Neal Walters conducts policy research and analysis on issues that affect the financial security of older persons. He has written a variety of reports on matters relating to financial information privacy, identity theft, affordable home utilities, prepaid cards, credit reporting and the subprime mortgage market.

¿Qué es el ‘internet de las cosas’ y cómo nos afecta?

Hemos escuchado últimamente acerca del “Internet of Things” (IoT, “internet de las cosas”). Generalmente, el debate gira alrededor de temas relacionados con la privacidad de datos y la seguridad cibernética. Entonces, ¿qué es el internet de las cosas y de qué se trata todo el alboroto? El internet de las cosas se refiere a la variedad de dispositivos que pueden comunicarse con las redes externas. Si bien todos nos damos cuenta de que nuestras computadoras y teléfonos inteligentes se conectan …

The Thing About the Internet of Things

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about the “Internet of Things” (IoT). Often, the discussion revolves around issues associated with data privacy and cybersecurity. So what is the IoT and what’s all the fuss about? IoT refers to the ever-expanding array of devices that can communicate to external networks. While we all realize our computers and smartphones are connecting to the outside world, more and more devices such as fitness trackers, cameras, cars and thermostats are doing so as well. …

Once More Unto the Security Breach

For the third time this year, I opened an unmarked envelope to find a new credit card glued to the insert. Actually, it wasn’t a new card. Just a replacement for my current card, now unusable because of a security breach somewhere. I’ll be amazed if this card makes it to the end of the year. Sound familiar? Security Breaches on a Massive Scale Huge data breaches affecting millions of American consumers seem to be happening with regularity these days. …

Have Efforts to Create a Do-Not-Track List Derailed?

The brightly colored running shoes stare back at me from my computer screen. They’ve been following me from website to website — ever since I clicked on them while browsing an online store the week before. The shoes aren’t supposed to follow me like this. I’ve set my browser to send a message to each website I visit expressing my desire to opt out of such tracking. But here come the shoes again. And again. What happened to the online …

Is Someone Following You Around the Store as You Shop?

Well, they might be – if you are one of the 58 percent of adult Americans who own a smartphone. Each smartphone broadcasts a unique identifying code through signals emitted as the phone searches for available networks. Retailers can track these signals and follow the in-store movements of customers as they shop. Most consumers understand that online stores track shoppers as they navigate around their websites. Yet, few realize some brick-and-mortar retail stores and shopping malls are using smartphone mobile analytics …

The Heat Is on Summer Electric Bills

The 2014 summer cooling season is turning into an expensive and potentially unsafe one for older consumers who live on a fixed income. Though many welcome the heat after a harsh winter, the frigid temperatures of this past winter are causing higher electric bills this summer. Consumers hoping to escape the high utility bills they faced during winter will find little relief. A colder-than-normal winter triggered record demand for natural gas to meet home heating needs. As a result, natural gas reserves …