American privacy law is outdated and needs to be refreshed to keep up with today’s digital tools, according to a coalition of technology companies and advocacy groups. Microsoft, Google, and AT&T as well as the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU say they will push Congress to revamp the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. The law, enacted in 1986, covers government access to personal data.

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Smart electric grids are being promoted by the government and conservation groups because they help consumers and power companies closely track energy use. In homes, smart meters keep close watch on power consumption, and report that information back to utilities so consumers can conserve electricity.

Now some privacy groups, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Center for Democracy and Technology, are warning that the smart grid could be invasive.

Guest: Jennifer Urban, co-director of the Samuleson Law, Technology and Public Policy Group at the University of California Berkeley

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The Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, is complaining to the Federal Trade Commission that Facebook’s new information sharing and privacy policies are unfair and deceptive to users.

EPIC and a handful of other groups are urging the FTC to make Facebook turn back the clock on the recent changes, which were designed to persuade users to share more personal information on the wider Internet.

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While President Obama has been widely praised for his use of the Internet to communicate with the public, not all are happy. For example privacy groups have raised a stink over President Obama’s use of Google’s YouTube as the primary distributor of weekly video addresses on the WhiteHouse.gov Website. Groups such as the Electronic Frontier Read more