rDigital News: Amazon drones, face-reading software and security

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Amazon drones spark worry over consumers’ privacy


This week, Amazon announced its plans to use drones for their door-to-door deliveries.

U.S. lawmakers are worried about how this new development will affect privacy rights. A bill has been proposed, which would temporarily ban the online retailer from implementing the new delivery system. 

Currently, drones are banned from commercial use by U.S. federal law. But the Federal Aviation Administration is trying to make it possible for businesses to use them, according to The Washington Times.

This experimental delivery system would certainly be a technological leap forward for retailers. It would probably lower their operating costs and make customer service more efficient.

But it could also open the door to easier data collection by businesses. Is innovation worth losing our privacy for?

New facial algorithms could soon detect whether you’re happy or sad


Companies like Affectiva and Emotient have developed software that uses frame-by-frame video analysis to read the subtle difference in facial expressions. Affectiva will start offering the program to mobile software developers early next year, according to The New York Times.

The software could be used in different ways such spot the students who look confused in an online classroom or measure how bored or challenged a player is during an online game.

But the software raises a lot of questions about privacy. If the technology becomes widely accessible, the potential for surveillance without consent will overshadow the software’s uses.

Internet giants step up protection from surveillance
Microsoft has announced plans to protect its services from outside surveillance by adding state-of-the-art encryption features,

Similar actions have been taken by Google, Mozilla, Twitter, Facebook and Yahoo to show users how well their data is protected after Edward Snowden’s revelations of government surveillance.

According to The New York Times, the focus is shifting from developing the fastest app or coolest messaging service to making sure their users’ information remains private.

For more on surveillance, check out our series on privacy with The Walrus and follow the hashtag #rprivatelife:


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