Golden State Killer crimes was a vindication of both diligent detective work and modern technology. More than four decades after the first incident attributed to the GSK, which ultimately tallied at least 12 murders, 45 rapes, and more than 100 home burglaries, 72-year-old Joseph DeAngelo was arrested in his California home.
Posted on July 25, 2018 - 1:49pm
We may never know the true number of Facebook users who suffered data breaches as a result of Cambridge Analytica’s antics, or what it all means in terms of personal security. And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg certainly didn’t provide a great deal of insight when he testified before Congress today.
Underlying the brouhaha are a couple of overriding questions: Who’s to blame, and how to fix it? Also, perhaps, is Facebook’s time done? Is the breach one of trust as much as data, and is it so damaging that the social media giant will founder?
Posted on April 10, 2018 - 3:06pm
Our lives have been so augmented—or subsumed—by interconnected cybernetic devices that it’s sometimes difficult to appreciate what we’ve gained.
We can now communicate cheaply and easily, and on a variety of media, with almost anyone anywhere in the world. We can find whatever fact we want, buy any item, monitor our homes, our finances, our children, our physical fitness, all with a few swipes on a screen. We can entertain ourselves for hours, albeit at the risk of eyestrain.
The Turing Award is basically “the Nobel prize of computing,” named after the founding father of the field and given to those who kick the most butt in computer science. So if you had to guess which university has won the most awards over the last half-century, you’d probably say Massachusetts Institute of Technology, maybe Carnegie Mellon.
Posted on June 27, 2017 - 3:01pm
It was late afternoon on a glorious day in October. My friend Natasha and I were picking our way down a country lane, toward the train station in a village about an hour from Moscow’s Kievsky train station. Our close friends, a lesbian couple, owned a dacha in the village, a cozy cottage where a group of us gathered often to escape the city.