The government is spying on us, as we know courtesy of Edward Snowden, and many companies are too, because we willingly let them when we accept the terms of privacy policies we don’t read in exchange for our use of one app or another. In the age of big data, celebrity cyberhacking, and companies like Uber, is privacy dead?
Not so fast. This year, a growing number of technologists and researchers, artists and activists, and yes, even some companies themselves, are working to give us back our privacy by developing tools that push back against the creeping encroachment upon our lives. Take a new system out of MIT that could make it easier to chose what personal data we want to share, or a tool that will send you a kind note when the government infects your computer. Some ideas are more creative, such as DNA sanitizer or these fanciful designs for clothing that exposes your body as you expose yourself online.
They say that privacy is a bargain that we make. Hopefully at least with new tools, we’re going to have more leverage to help us negotiate. Read the year’s most interesting stories on privacy below.
Networked devices like Nest promise a rosy “smart home” future. But the Internet of Things can also be really, really creepy.
The new system, called OpenPDS, protects your privacy while still letting apps access information they need to work.
Because that iTunes update might not be what you think it is.
Your purchase history and whether you use a mobile or desktop browser all can factor in large fluctuations in how much you pay.
Not just for hit men, these evidence-destroying sprays will protect you in a world where everyone wants to know your genetic code.
For some people, the benefits of big data will not be worth the risks—which could include increased workplace, police, and consumer discrimination.
And people said yes.
In designer Xuedi Chen’s version of the online experience, the only way to keep yourself private (and your clothing opaque) is to turn off your phone.
Floodwatch keeps track of every single ad you see online. The personal details they expose will surprise you.
Police departments are using GPS trackers to try and stop abusers from killing their current or former partners. But the technology won’t do it alone.
A Utah company is marketing its shotgun silencer through a fictional metalhead who shoots down drones for a living.
Read more of our best stories of the year, in these categories: Most-read, photos, infographics, lists, videos, maps, buildings, robots, transportation, bikes, food, collaborative consumption, cities, energy, environment, health, education, crowdfunding, innovative workplaces, and privacy.