Education Funding, Milwaukee Hip Hop, “Technocreep”

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Technology is creeping deeper into our lives resulting in sacrifices of privacy. We talk to a cybersecurity expert on what information we are giving up and who is using it. We also check in on the Milwaukee Hip Hop scene and review the Department of Public Instruction’s request for a $613 million increase in funding during the next two years.

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  • Cybersecurity Expert Concerned By Rise Of ‘Creepy Technology’

    Cybersecurity experts say people are often unaware of the extent to which their personal data is being used and how their privacy might be at risk — often through the very technology they use every day.

    The new iPhone unlocks after reading an owner’s thumbprint. Fitness bracelets monitor heart rates and track every taken step throughout a day. Grocery store membership cards log food purchases. YouTube recognizes which videos a user watches and offers recommendations. There are refrigerators that beep when the milk is low.

    Thomas Keenan, a fellow at the Canadian Information Processing Society and the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, said he thinks technology is getting more invasive and is eroding our privacy more than ever. He examined the rise in “creepy” technology in his new book, “Technocreep: The Surrender of Privacy and the Capitalization of Intimacy.”

    “Technology is rapidly moving into our bodies, and this book gives a chilling look ahead into where that road may lead us — on a one way trip to the total surrender of privacy and the commoditization of intimacy,” Keenan said.

    There is a giant marketplace for the personal information derived from our technological devices. Keenan said an individual’s personal computer habits is worth at least $500 a year to Google.

    “The reality is there is this value that’s imputed into your information and some of that info can be quite valuable. It could also be quite sensitive,” said Keenan.

    Companies aggregate data from a variety of places to build virtual identities that help turn consumer behavior into marketing strategies, with email addresses holding it all together.

    “Your email is like your Social Security number. It ties all these things together. And the reality is, you can creep on people that way,” Kennan said.

    In the book, Keenan outlines how one company is working to create “smart shelves” in grocery stores which could target coupon advertisements based on a customer’s previous shopping habits. Keenan also learned of a Australian market that sent audio beam directly to shoppers that only a single individual could hear. It would say, for example, “Organic bananas are healthier and they’re on sale this week.” Sales went up 152 percent in some cases.

    “The creepy part is we don’t know,” said Keenan. “This is all secret sauce within government and companies and it’s going on all around us.”

  • Young Artists Help Raise National Profile Of Milwaukee Hip-Hop Scene

    While hip-hop music in Milwaukee is nothing new, an infusion of new and interesting music is causing something of a resurgence in the scene, and the national media is starting to take notice.

    Tyrone Miller has been closely involved with Milwaukee’s hip-hop community and said he’s genuinely excited about what’s happening. Miller is more commonly known as DJ Bizzon, one of the hosts of “Those Hip-Hop Guys” on WMSE Radio (91.7) in Milwaukee.

    He said the early 2000s were a great time for hip-hop in Milwaukee.

    “There was so much support throughout with the venues around the city,” he said. “You had a hip-hop show or a hip-hop-themed night going on almost every night of the week. If you were a new artist trying to get involved, there were very easy avenues to do that.”

    In the late 2000s, things began to slow down. Venues closed and fewer shows took place around the city, making it harder for hip-hop fans to stay engaged.

    But now, things have changed, and Bizzon said the scene is once again booming. He credits that in part to a shift in the kind of rap that’s seen in the national mainstream.

    “You see a national artist like a Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole, rapping about and speaking about what they want to talk about, and not having to kind of conform to industry standards or dumb themselves down,” he said. “I think that brought some energy.”

    A lot of that energy is coming from young, upcoming artists who are eschewing traditional means of gaining publicity for themselves. Instead of waiting for radio shows and music reviewers to pick up their songs, they’re connecting directly with listeners over the Internet and social media.

    “It’s really cool to see some of these younger artists — and we’re talking about 16, 17, 18 — really being independent and doing their own thing,” Bizzon said. “They can do whatever they want, and people will see it, people will hear it, and people will pay attention.”

    One artist that Bizzon singled out as a good example of this phenomenon is 18-year-old IshDARR, who had initially reached out to Bizzon over the music site SoundCloud.

    “It was really great, it was really interesting, it was really creative from all angles,” Bizzon said of the music, which is now starting to get some national attention.

    Bizzon said he also sees Milwaukee pride shining through in much of the music coming from these artists.

    “Everyone who’s emceeing now, they are always talking about Milwaukee, always speaking highly of it,” he said.

    He noted that many of the artists feel like Milwaukee doesn’t get the credit it deserves for its music scene, and they’re doing their best to promote it.

    Because of all of this, Bizzon said he foresees Milwaukee really becoming a major player on the national hip-hop scene.

    “The issue has been, we have all these talented artists, we have all of this creativity, we have all of this interesting music, but how do we get it out?” he said. “The fact that people can now look at national media outlets and see Milwaukee on the list, that’ll make them want to pay attention more.

    For more information, check out music videos Bizzon recommended from Milwaukee-based hip-hop artists IshDARR, WebsterX, and Pizzle

    Editor’s Note: Warning: Videos might contain explicit language.

  • Department Of Public Instruction Asks For A $613 Million Increase In Funding

    The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction announced Monday that it is seeking an additional $613 million dollars in funding from the state budget during the coming two years. The proposal would change the state’s public school funding formula, which has been criticized as exacerbating inequalities among affluent and poor public schools districts. It would also increase the amount of money that schools can raise through local taxes.

  • Milwaukee's Hip Hop Scene Is Making A Comeback

    Milwaukee DJs Bizzon and Jank, also known as “Those Hip Hop Guys,” say that after a slowdown in the late 2000s and early teens, Milwaukee’s hip hop scene is seeing a resurgence.

  • Cybersecurity Expert Says Technology Getting More Invasive Than Ever

    Technology is getting more invasive and is eroding our privacy more than ever before. That’s according to a cybersecurity expert, who looks at the rise in ‘creepy’ technology, what kind of information its gathering from us, and who ultimately gets their hands on it.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Galen Druke Producer
  • Thomas Keenan Guest
  • Tyrone Miller Guest
  • Erin Richards Guest
  • Damon Joy Guest

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