The Triangle - The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

Tech Tuesday – June 3, 2014

App Alert: Check

On a campus where managing 20 credits, three extra-curricular activities and an on-campus job isn’t the exception, it can be difficult remembering to do things that aren’t part of our daily regimen. Just like you don’t want to incur penalties for turning an assignment in late; missing the due date of your credit card bill is equally painful.

checkRather than paying with imaginary points that likely will not matter five years from now, late fees add up while making your credit score go down. Free mobile and web application Check helps you keep track of all of your bills and their due dates. Additionally, Check allows you to pay your bills directly from the app without any additional fees. This means that when you’re reminded to pay your bill while you’re busy studying on Friday night, you can actually pay it instead of dismissing the alert and forgetting to do it later.

Featured on sites like Forbes, Bloomberg and CNN Money, Check is a secure way to dodge late fees and keep your focus on the things that matter — like whether or not that post on Yik Yak is true or spending quality time with your cat. While you’re procrastinating studying for exams, give Check a try here: https://check.me/.

Working World: #Selfie
selfieBut first — let me take a selfie. Or let’s not and say we did. An article posted by The New York Times reported that the National Security Agency is using selfies as a way to build up “the largest facial imagery database in the federal government.” Despite the privacy laws that are currently in place, there are no privacy laws with regards to facial recognition data.

TechCrunch reports that documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA “intercepts ‘millions’ of images per day —including about 55,000 ‘facial recognition quality images.’” Social networking sites like Facebook have employed their own in-house facial recognition software to make tagging images easier and less time consuming. All of this data that’s being collected on selfie sites such as Instagram, however, is potentially accessible by the NSA and can be used to improve their facial recognition software called PittPatt, a Google-owned company.

If you ever need an excuse to not take a selfie, this may be it, but I want to know what you think. Is this as big brother as technology gets right now or something that you think could help the NSA to implement precision targeting?

Maria Elena Marinelli is a junior information technology major and the assistant web production manager for The Triangle.