WBEZ | data http://www.wbez.org/tags/data Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en What Google Can Tell Us About People's Secret Thoughts http://www.wbez.org/science-friday/2016-01-04/what-google-can-tell-us-about-peoples-secret-thoughts-114362 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/google_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><p>Google can be used for a seemingly infinite number of tasks: looking up directions, defining words, shopping for presents, fixing your car. According to some researchers, however, it can also be used to read people&#39;s minds.</p></div><p>Economist and former Google data scientist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz calls Google searches &ldquo;a confessional box&rdquo; that can gauge public sentiment on controversial views that polls and surveys can&rsquo;t always measure.&nbsp;After events like the recent attacks in San Bernardino and Paris, it can be used to gauge increasing&nbsp;Islamophobic sentiments.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Sometimes people type just random thoughts they have into Google,&rdquo; Stephens-Davidowitz says.&nbsp;&ldquo;These searches tend to feel like confessionals. They&#39;re admitting things that they might not want to admit in polite company or might not tell to a survey. So it gets kind of a different perspective and often, unfortunately, a darker perspective of the human psyche.&rdquo;</p><p>Stephens-Davidowitz and Evan Soltas have been researching the ability of anonymous aggregate data collected from Google to predict things like hate crimes against Muslims.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;When people type very disturbing searches like &lsquo;kill Muslims&rsquo; or &lsquo;I hate Muslims,&rsquo;&nbsp;hate crimes against Muslims are higher. There&#39;s a clear relationship on weeks when these searches are higher &mdash; there are going to be more anti-Muslim hate crimes,&rdquo; Stephens-Davidowitz says.&nbsp;</p><p>Their research in recent weeks has shown a disturbing trend. Anti-Muslim Internet searches are at levels not seen since 2001.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;This means we predict that anti-Muslim hate crimes are at levels not seen since the aftermath of September 11 right now, because these nasty searches about Muslims have shot up recently,&rdquo;&nbsp;Stephens-Davidowitz says.</p><p>Soltas and Stephens-Davidowitz were able to test their hypothesis recently during a speech given by President Barack Obama.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;The speech was very moving. He talked about the importance of not judging people based on their religion,&rdquo; says Stephens-Davidowitz.&nbsp;&ldquo;We got very excited, like &lsquo;Oh let&#39;s see how the searches have responded to these well-meaning words.&rsquo; And we found out disappointingly and disturbingly that, if anything, it seemed to just provoke the angry mob or provoke intolerance. That searches for &lsquo;kill Muslims&rsquo; shot up three-fold ... so, if anything, it seemed like Obama&#39;s speech, on average, backfired.&rdquo;</p><p>Later in the speech, however, Obama spoke about Muslim Americans as sports heroes and people who were willing to die for the USA. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;After that line, for the first time in a year, the top&nbsp;noun search with Muslims was not terrorists, extremists or refugees &mdash;&nbsp;it was athletes,&rdquo; Stephens-Davidowitz says.&nbsp;&ldquo;So that had more positive effects.&rdquo;</p><p>Soltas and Stephens-Davidowitz have been researching their theory for about three years, and are planning to publish their findings. Stephens-Davidowitz is also writing a book.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;It is like a confessional and&nbsp;people are telling things I don&#39;t think many people are going to tell a poll,&rdquo; Stephens-Davidowitz says.&nbsp;&ldquo;When you look at it anonymously, in aggregate, you really do get a really unprecedented view into the mind.&rdquo;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-01-03/what-google-can-tell-us-about-people-s-secret-thoughts" target="_blank"><em> via Science Friday</em></a></p></p> Mon, 04 Jan 2016 11:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/science-friday/2016-01-04/what-google-can-tell-us-about-peoples-secret-thoughts-114362 V-Tech Hack Affected Millions of Children — Is Anyone Safe? http://www.wbez.org/news/v-tech-hack-affected-millions-children-%E2%80%94-anyone-safe-114033 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/GettyImages-155047799-2 (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="file-295376"><div><img alt="The ongoing V-Tech hack has stolen information from millions of children and parents." id="1" src="http://www.marketplace.org/sites/default/files/styles/primary-image-766x447/public/GettyImages-155047799-2.jpg?itok=NUyVWxGh" title="(Leon Neal/Getty Images)" typeof="foaf:Image" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The huge hack of Hong Kong toy company V-Tech continues to spread. V-Tech said today that hackers stole information of nearly 6.5 million children who used its toys. That number is up from 200,000, which is how many kids the company said were affected when it announced the hack on Friday. Hackers also stole data from about 5 million of the children&rsquo;s parents.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The stolen information includes names and birth dates, and may include photos of the children and chat logs from V-Tech&rsquo;s toy tablets and their parents&rsquo; phones. Ben Johnson, the host of Marketplace Tech and the new podcast Codebreaker, explains the hack.&nbsp;</div><div>&mdash;<a href="http://http://www.marketplace.org/2015/12/01/tech/v-tech-hack-affected-millions-children-%E2%80%94-anyone-safe" target="_blank"><em> via Marketplace</em></a></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 03 Dec 2015 12:19:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/v-tech-hack-affected-millions-children-%E2%80%94-anyone-safe-114033 Senate approves cybersecurity bill: what you need to know http://www.wbez.org/news/senate-approves-cybersecurity-bill-what-you-need-know-113539 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" building="" class="image-original_image" important="" kevin="" lamarque="" reuters="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/President%20Obama%2C%20seen%20at%20a%20cybersecurity%20summit%20in%20Palo%20Alto%2C%20Calif..jpg" style="height: 464px; width: 620px;" title="President Obama, seen at a cybersecurity summit in Palo Alto, Calif., in February. The White House has called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act an &quot;important building block.&quot; (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters/Landov)" /></div><p>The latest clash in the cybersecurity vs. privacy debate played itself out in Congress on Tuesday when the Senate passed the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/754">Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act</a>. Supporters say the bill, approved 74-21, will help stop hackers by getting companies that have been breached to share information about the embarrassing attack with federal law enforcement. The House passed&nbsp;<a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/1560">its version</a>&nbsp;in April.</p><p>But CISA is very controversial. While proponents call it common sense, critics say it&#39;s just an excuse for intelligence officials to grab data on citizens without a warrant.</p><p><strong>Before we get to the controversy, what is the bill supposed to&nbsp;do?</strong></p><p>According to supporters, there&#39;s a big problem: an information gap. When hackers hit a private company, that company is handcuffed or tongue-tied. It can&#39;t readily tell people outside its legal walls what happened, what suspicious Internet &mdash; IP &mdash; addresses or malware code hit it. So other potential targets can&#39;t defend themselves.</p><p>Supporters say CISA changes that by letting companies share &quot;cyber threat indicators&quot; with the Department of Homeland Security, which in turn can send out the red alert, share the code and warn others.</p><p><strong>So that <em>doesn&#39;t </em>happen right now?</strong></p><p>Well actually, it does. There are existing initiatives, coordinated by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dhs.gov/ccubedvp">Homeland Security&nbsp;</a>and the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nist.gov/itl/csd/sharing-111014.cfm">National Institute of Standards and Technology</a>, to share threat information. There are also subscription services in the private market.</p><div id="con452343227" previewtitle="Related NPR Stories"><div id="res452343226"><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/cybercrime-proliferates-so-does-demand-insurance-against-it-113315" target="_blank"><img -="" 000="" a="" about="" alt="" and="" been="" checking="" class="image-original_image" company="" consecutive="" construction="" down="" email="" excluding="" five="" following="" hacked="" had="" his="" its="" john="" losses="" mark="" night="" of="" on="" our="" out="" over="" patterson="" period="" s="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/mark_patterson.jpg" style="height: 299px; width: 400px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" system.="" taken="" the="" title="&quot;Over the period of five consecutive nights, excluding weekends, $100,000 a night had been taken out of our checking account, and we were down about $545,000.&quot; - Mark Patterson on his construction company PATCO's losses following its hacked email system. Patterson has since taken out cybercrime insurance to protect his company. (John Ydstie/NPR)" we="" were="" ydstie="" /></a></div></div></div><p>This bill creates a new pipeline. Homeland Security has to share the company&#39;s report &mdash; which may include customers&#39; personally identifiable information &mdash; with the National Security Agency and other spy agencies.</p><p>The Senate bill is coming out of the Intelligence Committee, not the Commerce Committee. It had&nbsp;<a href="http://fedscoop.com/heres-the-amendments-that-could-change-cisa">many amendments</a>. One that failed Tuesday would have required the removal of personally identifiable information before a company shares information about threats.</p><p><strong>Is privacy the&nbsp;main&nbsp;criticism?</strong></p><p>Privacy is a huge issue. Tech giants, which have to rebuild trust with users following the Edward Snowden leaks, have&nbsp;<a href="https://www.decidethefuture.org/#corporate">come out against the bill</a>&nbsp;for that reason.</p><p>Though another concern is simply effectiveness &mdash; or ineffectiveness. There&#39;s a technical problem. Many companies don&#39;t realize they&#39;ve been attacked, either because they&#39;re not investing in services to identify breaches or they&#39;re not reading the data they&#39;ve collected. According to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.verizonenterprise.com/DBIR/2015/">breach report by Verizon</a>, this lag in detection is &quot;one of the primary challenges to the security industry.&quot;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_910189987279.jpg" style="height: 392px; width: 620px;" title="In this Sept. 24, 2015 file photo, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, and Committee Vice Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. listen as Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) Adm. Michael Rogers testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington.The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act is co-sponsored by Feinstein and Burr, who said it was critical to limit increasingly high-profile cyberattacks, such as one suffered by Sony Pictures last year. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)" /></div><p>Lawmakers could have focused on creating mandatory cybersecurity standards for companies, to encourage the firms to invest more in data security. A group of professors who teach cyber law and cybersecurity &mdash; and oppose CISA &mdash; say in a <a href="https://www.elon.edu/e/CmsFile/GetFile?FileID=202">statement</a>:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;Rather than encouraging companies to increase their own cybersecurity standards, CISA ignores that goal and offloads responsibility to a generalized public-private secret information sharing network. CISA creates new law in the wrong places.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p><strong>Does the bill require information-sharing?</strong></p><p>No. Cooperation is voluntary. But there&#39;s a nice incentive built in. Say a company shares too much about its users or customers. The bill eliminates legal liability, so the company can be shielded from private lawsuits and antitrust laws.</p><p>This isn&#39;t the first time we&#39;ve heard about an information-sharing bill to stop hackers. Another failed in 2012. What&#39;s different?</p><p>CISA comes at a different time, politically.</p><p>Back when Democrats controlled the Senate, they blocked a bill with a similar acronym &mdash; CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) &mdash; that had the same thrust. Now Republicans control the Senate.</p><p>And on President Obama&#39;s watch, we&#39;ve had megabreaches like Sony and the federal Office of Personnel Management. He feels pressure to do something. Five days ago, the White House came out in support of the latest bill, saying in a memo that it&#39;s an &quot;<a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/legislative/sap/114/saps754s_20151022.pdf">important building block</a>.&quot;</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2015/10/27/452338925/senate-approves-cybersecurity-bill-what-you-need-to-know?ft=nprml&amp;f=452338925" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 28 Oct 2015 12:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/senate-approves-cybersecurity-bill-what-you-need-know-113539 Is police misconduct a secret in your state? http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-10-15/police-misconduct-secret-your-state-113360 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/police misconduct wnyc.JPG" alt="" /><p><div id="disciplinary-records" style="text-align: justify;">In the weeks after Cleveland Police Officer Tim Loehmann <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/06/tamir_rice_investigation_relea.html" target="_blank">shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice</a> last November, the Cleveland Plain Dealer discovered that Loehmann had <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2014/12/cleveland_police_officer_who_s.html" target="_blank">problems learning to use firearms</a> in his previous job. Plain Dealer reporters could access Loehmann&#39;s files because Ohio is one of a handful of states in which an officer&#39;s disciplinary and personnel records are available to the public. A new investigation by WNYC Reporter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/robertianlewis">Robert Lewis</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="http://datanews.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WNYC&#39;s Data News</a>&nbsp;team finds that these laws vary widely across the country. Gary MacNamara, police chief of Fairfield, Connecticut, discusses the influence of open records on his department.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div id="disciplinary-records">&nbsp;</div><script type="text/javascript" src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/pym/0.4.3/pym.min.js"></script><script type="text/javascript"> (function(){ var pymParent = new pym.Parent( "disciplinary-records", "http://project.wnyc.org/disciplinary-records/?pym=true", {} ); })(); </script></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>More on this investigation:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/hard-truth-about-cops-who-lie/" target="_blank" title="The Hard Truth About Cops Who Lie - WNYC">The Hard Truth About Cops Who Lie</a>&nbsp;&bull;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/when-a-cops-right-to-privacy-undermines-our-right-to-a-fair-trial/" target="_blank">When a Cop&#39;s Right to Privacy Undermines Our Right to a Fair Trial</a>&nbsp;&bull;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wnyc.org/story/new-york-leads-shielding-police-misconduct/" target="_blank" title="New York Leads in Shielding Police Misconduct - WNYC">New York Leads in Shielding Police Misconduct</a>&nbsp;&bull;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/does-public-have-right-police-personnel-records/" target="_blank" title="Is Police Misconduct a Secret in Your State? - The Takeaway">Reporter Robert Lewis Discusses National Implications on The Takeaway</a></em></div><div>&mdash; <a href="http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/does-public-have-right-police-personnel-records/" target="_blank"><em>via The Takeaway</em></a></div></p> Thu, 15 Oct 2015 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/takeaway/2015-10-15/police-misconduct-secret-your-state-113360 'Little Voices' aims to shed light on Fukushima's nuclear aftermath http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-10-07/little-voices-aims-shed-light-fukushimas-nuclear-aftermath-113230 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Lucas%20Wirl%20%282%29.jpg" title="(Photo: Flickr/Lucas Wirl)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/227384329&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">&#39;Little Voices of Fukushima&#39;</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>In her film Little Voices from Fukushima, director Hitomi Kamanaka moves between two communities impacted by nuclear disaster- an area in Belarus that saw the effects of Chernobyl, and a community in Fukushima. Kamanaka looks to Belarus to see what, if any, lessons there might be for Fukushima&rsquo;s residents. Hitomi Kamanaka and Norma Field, professor of Japanese studies at the University of Chicago join us to talk about what&rsquo;s happened in Fukushima since the nuclear disaster struck in 2011.</p><p><strong>Guests:&nbsp;</strong></p><ul><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-6a16040b-441f-02d4-61c3-83986236355e"><a href="http://twitter.com/kama38">Hitomi Kamanaka</a> is the director of </span>Little Voices from Fukushima.</em></li><li><em>Norma Field is a professor of Japanese studies at the University of Chicago.</em></li></ul><div>&nbsp;</div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/227385129&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">European court throws out &#39;Safe Harbor&#39; Agreement</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>The European Court of Justice has ruled that an agreement that allows for the free flowing transfer of data between the US and the EU is not valid. The agreement, known as &ldquo;Safe Harbor&rdquo; had been in effect for 15 years. The court found that the agreement violated the privacy rights of EU citizens because it exposes them to surveillance by the United States government. Thousands of companies, including tech giants like Google and Facebook, have relied on the agreement to transfer information. We&rsquo;ll talk about the ruling and its implications with Jenna McLaughlin, a reporter for The Intercept.</p><p><strong>Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-6a16040b-4424-eaa8-ecfb-3e55e047b85c"><a href="http://twitter.com/JennaMC_Laugh">Jenna McLaughlin</a> is a reporter for <a href="http://twitter.com/@the_intercept">The Intercept</a>.</span></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/227387636&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="font-size: 22px; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Global Notes: The Lyre Ensemble</span></p><div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><p>Every week on Global Notes with Morning Shift and Radio M host Tony Sarabia we explore a facet of world music. Today we dive into really, really old world music, roughly 4,500 year old sounds from ancient Mesopotamia. There are very few people playing and singing this music; enter The Lyre Ensemble. It&rsquo;s a group of Brits who&rsquo;ve dedicated themselves to resurrecting music from that period; instruments as well as language and poetry. The group recently held a performance in the UK. We take a look at the group and its now 12 year old endeavor.</p><p><strong>Guests:</strong>&nbsp;</p><ul><li><em><span id="docs-internal-guid-6a16040b-442a-a08d-3236-6aef9c5a82ee"><a href="http://twitter.com/stefconner">Stef Conner</a> is a member of the Lyre Ensemble . </span></em></li><li><em><span><a href="http://twitter.com/wbezsarabia">Tony Sarabia</a> is host of WBEZ&rsquo;s </span>Morning Shift and Radio M</em></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 07 Oct 2015 15:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-10-07/little-voices-aims-shed-light-fukushimas-nuclear-aftermath-113230 Chicago to track an 'Array of Things' to improve livability http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-track-array-things-improve-livability-112931 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Array-of-Things.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Nowadays, a lot of people sport fitness trackers - wearable devices that monitor a person&rsquo;s steps, heart rate, exercise habits and more. Well, the city of Chicago is hoping to expand on the idea to track the city&rsquo;s fitness.</p><p>The project &mdash; called<a href="https://arrayofthings.github.io/"> The Array of Things</a> (AoT) &mdash; will install modular sensor boxes on city street light posts that measure things like climate, air quality and noise.</p><p>The project is a collaboration between the University of Chicago, the Argonne National Laboratory, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.</p><p>The sensors will collect data on other things that present urban challenges, like foot and vehicle traffic, noise vibrations and weather. With plans to install 500 by 2017, they&rsquo;ll actually be able to measure weather block-by-block.</p><p>Pete Beckman is co-director of the Northwestern-Argonne Institute for Science and Engineering.</p><p>Beckman said that for now, AoT is an experiment, but when put into practice, the nodes could collect data to make the city more livable.</p><p>&ldquo;If we understood the data better, could we predict, for example, what life might be like in a city with respect to air quality (by examining) zones in the city that have more electric vehicles,&rdquo; Beckman said.</p><p>Beckman explained that the data could allow the city to quickly respond to urban challenges like traffic jams or flooding.</p><p>&ldquo;We also might imagine understanding what are the ways that people really get from point A to point B when they&rsquo;re walking around the city, and what can be done to improve those areas,&rdquo; Beckman said.</p><p>In recent years, the city of Chicago has put a lot of emphasis on collecting data - like how many snow plows are out - that can be delivered to the public. Beckman noted that AoT is part of that trend.</p><p>Brenna Berman, Chief Information Officer for the City of Chicago, said the data could lead to policy changes, too.</p><p>&ldquo;I think even more exciting is actually some of the ideas we haven&rsquo;t even come up with yet,&rdquo; Berman explained. &ldquo;One of the things that we&rsquo;ve learned from our open data program so far is that the more data we make available to our residents and community groups and researchers, the more amazing ideas they come up with to make the city a better place to live.&rdquo;</p><p>The National Science Foundation awarded the project $3.1 million as part of the White House&rsquo;s <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/09/14/fact-sheet-administration-announces-new-%E2%80%9Csmart-cities%E2%80%9D-initiative-help">Smart Cities</a> initiative, which was announced Monday.</p><p>The first sensors are set to be installed in early 2016.</p><p><em>Meredith Francis is a WBEZ news intern. Follow her </em><a href="https://twitter.com/MMLFrancis"><em>@MMLFrancis</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Tue, 15 Sep 2015 08:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-track-array-things-improve-livability-112931 A checkup on Chicago's health data http://www.wbez.org/news/checkup-chicagos-health-data-112847 <p><div>Four years ago, in a sweaty Humboldt Park Fieldhouse, <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-08-17/health/ct-met-healthy-chicago-20110817_1_health-care-breast-cancer-public-health" target="_blank">Mayor Rahm Emanuel launched</a> a bold new plan he called <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/dam/city/depts/cdph/CDPH/PublicHlthAgenda2011.pdf" target="_blank">Healthy Chicago</a>.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Joined by the health commissioner, the mayor pinpointed 16 key health issues--including teen pregnancy, smoking, stroke death, breast cancer and asthma. They set 2020 &nbsp;progress goals for each of those health issues and promised yearly--even monthly--updates on where Chicagoans stood.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;By having a clear mission with clear priorities and having a way to measure them and make sure we are not only setting goals but achieving them...we will have the greatest impact on our public health,&rdquo; Emanuel said at the time.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But four years later--about halfway into the 2020 plan--health department officials say they still don&rsquo;t know where we stand on most of them.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The era of big data brought big promises from the Emanuel administration, but, for a host of reasons, delivering on pledges to post timely health updates didn&rsquo;t happen.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Over time what we&rsquo;ve realized is that the data were not always available in a timely fashion,&rdquo; said &nbsp;Health Commissioner Julie Morita who took office this spring. Today, she says, she can update about seven of the original 16 goals. On the others, there&rsquo;s just not enough information.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>For instance, the <a href="https://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/cdph/CDPH/HealthyChicagoAnnualReport2013.pdf" target="_blank">most recent data the department released</a> on stroke deaths, birth weight, birth rate and breast cancer came from 2009. The most recent data it has on produce consumption, teen smoking, dating violence and blood pressure comes from 2011.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And this information isn&rsquo;t just interesting for journalists who want to keep tabs on city promises, it can be critical to smart funding decisions and, more important, for tracking disease.</div><div>Dr. David Ansell leads the <a href="http://www.chicagobreastcancer.org/" target="_blank">Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force</a>, which is trying to close the breast cancer mortality gap between black and white patients in Chicago. But he&rsquo;s had to rely almost entirely on data from the federal government. That&rsquo;s because, Ansell and others report, essential local health information is getting bottlenecked at the state level.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s almost impossible to get the data from the state cancer registry,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;And I think it&rsquo;s a major public health problem&hellip;. It&rsquo;s almost as if they have the data but they don&rsquo;t share it in a way that&rsquo;s useful. This is a matter of life and death because the goal is to improve the life conditions of the people in Chicago and state--and its absence is a travesty.&rdquo;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/HC%20chart.jpg" style="text-align: center; height: 375px; width: 600px;" title="These charts showed where Chicago was and where we wanted to be in 2020 but most of them can’t be updated with the current data available. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></div><div>Illinois Department of Public Health director Nirav Shah points out that the Illinois Cancer Registry has<a href="http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/press13/6.6.13_Cancer_Registry_Receives_Highest_Award.htm" target="_blank"> earned awards</a> as recently as 2013 for 2010 data collection. But he also says he wasn&rsquo;t aware of concerns about data bottlenecks in his department. And, he explains, data sharing is a complicated process.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Even after data are reported, such as for cancer, they have to then be collected in accordance with federal standards for privacy and quality,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We have to make sure that the data are maintained in a secure fashion and that nothing gets out the door that shouldn&rsquo;t get out the door. And that the data on file are of high quality that they have not been duplicated. They also have to be checked for accuracy. That process is not an easy one, and it does take some time.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Indeed, privacy and duplication concerns play a role in slowing the data. But many say methods for addressing them are getting better and faster. Indeed, several local initiatives are underway to improve speed, compatibility and accessibility of health data. But they may not bear fruit for a few years,</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the meantime, Health Commissioner Morita is working on Healthy Chicago 2.0, a program that will be unveiled later this year. She says it will create a new set of health priorities for the city, and this time, ensure that systems are in place to actually keep track of the progress.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The plan will also have the benefit of new data generated by the department itself. Late last year CDPH launched the first Healthy Chicago survey. It was done with more than 2,500 residents who answered a battery of health questions by phone.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I feel like it&rsquo;s a recognition of the need to have timely data in areas of concern,&rdquo; Morita said. &ldquo;So we can definitely allocate our resources in the appropriate places.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>While a 2,500-person survey can sound puny, health data experts say that a well-conducted survey of that size could actually be very valuable. Currently a lot of our information comes from the national &nbsp;Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which only captures a few hundred Chicagoans.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Plus, Morita says, after this first baseline year, subsequent annual surveys will be able to tell us how Chicago&rsquo;s doing year-to-year. And eventually, &ldquo;we&rsquo;ll be able to get down to the community level so we can have health estimates on disease right down to the community level. So we&rsquo;re really looking forward to having that information available in a timely manner.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ producer and co-host of the Chewing The Fat podcast. Follow her at <a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng" target="_blank">@monicaeng</a> or write to her at <a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org.?subject=Chicago%E2%80%99s%20health%20data%20checkup">meng@wbez.org.</a></em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 04 Sep 2015 15:57:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/checkup-chicagos-health-data-112847 Chicagoans prep for massive 'civic hackathon' http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagoans-prep-massive-civic-hackathon-107327 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/hackathon11.jpg" alt="" /><p></p> Thu, 23 May 2013 11:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicagoans-prep-massive-civic-hackathon-107327 Aaron Swartz dies http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-born-internet-activist-aaron-swartz-dies-26-104883 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Aaron Swartz.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago-born Internet activist Aaron Swartz took his own life in his New York City apartment on Friday, <a href="http://tech.mit.edu/V132/N61/swartz.html" target="_blank">according to his uncle Michael Wolf</a>.<br /><br />Swartz, who at 14 co-authored<a href="http://purl.org/rss/1.0/"> the RSS 1.0 specification</a>, which is widely used for publishing news stories, was often described as a brilliant thinker and architect in the Internet freedom movement <a href="http://boingboing.net/2013/01/12/rip-aaron-swartz.html#more-205376">by his close friends</a>. He was also considered an early builder of the social news and entertainment website <a href="http://www.reddit.com/">Reddit</a>.<br /><br />On July 11, 2011, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/us/20compute.html?ref=us&amp;_r=0">Swartz was charged</a> with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and recklessly damaging a protected computer in relation to downloading roughly 4 million documents from a digital storage library at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology known as JSTOR.<br /><br />Known for liberating public information from bureaucracy and fees associated with processing data, Swartz founded Demand Progress, which he used to fight the Internet censorship bills <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act">SOPA</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PROTECT_IP_Act">PIPA</a> introduced by Congress.<br /><br /><a href="https://twitter.com/search/realtime?q=aaron+swartz&amp;src=typd">Twitter erupted with the news</a> early Saturday morning, and friends and admirers across the country eulogized Swartz in expected ways, but they also <a href="http://boingboing.net/2013/01/12/rip-aaron-swartz.html#more-205376">candidly discussed</a> his fight with depression, his ongoing battle with the feds that might have landed him up to 30 years in prison and his distinctive personality that made him such a presence in the tech world.<br /><br />Swartz&rsquo; Chicago connections are deep. When the FBI investigated him for downloading and publicly releasing 20 percent of PACER, a database of federal court documents, Swartz filed a Freedom of Information Act request and found that <a href="http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/fbifile">agents had cased his house at 349 Marshman Ave. in Highland Park, Ill.</a>, looking for him.<br /><br />Swartz also was affiliated with many in Chicago&rsquo;s open data movement.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.derivativeworks.com/">Dan X. O&rsquo;Neil</a>, co-founder of <a href="http://www.everyblock.com/">EveryBlock</a> as well as Executive Director of the <a href="http://www.smartchicagocollaborative.org/">Smart Chicago Collaborative</a>, a civic organization devoted to improving lives in Chicago through technology, said he met Swartz in 2007 when he worked on the <a href="https://public.resource.org/8_principles.html">8 Principles of Open Government Data</a> along with O&rsquo;Neil and <a href="http://www.holovaty.com/">Adrian Holovaty</a>, founder of EveryBlock and another influential programmer from Chicago.<br /><br />&ldquo;Those principles have been enormously influential in shaping policy in the last five years,&quot; O&#39;Neil told WBEZ on Saturday.&nbsp;</p><p>O&#39;Neil also<a href="http://www.derivativeworks.com/2013/01/aaron-swartz-an-appreciation.html"> wrote in tribute</a> to Swartz&#39; life, &quot;I&rsquo;m so thankful for what you did with your time on Earth. Thank you.&quot;</p><p>Swartz, a <a href="http://www.ethics.harvard.edu/">Harvard Ethics Center Fellow</a>, was considered an Internet folk hero for his activism, technical knowledge and passion for providing access to information, and many people took to Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and Tumblr to eulogize him.&nbsp;</p><p>One Reddit user gave a particularly poignant eulogy: &ldquo;Great minds carry heavy burdens.&quot;</p><p>Historian and writer Rick Perlstein wrote an<a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/172187/aaron-swartz#"> obit in <em>The Nation</em></a> where he eulogized Swartz like this: &quot;I remember always thinking that he always seemed too sensitive for this world we happen to live in, and I remember him working so mightily, so heroically, to try to bend the world into a place more hospitable to people like him, which also means hospitable to people like us.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://rememberaaronsw.tumblr.com/">In an official statement</a>, the family and partner of Aaron Swartz wrote: &ldquo;Aaron&rsquo;s insatiable curiosity, creativity, and brilliance; his reflexive empathy and capacity for selfless, boundless love; his refusal to accept injustice as inevitable&mdash;these gifts made the world, and our lives, far brighter. We&rsquo;re grateful for our time with him, to those who loved him and stood with him, and to all of those who continue his work for a better world.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>The family is inviting those who knew Aaron to contribute their memories to a <a href="http://rememberaaronsw.tumblr.com/">Tumblr set up in his honor</a>.</p><p>A funeral will be held at Central Avenue Synogogue in Highland Park on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 10 a.m. His family will be announcing memorials taking place in other cities <a href="http://rememberaaronsw.com">here</a>.</p><p><em>Contact <a href="mailto:takimoff@wbez.org">Tim Akimoff</a></em></p></p> Sat, 12 Jan 2013 13:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-born-internet-activist-aaron-swartz-dies-26-104883 Number of TANF cases remains low, even in recession http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/number-tanf-cases-remains-low-even-recession-104375 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/DHSoffice.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><script type="text/javascript" src="http://public.tableausoftware.com/javascripts/api/viz_v1.js"></script></p><div class="tableauPlaceholder" style="width:604px; height:629px;"><noscript><a href="#"><img alt="Dashboard 2 " src="http:&#47;&#47;public.tableausoftware.com&#47;static&#47;images&#47;TA&#47;TANFPoverty&#47;Dashboard2&#47;1_rss.png" style="border: none" /></a></noscript><object class="tableauViz" height="629" style="display:none;" width="604"><param name="host_url" value="http%3A%2F%2Fpublic.tableausoftware.com%2F" /><param name="site_root" value="" /><param name="name" value="TANFPoverty/Dashboard2" /><param name="tabs" value="no" /><param name="toolbar" value="yes" /><param name="static_image" value="http://public.tableausoftware.com/static/images/TA/TANFPoverty/Dashboard2/1.png" /><param name="animate_transition" value="yes" /><param name="display_static_image" value="yes" /><param name="display_spinner" value="yes" /><param name="display_overlay" value="yes" /><param name="display_count" value="yes" /></object></div><div style="width:604px;height:22px;padding:0px 10px 0px 0px;color:black;font:normal 8pt verdana,helvetica,arial,sans-serif;"><div style="float:right; padding-right:8px;"><a href="http://www.tableausoftware.com/public?ref=http://public.tableausoftware.com/views/TANFPoverty/Dashboard2" target="_blank">Powered by Tableau</a></div></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F71161503" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Ronia Houston is a case manager for people receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the program most people think of as welfare.</p><p>Caseworkers make sure clients fill out the paperwork and follow the rules to get help with childcare, work training and other financial support they need to provide for themselves and their families.</p><p>In Illinois, there are 852 cases per every case worker. That&rsquo;s nearly triple the number of cases in 2001.</p><p>Houston says one of her clients is always in crisis. They can&rsquo;t cover heating bills or get kicked out of their home and need to find a shelter on short notice. Her clients need to find jobs in order to get assistance. But many have nowhere near the education to even apply for most jobs.</p><p>Houston says she doesn&rsquo;t have the time or resources to give every client the attention they need.</p><p>That saddens her, since Houston herself grew up on welfare and remembers what it felt like to be treated as a number.</p><p>&ldquo;I always tell my co-workers about being a child receiving public assistance and being in the public aid office for hours at a time. Telling my mom, when are we going to leave this place? When your parent has been degraded in that moment, you are aware of that as a child,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Everyday, she makes hard choices about where to spend her limited time. She watches her fellow employees do the same.</p><p>&ldquo;If a worker has a caseload of 1,500, you are asking them to play Russian Roulette with someone&rsquo;s life because they have to decide do I do food stamps first? Do I process Medical first?&rdquo; Houston said.</p><p>Jennifer Wagner is the Associate Director for the Illinois Department of Human Services.</p><p>She says their local offices are overwhelmed by the demand. And that unfortunately, means some applicants just give up.</p><p>&ldquo;People may have to apply more than once. They may have to submit paperwork more than once, in order to actually get on. And for some applicants that burden is just too great to bear,&rdquo; Wagner said.</p><p>That&rsquo;s especially true for programs like cash assistance, the program that provides welfare funds directly to families. Its clients have more requirements to reach and paperwork to fill out.</p><p>Liz Schott is a Senior Fellow at The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. She says Illinois is one of the weaker safety nets for poor children.<br /><br />She points to the most recent numbers: For years 2010 and 2011, for every 100 poor families with poor children, 13 of them got cash assistance.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s half the national average.<br /><br />That means in Illinois, if your family is amongst the very poor and without a job, you are less likely to receive welfare. There are lots of reasons our numbers may be low.<br /><br />In the 1990s and early 2000s, Illinois systematically moved people away from TANF. Caseworkers scheduled frequent, mandatory meetings that determined benefit eligibility. When people found it hard to keep those meetings, the number of cases fell significantly.<br /><br />Schott says Illinois has made it easier for families in recent years. And we are now serving more poor families that we use too. But she says we still have a long ways to go.<br /><br />For example, the maximum benefit for a family of three is $432 a month or $5,184 per year. That&rsquo;s nowhere near enough to bring families above the poverty line.<br /><br />Jennifer Wagner agrees that improvements can be made but says times are tight for local governments.<br /><br />&ldquo;There is a lot of recognition at the state level about how valuable this program is. It is part of the budget talks, regularly. That doesn&rsquo;t mean there is always money for it,&rdquo; she said.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s no comfort to Ronia Houston who struggles everyday to properly serve her clients. She wants to find ways to help people and says it&rsquo;s difficult when caseworkers need the time and space to figure out each client&rsquo;s individual needs.<br /><br />&ldquo;If you had more people working on cases, caseworkers wouldn&rsquo;t be faced with the dilemma of &lsquo;Do I give this person life with their medication, or do I feed this person,&rsquo;&rdquo; Houston said.<br /><br />The original legislation for TANF was created during a period of economic boom, when more jobs were available. The program did receive some money as part of the economic stimulus bill but that program has ended, and that money is no longer available.<br /><br />The bill that sets the federal guidelines for TANF is up for renewal. Advocates hope that a few details about the program, including funding, will be reviewed before then.</p></p> Fri, 14 Dec 2012 06:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/number-tanf-cases-remains-low-even-recession-104375