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Iowa Pursues a Virtual Driver’s License App


Iowa is hoping to become the first state in the nation to make the physical driver’s license obsolete.

This month, state transportation officials announced they were developing a mobile app that would enable residents to carry virtual versions of their driver’s licenses on their smartphones. The news was first reported by The Des Moines Register.

But legal experts say the idea of using a smartphone, which typically contains vast amounts of personal information, instead of a physical government ID, introduces a host of data security and privacy issues.

“It raises questions about what information the app is collecting, how the information is being secured, and what information is being exchanged at the point of use,” said Alan Butler, senior counsel of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a research center in Washington.

NSA Released Documents About Improper Surveillance on Christmas Eve


The National Security Agency today released reports on intelligence collection that may have violated the law or U.S. policy over more than a decade, including unauthorized surveillance of Americans’ overseas communications.

The NSA, responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union, released a series of required quarterly and annual reports to the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board that cover the period from the fourth quarter of 2001 to the second quarter of 2013.

The heavily-redacted reports include examples of data on Americans being e-mailed to unauthorized recipients, stored in unsecured computers and retained after it was supposed to be destroyed, according to the documents. They were posted on the NSA’s website at around 1:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Librarians Won’t Stay Quiet about Government Surveillance


In September 2003, Attorney General John Ashcroft called out the librarians. The American Library Association and civil liberties groups, he said, were pushing “baseless hysteria” about the controversial Patriot Act. He suggested that they were worried that spy agencies wanted to know “how far you have gotten on the latest Tom Clancy novel.”

Ashcroft was 17 speeches into a national speaking tour defending the Patriot Act, a law expanding government surveillance powers that passed nearly unanimously in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. And all along the way, the librarians showed up to protest.

In the case of government surveillance, they are not shushing. They’ve been among the loudest voices urging freedom of information and privacy protections.

White House Publishes Big Data and Privacy Report


The White House released a long-awaited report Thursday on how the technology industry’s collection of big data affects the online privacy of millions of Americans.

The report, authored by a group led by White House counselor John Podesta, makes several recommendations on how the government can grapple with the way widespread data collection affects the online privacy of average Americans.

The report recommends that Congress pass national data breach legislation, extend privacy protections to non-U.S. citizens, and update the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which controls how the government can access e-mail.

MOOC Provider Coursera to Provide Professional Development Courses for Teachers


The President of the United States, Barack Obama shared his support today to over 3 million teachers across the US with Coursera. In front of a packed house at the Superintendents’ Summit in DC today to promote the Future Ready Pledge as part of the ConnectEd Initiative, President Obama disclosed a new offering by Coursera and its partners to give teachers free Coursera Verified Certificates for district-approved professional development.

“Future Ready” Educational Technology Pledge


Future Ready builds on the momentum of the President’s ConnectED Initiative with the launch of the Future Ready Pledge. The pledge recognizes the importance of building human capacity within schools and districts for effectively using increased connectivity and new devices to transform teaching and learning.