Exclusive: How Technology Revolutionized The Abortion Debate – And Made Americans More Pro-Life

Photo Credit: GPL. (Creative Commons)

In the age of the Internet, virtually any business or organization that shuns technological advances does so at its own peril. In some cases, however, a strong online presence serves an even higher purpose than protecting market share or increasing a company’s bottom line.

For those whose mission it is to protect the lives of the unborn, the Internet has provided a level playing field for the free exchange of ideas. This trend has correlated with surveys indicating that Americans in general are growing less supportive of abortion on demand.

Western Journalism recently spoke to officials involved in two leading pro-life groups who explained the benefits of sharing their message online. Online for Life President Brian Fisher has made it his mission to leverage the power of the Internet while Pro-Life Action League assistance communications director Matthew Yonke explained his organization utilizes technology to expand its reach.

“Prior to the expansion of digital communications,” Yonke said, “the Pro-Life Action League had to communicate through print and phone exclusively, and often by our National Director, Joe Scheidler, traveling across the country to meet with individual right-to-life groups to inspire more people to activism.”

He said that, while those techniques are still being employed across the nation, the Internet has allowed the organization to use its human resources more effectively while recruiting and equipping “hundreds of thousands more people to fight abortion through direct, grassroots activism and prayer presence at abortion clinics.”

In addition to the group’s website, Yonke stressed the importance of social media sites, which he said plays a significant role “both in sharing the kind of activism we’re doing with the world and in allowing people to reach out to us for help getting involved.”

Fisher echoed Yonke’s sentiment regarding the potential for social impact the Internet provides those in the pro-life movement, recalling the motivation behind creating Online for Life.

“There are over two million Internet searches a month in the U.S. for abortion-related terms,” he explained, “so we just determined many hurting women were using the Internet to find abortion options or just information.”

He too touted social media, calling sites like Facebook “probably our strongest way to connect with like-minded communities.”

With hundreds of thousands of Facebook users interacting with his group, he said his is “the most active pro-life social community in the world.”

By taking feedback seriously and encouraging that interaction, he said the group has been able to extend its influence and partner with many other groups.

Another unique aspect of a strong online presence, Fisher noted, is the promise of “virtually instant feedback.”

He described the organization’s leadership as “data junkies,” individuals from the private sector interested in quick results and open to trying new approaches based on the data they receive.

“That knowledge helps us to improve our outreach over time,” he said.

Pro-Life Action League offers links to a litany of other groups with an online presence, signaling a level of partnership unimaginable prior to the Internet.

“It certainly is easier to work together with other organizations these days,” Yonke acknowledged. “For example, the Pro-Life Action League collaborated with dozens of other pro-life and pro-religious freedom groups on our ‘Stand Up for Religious Freedom’ rallies against the [Department of Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate] in 2012. Almost all of the work that went into rallying hundreds of thousands of people to nationwide rallies in hundreds of cities was organized from our offices here in Chicago.”

If not for the Internet, he insisted, “that kind of collaboration would have been impossible.”

While technology’s inherent democracy does not specifically favor the pro-life position, Yonke explained that it does make it easier to combat the misleading rhetoric emanating from the pro-abortion camp.

“Certainly the expanded reach technology has given us has made it harder for pro-abortion forces to push their obfuscations like claiming a baby in the womb being ‘just a blob of tissue,’” he said. “Ultrasound photos and in-utero photography can now be easily shared, as well as photos of abortion’s victims, which are easily available on pro-life websites including the Pro-Life Action League’s site.”

Both men recognized a shift toward the pro-life position among Americans, a trend documented in the results of several recent surveys. Furthermore, they predict the nation will continue to grow wearier of the permissive attitude toward killing the unborn.

“Young people becoming adults these days have grown up under the threat of legal abortion,” Yonke said. “They know that many of their peers, classmates, and siblings have not made it out of their mother’s womb alive, and I think that affects the way they think about the issue.”

Fisher agreed, forecasting his belief that “we will see abortion become unthinkable and unavailable in our lifetimes.”

He concluded that there exists “a convergence of science, medicine, cultural opinion, and logic, and that convergence will lead to the end of this terrible blight on America’s history.”

In the meantime, however, Yonke and Fisher stress the importance of pro-life Americans to remain active in their communities and beyond, using technology to amplify their voices.

“You can help spread the pro-life message online in lots of ways,” Yonke said. “Post pro-life news stories on your Facebook, Twitter, blog or other social media sites – particularly helpful stories that expose the depravity of the abortion business or the help available for women in difficult pregnancies.”

Additionally, he noted that Pro-Life Action League – as well as most other related organizations – offers an email list with the latest news affecting the nation’s abortion policy.

“Get email alerts from your local pro-life/pro-family lobbying organization so you are alerted when you can make an important phone call to your legislator that can make a huge impact on the laws of our land.”

He encouraged advocates, however, to share their convictions in a loving way without making accusations or moral judgments.

“Pro-abortion people are not our enemy,” he concluded. “They’re children of God who are wrong about this issue but nevertheless deserve to be treated with the kind of love Jesus showed to all people in His earthly ministry.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Watch A Memory-Jogging Trip Back In Time As America’s Original Electronics Stores Go Dark

Image Credit: youtube/Radio Shack

They began in Boston in 1921, when two brothers opened the first Radio Shack store. Over the years, the familiar outlets brought an exciting world of electronics to cities and towns across America, even into Mexico.

Now, after being pounded by 11 consecutive quarterly losses, Radio Shack has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, announcing it will quickly close 1,784 of its close to 5,000 stores in an effort to consolidate operations, save money, and prevent total corporate collapse.

CNN reports that only three states are being spared from the imminent store shutterings: Alaska, Nevada, and West Virginia.

“The state with the most closings is California, with 175, followed by New York and the company’s home state of Texas. Vermont has only 2 stores slated to close.”

Unable to compete with retail giants such as Best Buy, and also battered by online competition, Radio Shack has reportedly not said how many jobs will be lost from the store closings.

As the lights are about to go out in stores across America, CNN Money has shared a compilation video of Radio Shack commercials that kept those lights on for so many years.

You can take the nostalgic trip back in time by clicking on the video above.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Apple CEO: We Never Colluded With Any Government, Ever

Photo credit: Valery Marchive (Flickr)

In a newly published letter earlier this week rolling out its strengthened iCloud security Privacy Policy, Apple CEO Tim Cook assured customers that the company has never created a “backdoor” to gain access to any of its products.

Cook in the the letter, first pointed out by Mashable, assured customers that Apple does not ‘monetize’ information based on users’ product purchasing history.

“Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products.  We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers.  We don’t ‘monetize’ the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud.  And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you.  Our software and services are designed to make our devices better.  Plain and simple.”

Cook also stresses that the tech giant has “never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services.”

“We have also never allowed access to our servers.  And we never will.”

When asked in June 2013 whether or not they participated in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM program, Apple gave this statement to CNBC, stressing “direct access,” rather than “back door” access.

“We have never heard of PRISM.  We do not provide any government agency with direct access to our servers, and any government agency requesting customer data must get a court order.”

In Apple’s “Government Information Requests” section, the company writes that the company “cannot bypass your passcode and…cannot access [user] data.  So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

This data on iOS 8, according to Apple, includes photos, messages, email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders if protected under a passcode.  Apple writes: “National security-related requests are not considered ‘Device Requests’ or Account Requests’ and are reported in a separate category altogether.”

Photo credit: Valery Marchive (Flickr)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Cops Can Now Detect Texting With Radar Guns

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

Radar guns can now detect more than just speeding.

A Virginia-based company, ComSonics, is developing a device that picks up on the radio frequencies being used by cellphones.

Text messages send a different frequency than other cellphone activity, meaning that it would be easy for the new gun to pick up on them.

This technology possesses a similarity with technology that allows cable technicians to determine if there are leaks. In fact, the company already produces a device that does just that.

Due to the dangerous distraction posed by texting while in the car, 44 states ban the practice.

In fact, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving without texting.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of fatal crashes.

How do you feel about the new technology?

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

This Massive Photo Hack Is A Total Nightmare For Many Stars, But Here’s What We Can Learn From It

Photo credit: Terry Straehley / Shutterstock.com

The beautiful young star of the Hunger Games movies, 24-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, likes to take selfies.

In fact, some time back, she shot over 60 pictures of herself in rather revealing positions. Unfortunately for Jennifer, she took the pictures with a state-of-the-art Apple iPhone.

Since then, her iPhone has been busy connecting her data to the cloud, backing up pictures, documents, apps, and other data.

In theory, it’s a useful function. As an iPhone user, I have my own iCloud account.

But Apple’s iCloud service was recently hacked; and the photos of Lawrence, as well as those of model Kate Upton and actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead, began trading like postage stamps at an online auction. In all, over 100 celebrities had their iCloud photos ripped by hackers.

It’s unfortunate for these celebrities, but there’s a larger point here. You see, most Americans don’t realize that when you put data on the cloud – whether your service is Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Dropbox, or any of the dozens of competing cloud services – the chances for a data breach grow exponentially.

The Real Problem Is People

One problem is that most Americans have very sloppy password protocols. When you couple that with the terabytes of data being stored on the cloud, people might as well stand naked on the street. And though we can laugh when celebrities’ nude photos are leaked on the internet, we need to understand that the misuse of private data can have serious economic consequences.

The same iCloud accounts that housed the nude pictures likely included email addresses, passwords, social security numbers, and countless other pieces of personal data that could lead to identity theft, or worse.

As I’ve recommended to all of my readers previously, now is the time to strengthen your passwords. Please don’t continue to use your niece’s name. Instead, something as simple as installing a password generation engine (check out lastpass.com, for example) will greatly enhance your online security.

Next, if a website offers a third-party authentication tool, please use it. I carry the Google authenticator app on my iPhone. It takes a few seconds longer to receive a text message code when you log into a website or service, but your data is much more secure. I make Bank of America (BAC) text me a code whenever I want to make any changes to my login protocols.

Of course, personal data isn’t the only information at risk. Businesses are also suffering from their employees’ indifference to online security threats.

Employers enforce secure passwords, but then an employee writes down the password and tapes it to the file cabinet next to his or her desk. Now, that’s what I call security. Or even worse, they’ll put the written password and username in their wallet for easy access at home.

Billions of dollars are being spent to make the internet more secure; but in the end, most data breaches are the result of unthinking users, customers, and employees. If you take data home to do some work, use your first name in your password, or keep security information in your wallet, I only have one thing to say: Stop it.

Or, if you won’t stop it, marry a supermodel and fill your iPhone with pictures of her in your bedroom. We’ll all be watching.


This commentary originally appeared at WallStreetDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

Photo credit: Terry Straehley / Shutterstock.com

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom