Alyssa Hertig

Alyssa Hertig

I'm a technology journalist.

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13935140249249 article
reason.com

Venezuelans Organize Protests and Evade State Censorship With Walkie-Talkie App

Like with Arab Spring, protesters in Venezuela and Ukraine owe their impressive organization to mobile social media apps. Venezuelan authorities are particularly frustrated with Texas-based Zello, a simple walkie-talkie app, for emerging as a leading tool for the opposition. The government even tried to block it. The peer-to-peer digital messaging...

13951644202376 article
reason.com

NYPD Claims Secrecy For Its Freedom of Information Request Criteria

The New York Police Department has earned a notoriously poor reputation for transparency. According to a report unveiled last year by former New York City Public Advocate and current mayor, Bill de Blasio, about a third of information requests are ignored. When agency...

13903372542949 article
reason.com

3D Printing Gives 16-Year-Old Bomb Victim a Hand

Daniel Omar lost his arms in March 2012 when he was 14 years old during a bombing carried out by Sudanese aircraft, a part of the government's attempt to quell rebels. Omar hid behind a tree to avoid the bomb, but when the explosion subsided both his hands were gone....

13923214901445 article
reason.com

Snow Days Are Okay, Says Harvard Study

Schools have already endured a wave of weather-related cancellations this winter. Now, to make up for lost instructional time, a few states are considering tagging on makeup days to the end of the semester. Some districts want to cancel spring break altogether. They may not need to bother. As Emily...

13939637411472 article
reason.com

Privacy-Oriented Cryptocat Unveils Smartphone App

Cryptocat, a web application for private chatting, now functions on smartphones. In a demo at RightsCon, a gathering in Silicon Valley that focuses on technology and combating human rights challenges, Cryptocat unveiled its chat-based cryptographically-based private mobile app, a tool they've been cooking up this past year. Cryptocat's mission, according...

13933434197339 article
reason.com

FAA Control Over Commercial Drones Is Slipping

Amazon pushed commercial drone use into the limelight last December, but novel drone experimentation doesn't end there. In fact, it is getting very difficult for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to keep the crazy new, controversial, drone technology under wraps. If the agency doesn't update its approach soon the “FAA...

13935140249249 article
reason.com

Venezuelans Organize Protests and Evade State Censorship With Walkie-Talkie App

Like with Arab Spring, protesters in Venezuela and Ukraine owe their impressive organization to mobile social media apps. Venezuelan authorities are particularly frustrated with Texas-based Zello, a simple walkie-talkie app, for emerging as a leading tool for the opposition. The government even tried to block it. The peer-to-peer digital messaging...

13951644202376 article
reason.com

NYPD Claims Secrecy For Its Freedom of Information Request Criteria

The New York Police Department has earned a notoriously poor reputation for transparency. According to a report unveiled last year by former New York City Public Advocate and current mayor, Bill de Blasio, about a third of information requests are ignored. When agency...

13903372542949 article
reason.com

3D Printing Gives 16-Year-Old Bomb Victim a Hand

Daniel Omar lost his arms in March 2012 when he was 14 years old during a bombing carried out by Sudanese aircraft, a part of the government's attempt to quell rebels. Omar hid behind a tree to avoid the bomb, but when the explosion subsided both his hands were gone....

13938685753137 article
reason.com

Yellen: Federal Reserve Has No Business Regulating Bitcoin

Thursday Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen demonstrated a stronger grasp of Bitcoin than the senator who proposed banning it. In comments to the Senate Banking Committee, Yellen stated, "The Federal Reserve simply does not have the authority to supervise or regulate Bitcoin in any way." She also expressed doubts about...

14013091969711 article
reason.com

Hacker Crackdown

In January, the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE) gave Silicon Valley coding boot camps an unsettling ultimatum: Get licensed or shut down and pay a $50,000 fine. They were granted two weeks notice. These "hacker camps" usually cost somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000 for students and typically last...

13910098939325 article
reason.com

Lawmaker Dreams of Transforming Hawaii Into Marijuana Production Hub

Hawaii House Majority Leader Rida Cabanilla thinks that legalizing the production and exporting of pot would be the golden opportunity for Hawaii to tackle its $25 billion debt. Cabanilla told Hawaii Reporter: This state would turn into a manufacturing state. Can you imagine factories that would be making ‘Maui Wowie’...

1391189305649 article
reason.com

Wisconsin Beer Drones Grounded by FAA

Lakemaid Beer, “the hottest beer on ice,” arranged for beer-delivering octocopters to carry 12-packs over frosty lakes to thirsty ice fishers. But as soon as it learned of Lakemaid's plan, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounded it. Released about a week ago, the Minnesota-based company's beer commercial instantly went viral. Drones...

13983718663713 article
reason.com

Not-So-Private Email

In the summer of 2013, the FBI pressed the encrypted email service Lavabit to relinquish its Secure Sockets Layer private keys. The move would have provided the U.S. government unrestricted access to the communications of all 400,000 of the service's users-not just those of the one user the FBI was...

13924020372959 article
reason.com

California Pushes to Legalize Bitcoin

A bill unanimously passed by the California State Assembly last week moves to end legal confusion and make Bitcoin “lawful money.” AB 129’s fate now rests with the State Senate. Uncertainty still plagues Bitcoin’s relationship with law enforcement. Individual Bitcoin users generally don’t struggle to buy or sell goods in...