Q: I have a Ring video doorbell and am deeply concerned about my rights. Can the police department get access to the footage? I heard this is happening.
A: Video evidence is gold in prosecutions, so, understandably, the police would be interested in seizing street-level surveillance.
But Ring owners should be aware of how their service can be used and their rights when law enforcement comes knocking. Owned by Amazon, Ring has garnered a lot of criticism from civil liberties experts, and nobody wants to live in a full-on panopticon. Make sure you know what you’re signing up for. On my site, I have a map that shows the over 400 police departments working with Ring: https://bit.ly/2kAA56n (Ed. note: The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department does not have a content-sharing arrangement per Amazon’s law enforcement-partnership website map; however, the city of Santa Clarita has helped about 1,000 city residents get a discounted Ring camera through a special rebate offer.)
Q: I have cancer. I want to set things up now for my passing. Can I have Google delete my account when I die?
A: First off, my heart goes out to you. I have lost many loved ones, and I know how significant this time is to you.
Putting your affairs in order can be a major concern, and in a digital world, we all have to recognize what a footprint we will leave behind. Managing your virtual life can be as significant as a living will and last rites.
Rest assured that you can delete your Google account, along with all the data you have personally stored. This won’t include material that’s been copied or has seeped into other accounts, but you will be able to erase your Gmail, Calendar, YouTube, Drive, Docs and other connected applications.
(Click here for more information on Komando’s website on deleting your web history. https://bit.ly/2kcQXjw.)
Q: Is there an easy way to remove people from photos? Sometimes, the picture would be perfect if the people were not in the shot!
A: I am going to recommend the Bye Bye Camera App, but before you go ahead and download it, you should know how weird this thing is. Bye Bye doesn’t just remove random people who obstruct a picture; it removes all people, making it appear that nobody was there in the first place. It’s shockingly effective, but a little bit disturbing.
The app was developed as an art project, not for strictly practical use. So if you have a landscape that would look better without any human obstruction, this is the app for you. If you just want to nix some photo-bombers and unwanted exes, you’ll probably have to learn a little Photoshop – or use a free editing program like GIMP.