Germany Is Wary of a Digital World (but Loves Its E-Toothbrushes)

from NYTs

How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Melissa Eddy, a Berlin correspondent for The Times, discussed the tech she’s using.

What are the most important tech tools for doing your job, and how do you use them?

My iPhone X has become my multipurpose portable notebook, camera, recorder and connection device. I have typed breaking stories into the Notes app and sent them to editors, or jotted down key points from an event, when I found myself without pen and paper.

I’ve used the camera to record Facebook Live video, but also to take still photos of anything that catches my imagination when I am out reporting, or signs that I don’t have time to stop and translate. When I sit down to write, I go back through my photos to jog my memory, although I sometimes worry that it would be better to pause and capture the thought in the moment.

I use the VoiceMemos app to record news conferences and in-person interviews. For phone interviews, I rely on TapeACall Pro, which is easy to use and has been a great addition.

More here.

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  1. I found this article very fascinating. Before reading this article I did not have a particularly good understanding of German culture. I was mostly unaware that Germany keeps their citizens privacy a top priority. Americans have become very worried about their privacy. Fortunately for Germans there are strict privacy records. As an American I feel we should have stronger privacy laws. In America one can type some’s name in google. The search will most likely result in that person’s address, news articles about that person, and/or their occupation. It is very worrying that a random person can have access to almost anyone’s information in the United States. I do believe that there are some disadvantages to such strict privacy laws. Before going to a new job many Americans try to find out as much information about the job they are applying for. In order to do this they will search for the interviewers name on the internet, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. They will do this to try and get a feel for what the person is like, and maybe to establish a common ground prior to being interviewed.
    The article is interesting for me because I have become interested in technology recently. The United States seems to be much more relaxed when protecting their citizens privacy. It is interesting that in Germany Google Maps street view leaves residences blurry. Many citizens in the United States claim to make their privacy a priority, this is sabotaged by the use of social media. A large percentage of Americans leave themselves susceptible to their privacy becoming violated when they use social media. Now this problem seems to be occurring in Germany as well, a country which prides itself in keeping their citizens privacy a priority. This article shows that German citizens in their 20s and younger are as active on social media as their American counterparts. This can be concerning for German’s. This is concerning because they have had their privacy protected for their entire lives up to this point. The article even mentions that they are struggling with the idea that what they post on social media can be seen publicly. I find it interesting that Germans may become irritated that someone they may not know can view and interact with something they have posted. The government goes great lengths to keep their citizens private. I am curious about how the German government feels about how it’s citizens are using social media, such as Facebook, twitter and Instagram.
    Germans are interested in technology and gadgets despite privacy concerns. One gadget in particular that the article mentions is the electronic toothbrush. This displays how very similar German culture is to the culture that exists in the United States. Family life in Germany seems to be very similar to that of a U.S. family. Many families in the United States function the same way as Melissa Eddy’s family. After reading this article I’ve noticed Germans and Americans are more similar than I originally thought.

  2. When I read the title I thought this piece was going to be one that downplays Germany because they are not keeping up with the times and technology. This is everything but true. After actually taking the time to read the article I believe that Germany being “wary of a digital world” is more positive then it is negative.
    In the article Melissa Eddy is talking about how she uses her IPhone X in basically every aspect of her career as a Berlin correspondent for NY Times. Utilizing apps such as notes, voice memos and/or the camera it is fair to say that it has maximized her productivity. So clearly the use of technology makes everything a little bit easier. Eddy then goes on to state how most Germans use Android phones and how she had to install an app called WhatsApp to keep in touch wit her friends and kids. WhatsApp is an important App in Germany used to chat especially because in 2015 and 2016 one million migrants came to Germany using their cells from back home. I have a personal connection with WhatsApp because my family is originally from Trinidad and my mom goes down every year for about two months. When she is in T&T all that she can be contacted on is WhatsApp. Most of the world does have smartphones but they tend to be Androids. I know this for a fact because when I went to Trinidad I made fun of many of my friends and family because they were not team IPhone. They soon brought to my attention that IPhones cost too much money and more often than not makes you a target to people in your neighborhood.
    What interested me about this article is that it states that German is a “nation obsessed with keeping a papertrail.” This made me question why this was so and I soon found out that Germans are very conscious of online privacy. Protecting many public records and blurring out Google Street View. Reading this made me wish that American cared more about their privacy. While technology makes task easier it also makes a private life harder to maintain. America needs to do a better job at protecting the privacy of its citizens, instead we have people like the founder of Facebook who sells our online secrets for a profit to other companies. Im not saying go back to strictly paper and fax but at least tighen the rules and regulations around online security before something drastic happens that is impossible to come back from.

  3. After doing some basic research on Germany’s economy last year for an economics class, I learned that they are very conservative with their money and innovation. In a global era of technological advancement, it is interesting to see a country with an economy like theirs being so behind the ball. Something that surprised me the most was the wifi agreement for students. Today, the internet is so important for expanding our knowledge. We use technology everyday for different reasons, and without it, I really can’t see us furthering ourselves. Of course, the young generation in Germany is very active on social media. There is no denying that social media is the prime form of global communication. Anyone with internet access in my generation pretty much has some sort of online page. The point the author made about their huge privacy concerns was interesting. German civilians may not be as “technically inclined” as other developed nations, but they are very conscientious about their privacy invasion.
    One can infer that as a whole, Germany is just hesitant on improving their country’s digitization. I think privacy scandals have increased their paranoia, and their strict regulations have hindered companies, like Uber, from developing in the country. Frankly, this may be heavily opinionated, but the fact that they mainly use Android could be a main reason why they are so behind. Apple, especially the App store, has taken control of the e-market. Android may be continuing to innovate to keep up, but they still are not as established as Apple.
    As Americans, even after the repeal of net neutrality, we should be grateful to have the power of the internet at our fingertips. The author’s kids, American kids now living in Germany, are technologically literate, more so than their counterparts. Being able to use the internet to its full potential gives countries like our significant advantages over countries like Germany. The prospects for e-businesses, application innovation, and online platform integration into lesson plans are all beneficial to society. I believe that Germany should begin to loosen the reigns on their fear of technological advancements, and realize that electric toothbrushes aren’t the only advantages of AI.

  4. Technology has become a part of our lives. We use it in school, companies use it for business, and it is something we use for entertainment. But even as technology begins to transition into one of the largest markets in the world, there is one piece of technology that we seem to take for granted- the cell phone. Now, not just any regular cell phone that makes calls and texts messages, but any type of smartphone. In this article, a member of the New York Times talks about how her iPhone in particular not only plays an enormous role in her job in Germany, but also in her social life. The iPhone itself is a technological advancement that has forever changed the way we look at every aspect of life. The iPhone not only has the ability to talk and text, but also opens new doors that are available through Apps. Apps can mean business, they can mean entertainment, and they can also be a way to communicate. One of the most underrated apps that is mentioned in this article is the camera. When we think of the camera, we think of it as something we do when we are taking pictures on a vacation, but it is so much more than that. The camera is also a way to capture moments while doing business, or is another way to remember important dates/things. Talking about writing articles, Melissa Eddy says she uses the photos she takes as a way to “jog her memory”, and is also a way for her to enjoy moments that are important. The camera is an app that not only reaches to entertainment, but also reaches to the business world. Another app that is mentioned while speaking about her job in Germany is the Uber App. Although Uber is banned in Germany, there is an app that does the same job that pairs you with an available taxi near you. Just as Uber is one of the leading apps in the United States, it is inspiring other countries, such as Germany, to improve not only the social aspect of tourism, but also the economy.

    This article really speaks to the importance of technology, but also raises the question, “because technology is so important in our daily lives, where do we draw the line to our privacy?”. The short answer, we may never know. Countries, such as Germany and even the United Kingdom, have held privacy of its individuals as a top priority, which has started to catch the attention of the United States. As one of the leading innovators of technology in the world, the United States has begun taking measures to ensure the privacy of individuals who are using technology. How does this speak to the future? We are never going to pin-point an exact time where innovation will stop, we must realize that innovation is the future. Using technology, and using it to our personal knowledge of our own individual rights is key. As we become more aware and more attached to our technology, we also have to understand the assumption of risk that is associated while using it. For example, any terms & conditions section to use a site such as Facebook requires some information about an individual to share in order to use the app. This in not necessarily an invasion of privacy, it is a way to promote the free market. This information is not being used to determine each and every move you take, it is being used to identify you to potential business and social opportunities. In order to move forward, we must understand that innovation is the future, and we must know how to properly use it in order to thrive.

  5. Having lived in a society that lives on the use of technology, it is entertaining to read about another country and their views on technology. America is a very tech savvy country and people are always finding new ways to make their lives easier so that everything is fast and convenient. Apps like uber give people the chance to reliably find transportation from their current location to the destination they wish to go to. Uber requires you add personal information like you credit card which has been leaked in the past and uber had lost a lot of account information which affected me as well. It’s not very hard for them to lose their client information if they are not a secure network but since then, they have taken precautions not to make the same mistake all over again. In Germany however, they have banned the use of the uber app altogether because of this and their privacy policies. Taxi companies took advantage of the idea to use an app and so they created MyTaxi. But this did not make sense to me because if MyTaxi is basically the same as Uber but the only difference is they use taxis, then what are the odds that this app will not fail either. Another app or site Germany tries not to use is facebook. In the United States, people of all ages use Facebook to post pictures, comment on topics of controversy and other stuff but Facebook is also one of those companies that had their information leaked. Germany tends to stay away from Facebook and it is mainly used by younger people in their twenties. Still, it is always possible that their information could be leaked. The most interesting point that was made was how Germany is so worried about their privacy that someone actually tried to argue with their dentist that they can just as easily brush their teeth with a regular toothbrush and floss and do not have to rely on an electric toothbrush. Overall, Germany seems to be a fairly well regulated on their privacy policies which is important for its citizens because with all that goes on today, information is easily leaked and people tend to lose important information.

  6. The article “Germany is Wary of a Digital World (but Loves Its E-Toothbrushes” was very educational for me. Normally these articles relate to the way of life here in America that I can vouch for first hand. But to see things from the German perspective was very insightful. Germany is a country that I would expect to be up to date in terms of technology and educational advancement. I never realized how strict they were for private vs public information. I found it funny how most Germans have android phones and the author had to download a certain app in order to communicate because she had an IPhone. Whereas here in America, having an Android has almost became something to look down upon. The retreat of Uber from Germany seems rather odd but it appears the country figured out a solution. MyTaxi is a substitute for Uber that works almost the same so it is not so much that Germany is behind in that sense, just found an alternative that followed all local transport laws. Even with the stricter laws, there are still many similarities even just within the author’s home. Like all 17 year olds in America, the author’s kid is a big fan of Youtube. He also gains valuable knowledge through Discord whoch is a digital communications hub that according to the author has helped him survive his exams in school. My favorite part of this article is the very last paragraph. The author says “I have a much harder time pulling a book out of my daughter’s hands, even when homework and chores need to be done.” I have never taken anything away from anyone but I see parents take phones or electronics away from their kids all the time and can see it be used as an effective parenting style. But I’ve never considered taking a book away as a good lesson. But taking away a kindle is essentially the same thing so why does it seem so different? This question to me expands to much more than Germany as I can see it applied to everyday life in America.

  7. Our generation depends on technology. It isn’t surprising that some countries are still concerned with the uses of technology. However, it is surprising that one of the most developed countries like Germany, is very anxious about the use of technology. There are many concerns when it comes to technology especially in terms of privacy. Over the past few years, there have been many scandal’s regarding privacy issues online. Social media is known for publicizing private information, which can be very dangerous. Our country’s privacy laws aren’t as enforced as Germany’s laws. The Germany Privacy Act, BDSG, requires the government to censor any exposure to any public data or information through any computers or devices. Due to this, there are many setbacks to living in a restricted country.

    Personally, I am amazed how German’s do not use Uber. Uber is one of the most well-known apps in our generation. I used to depend on Uber’s as my main source of transportation when I lived in New York. Apparently, Uber’s violate the privacy laws in Germany due to the public information. Therefore, they have made similar apps with more privacy in Germany. I don’t see the difference between other taxi apps and Uber. It may be a possibility that these alternate taxi apps in Germany probably ensure safety and privacy through taxi companies that are qualified to perform under the government.

    I can relate to the Melissa Eddy because I depend on my iPhone X as well for almost everything. I also take notes, use my camera, and use the internet frequently on my phone. When she mentions how so many people in Germany don’t have iPhones and primarily use WhatsApp for communication, I understood her situation because my relatives in India don’t have iPhone’s either. Often times I use WhatsApp as well to communicate with my family as well because its free and easy to use! We depend so much on technology that I can’t see our generation the same if technology wasn’t as developed.

  8. Living in a country where technology is the basis of our everyday life, it was extremely fascinating to see how other parts of the world like Germany handle their technology. Germany was a country that I would assume is up to date with their technology, and that most if not all, had some way of accessing the web. I was slightly familiar with the fact that when it comes to privacy, Germany is very strict in its rules. Recently, there was an issue with Facebook that Germany sued against due to the data collection that Facebook uses on its app. Some Germans believed that Facebook was violating user privacy by the way in which they used cookies to see what some users were browsing, and then implementing advertisements for them accordingly. For the most part the U.S. is not so different than Germany as we both have our apps that we use for communicating, buying products, and transportation. We see this similarity in how the authors child uses apps like YouTube and Discord as a means of communication and entertainment, similar to children in the U.S. On the contrary, there were several claims made by the author drew my attention more than others in terms of how we are different than Germany. One being that in Germany, they don’t use Uber at all because of the fact that they were seemingly forced off the market. This is extremely surprising to me being that Uber is one of the biggest ways that people get around in the U.S., especially when on vacation in cites where they don’t have a personal car. I know that in places like New York, there is a large tension between taxi drivers and Ubers since some taxis feel that Uber is taking away from their business, but to see that taxis in Germany created their own app is quite ironic. Another claim that surprised is when the author talked about how most people in Germany use Androids, forcing her to download apps like WhatsApp to communicate with them. In the U.S., a high majority of people use iPhone’s, and to see someone with an Android is almost surprising. There is even a means of entertainment that targets people who use Androids, making memes about their choice of phone. At the end of the day, despite all having access to technology and media its quite interesting to see how other parts of the world incorporate technology into their daily lives.

  9. Technology is used everywhere all over the world. Well, except for a good portion of Germany. The perspective that Mrs. Eddy, the writer of the article, brought to the table was interesting. If there is one thing that Germans are very serious about, it would be their privacy. I can definitely agree with why. People are being hacked daily from social media accounts to their own personal bank accounts. That is something that does not want to happen to you, but in this world, anything can happen. I found it shocking that students have to get permission from their parents to use Wi-Fi at school and that parents have to give consent to giving away their email addresses. When I read it, I was thinking to myself “Are you serious?” If I was an American parent reading this article, I would be in complete shock. However, I do believe that even though the idea sounds shocking and unreal, it is really not a bad idea at all. The privacy of millions of people are being secured because citizens are being more careful about what information they send out on the internet. A lot of people in Germany use many different platforms that include WhatsApp and Facebook, which are of some of the most demanded by consumers in Germany. You think that they would be as equally likely to have a chance to be hacked as if they were anywhere else. I do think that because Germans are being more aware of what information they send out and focus on privacy, they are at a higher advantage than some of these other countries.
    Another gadget that caught me off guard based on reading the article was the electric toothbrushes and how popular they are throughout Germany. Yeah, people in other countries like the United States have them. However, it seems to me that they are a big deal in Germany. Why? I am not sure. I thought that it was interesting about how Mrs. Eddy had to argue with her doctor that she wanted to brush her own teeth the way that some people like to do: brush and then floss. Here is the thing with electric toothbrushes: personally, I think they are more effective because they can get more plaque and other things that do not belong in peoples’ mouths off much quicker than brushing back and forth. Honestly, I thought it was a little odd to read about electric toothbrushes in context to an article that talks about how privacy and technology are very important to the country of Germany.

  10. In today’s ever-growing world incorporating technology in our daily lives the article title of Germany being weary of technology. One would think that the way to progress forward and make countries better is to have tech built into every part of life. It doesn’t seem possible for anyone wanting to see growth to not have an iPhone or android in one hand and a keyboard in the other. It is because of the title that I went in with a preconceived notion there would be some sort of Amish type culture. However, the first half of the article just shows that the Germans have incorporated technology into their lives as we have. We follow the eyes of a German journalist that describes how she conducts herself throughout the day with her tech. almost everything that she does from communicating to typing down ideas and using her phone to pay and make transactions. This mirrors what I imagine is the life of most Americans as it is certainly the way that I have started to live. Almost every transaction and the way I access information is done with my phone, I am tied to the hip with my phone, should I somehow leave without my phone I would really be lost. So, then what separates us from Germany? Why does there need to be an article about Germany? I have started to research more and see that Germany has some of the best internet privacy laws in the world. I imagine there is a connection with it’s history, seeing as they once where under Nazi rule and they almost had no privacy in their lives. Despite all their privacy they have a similar school structure in the way that they have to get consent from the parents to use the internet if they offer it. That is a distinction that surprised me, that not a lot of schools offer or integrate more tech into their curriculums. It seems like more and more we are straying away from paper and onto computers. I have taken some standardized test on a computer as a sort of test run for the next generation of kids. Their teenagers mirror ours in the way they interact with social media that still hasn’t strayed from us. The difference however is how they view their information and what they share. Despite everyone being able to see what they post they still consider it to be private. The journalist mentions a time when she tried to cover more information on an incident in Istanbul and despite post being private, the people she had reached out to still decided that their information was private. For her to ask them about them their post they claimed would be violating their privacy. It is all ironic how is it private information if everyone can see it, and how do they not know how to privatize their post if they live in a privacy centered country. It all makes me think about how here in American no one really cares about all their info being breached until its too late, I got a glimpse at the dangers of not encrypting all my information in class. Professor Shannon at first just seemed paranoid to have over 800 passwords, as I research more into it I’m starting to worry about the safety and integrity of my information. Any hacker with a couple minutes of spare time could get all my information and steal everything I have. It is not a brave new world we live in, it’s a new nightmare we face.

  11. When I first saw this article I assumed that it would be about how germany is behind on the technological side of things. As I continued to read the article I quickly realized that my assumption about Germany was completely false. In fact the reason Germany is “wary” of the digital world is much more a positive thing then a negative thing. Germany, unlike America keeps their citizens privacy a top priority. For example, Germany’s privacy laws have led to blurred Google Street View Pictures. Unfortunately, this is the complete opposite here in America. For example, if you speak about something while using the internet there is a very high chance that something related to that comes up as an ad. To many that is only a coincidence, but, when you start to pay more attention you will quickly realize this is everywhere. Another example of this is how Google maps on a mobile device knows your everyday schedule almost more than yourself. Another example, (the craziest one to me) is that you can google anyone’s name and find out almost everything about them (Phone number, address, and place of work). It worries me that someone can easily find my information on the internet and if the wrong person finds the information it can lead to identity fraud. Even though this is a major problem it seems like Americans have become almost numb to it. It’s like there is so much technology essentially spying on us that we don’t care anymore. Germany to me is where I believe all countries should be in terms of privacy. One example of how they protect people’s privacy is how they protect people’s public records.They do this by their very strict privacy laws. This makes access to public records is very difficult. In fact public records are almost impossible to get. This also includes internet searches, public records are not at all available online. They even protect kids’ privacy in the classroom as well. Nothing in the Berlin public school system is digitized, and parents have to sign special waivers for their kids to have access to Wi-Fi in the schools that offer it. At the start of every school year, parents have to give permission for their email addresses to be shared on a class list, and those who don’t will be left out. The internet brings many positive things to the world. I believe Germany should keep protecting people’s privacy the way they do. But, I believe they have to be careful that they do not lose themselves in protection and find themselves behind in technology. America needs to take a better step in protecting people’s privacy. This does not mean lag behind in technology because we live in a society that needs technology in almost all fields (Business, Schools, Auto Industry etc). This just mean ensuring that people can trust the technology they use without having to worry that their information is being used or taken by someone without their permission.

  12. Initially, I thought this article was going to be about how Germany has been unsuccessful in keeping up the changing times and how technology is not nearly used as much or misused, but it turns out to be the exact opposite and more. Germany is far ahead of the technology curve, and with good reason. The main point that I drew away from the article is when Melissa Eddy mentions that Germans use social media about just as much as Americans do, but for more than just checking how many likes their picture got. Instead, they use it more for communication with coworkers and colleagues, as well as it aiding Eddy with her journalism research. Germany also has found a perfect limit to where technology should and should not be allowed, school being one of the places it isn’t allowed. Barring Wifi from schools is a great advancement in embracing our new technological way of life. Making children have time away from their phones is essential, so that later in life they aren’t stuck to their mobile device, a critical mistake the United States still overlooks to this day. Germany also enforces privacy heavily, sending important information only via paper or fax, and not withholding private information from civilians. If anything, we have something to learn from how Germany conducts their affairs in technology.

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