Snapchat and the Future of an Erasable Internet
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Snapchat and the Future of an Erasable Internet

Privacy and the Internet is one of the defining controversies of our age. Apps like Snapchat promise temporary, fleeting ways to communicate, with data disappearing nearly as fast you send it. Guest host Barbara Bogaev looks into how well they deliver on this promise, and whether they could be the model for the future. Also, Iraq sees an uptick in sectarian violence, and we take a comparative look at the companies that offer analysis of your genetic traits and health conditions.

Banner image: Sean Habibi

Making News

Iraq Sees Uptick in Sectarian Violence ()

Fighting continues in Iraq today as government forces try to wrest control of two key towns from Sunni militants linked to Al Qaeda. The violence takes place in western Anbar province, near Syria. Militant troops have reportedly taken over police stations and jails. Government troops are responding with air strikes, tanks and mortars. Matt Bradley is the Middle East correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.

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Main Topic

This Post Will Self-Destruct in 7 Seconds ()

With every click, tap and swipe on our digital devices we're creating massive amounts of data — messages, purchases, status updates – and we're archiving everything we do for companies, security agencies and other interested parties to see, sometimes without our permission. How to deal with the burden of our data trails? Some people are turning to more fleeting forms of communication like Snapchat and Whisper, apps that erase photos and messages almost immediately after they're opened. Imagine an Internet that leaves no trace. Could these ephemeral forms of communication be a model for a new way of living our lives online, less burdened by data storage and our digital histories?

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Today's Talking Point

Home Genetic Testing ()

New technology is flooding the market with home genetics testing. For $99 and a swab of your cheek, 23andMe offers consumers ancestry data and, until recently, personalized information about genetic traits and health conditions. In November, that part of the service was suspended, when the Food and Drug Administration ordered the company to stop marketing what it claims is a diagnostic device requiring FDA pre-approval. Kira Peikoff is a graduate student in bioethics at Columbia University. She was curious to see what we're missing with the FDA ban in place, and decided to compare the accuracy of three of the home genetics testing kits.

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