Morning Memo 5/13

Facebook reviews privacy policy
According to, Facebook is expected to hold a meeting today at 4pm PST to discuss the company's privacy policy, and changes to this policy may be announced.  The company is facing increasing pressure from Congress, public interest groups, the public, bloggers about it's "Instant Personalization" plan and it's many and recent privacy glitches.

SCVNGR adds gaming to the location-based apps
Today, SCVNGR is available for download for the iPhone and Android.  The app allows users to take on challenges at various destinations – used to be universities, cities and retailers paid to create the game.  GigaOm says that now, the app allows users to create challenges for locations.  While location-based apps are seen as the next big boom, this app takes the idea to an entirely new level. 

Mashable talked with 21-year-old CEO Seth Priebatsch about what the app can do that others can't.

The government wants to stop contraband cell calls
On Wednesday, the Department of Commerce asked for information on gadgets that can stop the use of cell phones in prisons, saying "the illicit use of cell phones by prisoners is a danger top ublic safety and must be addressed."  The National Telecommunications and Information Administration is coming up with a plan to find out how jamming and detection devices can help this effort.  They say:

To assist in its evaluation of these technologies, NTIA requests information from the public on technologies that would significantly reduce or eliminate contraband cell phone use without negatively affecting commercial wireless and public safety services (including 911 calls and other government radio services) in areas surrounding prisons. Comments are requested on or before June 11, 2010.

Ars Technica reports on this issue.

Solar power's bright future
A new report published by the International Energy Agency says solar power will make up almost 25% of the world's electricity supplies by 2050.  CNN's got the story.  Right now, solar power is at .5% of total electricity supplies.  Solar energy is becoming more accessible, and just recently, MIT unveiled the first solar cell printed on a sheet of paper.

Student webcam security
The FBI now has access to evidence for the case involving the near 7,000 student school district in Pennsylvania.  The district is in trouble for sending laptop computers equipped with webcams home with students.  The district allegedly took tens of thousands of photos of the students without their knowledge. has the latest.

Wal-Mart boosts its electronics department
Early next week, you can buy big name brands of electronic devices, including TVs and smartphones – Samsung, Sony, Apple and so on.  While this department hasn't brought in the big bucks for Wal-Mart, the big-box retailer sees this as an opportunity to expand its reach.  It is yet to be seen whether this will provide major competition for other gadget retailers, like Best Buy.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation