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Kim's column

Surveillance rights, deleting people from photos, smart mirrors, and more: Tech Q&A

Each week, I receive tons of questions from my listeners about tech concerns, new products, and all things digital.

Sometimes, choosing the most interesting questions to highlight is the best part of my job.

This week, I received questions about video doorbells, how to tune into my show, how to make sure you can delete Google accounts, and more.

Do you have a question you’d like to ask me?

Tap or click here to email me directly.

Video doorbell rights

Q: I have a Ring video doorbell and I’m 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. Tap or click here to learn more about Amazon’s nationwide police partnership.

Tune in to my show

Q: I used to listen to your show on WLS 890 AM in Chicago. I moved. Is there a list of radio stations that broadcast your show?

A: It’s a good thing we live in the 21st century! In years past, you could have turned that dial all day long, looking for a station that carried my show, and you would probably only find it by accident. Even in our digital age, finding a specific show on a specific frequency in a specific city can be pretty hard. I’ve made that process instantaneous, thanks to my online station finder. All you have to do is enter a city, state, or zip code, and you’ll get all the scheduling info you need. Happy listening! Tap or click here to find the station in your hometown that broadcasts my show.

Legacy concerns

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. Tap or click here to clear Google of all your posthumous data.

Doctor photos

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. Tap or click here to learn more and download this special app.

Fitness tech

Q: On your cable TV show, you were talking about a mirror that has live yoga, Pilates, and boxing classes. Do you think it’s worth the money?

A: Okay, this is a pretty neat gadget, like something out of a science fiction flick. Simply called “Mirror,” it looks like a regular sheet of reflective glass until you decide to run a fitness program, and then it transforms into a personal trainer. Such technology comes at a price: Mirror costs nearly $1,500, and you’ll have to sign up for a monthly subscription. Unless you’ve experienced the tech firsthand and know that it works well for you, Mirror might be too extravagant to purchase on a whim. But you might take an interest in some other sports tech that’s a little more reasonable – and can really get your heart rate up. Tap or click here for more innovations in fitness tech.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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