Martin Kaste

Martin Kaste is a correspondent on NPR's National desk. He covers the news throughout the Northwest, with an emphasis on technology and privacy stories.

In addition to general assignment reporting throughout the region, Kaste has contributed to NPR News coverage of major world events, including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the 2011 uprising in Libya.

Focusing on technology and privacy issues, Kaste has reported on the government's wireless wiretapping practices as well as the data-collection and analysis that goes on behind the scenes in social media and other new media. His privacy reporting was cited in a US Supreme Court opinion concerning GPS tracking.

Before moving to the West Coast, Kaste spent five years as a reporter for NPR based in South America. He covered the drug wars in Colombia, the financial meltdown in Argentina, the rise of Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, and the fall of Haiti's president Jean Bertrand Aristide. Throughout this assignment, Kaste covered the overthrow of five presidents in five years.

Prior to joining NPR in 2000, Kaste was a policital reporter for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul for seven years.

Kaste is a graduate of Carleton College, in Northfield, Minnesota.

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5:05pm

Fri November 16, 2012
Technology

Post-Petraeus, Net Privacy Backers Hope For A Boost

Originally published on Fri November 16, 2012 9:20 pm

Online privacy advocates are hopeful the FBI investigation into retired Gen. David Petraeus' personal emails will put a human face on their efforts to update a stalled Internet privacy bill.
iStockphoto.com

The tech industry has been lobbying hard for an update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the 1986 law governing online privacy.

Under an umbrella group calling itself Digital Due Process, companies and civil liberties groups have argued that the law is too loose with the privacy of data stored online, especially Web-based email and other documents on the cloud.

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3:29pm

Sun November 11, 2012
All Tech Considered

Left Homeless, Storm Victims Turn To Internet To Find Shelter

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 9:29 am

A damaged home rests on one side along the beach in the Belle Harbor section of Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 5 in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
Craig Ruttle AP

Housing is always in short supply in New York City, and Superstorm Sandy just made things much worse. The government is paying hotel costs for many of those displaced, while others are staying with friends and family.

That still leaves many people still looking for a spare bedroom, and some are now turning to the social networking website Airbnb – a site that matches people seeking vacation rentals — to find a place to stay.

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4:24pm

Wed November 7, 2012
Environment

Can Dumping Iron Into The Sea Fight Climate Change?

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 4:50 pm

John Disney (second from left) looks over the underwater probe used in his company's ocean fertilization project, at a news conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, in October.
Andy Clark Reuters/Landov

Environmental officials in Canada are investigating what some have called a "rogue climate change experiment." Over the summer, a native village on the coast of British Columbia dumped more than 100 tons of iron sulfate into the ocean. The idea was to cause a bloom of plankton, which would then capture greenhouse gases.

That's the theory, anyway. The reality is a bit more complicated.

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5:17am

Tue November 6, 2012
Around the Nation

Sandy Victims Struggle To Find Temporary Housing

Originally published on Tue November 6, 2012 11:18 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

New York's Mayor Bloomberg has hired a former FEMA official with experience in Hurricane Katrina to direct the city's housing recovery. NPR's Martin Kaste reports it's another sign of the seriousness of the housing shortage caused by the storm.

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3:40pm

Wed October 24, 2012
Law

Three Ballot Measures Would OK Pot Beyond Medicine

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 4:53 pm

A marijuana bud at a marijuana dispensary in Denver. Colorado, Oregon and Washington could become the first to legalize marijuana this fall.
Ed Andrieski AP

Marijuana legalization is back on the ballot this year. California voters defeated a legalization proposal in 2010, but now similar measures have cropped up in three more Western states. This time around, some of the most intense opposition is coming from the earlier pioneers of legalization — the medical marijuana industry.

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3:35pm

Fri October 19, 2012
It's All Politics

Colorado, A Big Win For Obama In 2008, Now A Harder Sell

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 6:12 pm

Supporters turned out for President Obama's first post-debate rally on Oct.4 in Denver. The president is facing a fierce fight for Colorado after winning it by 9 points four years ago.
RJ Sangosti AP

In Colorado, the presidential race is a statistical dead heat. The state went heavily for candidate Barack Obama in 2008 — but the president is now facing fierce headwinds.

Obama won last time by 9 points, an astounding margin in a state that hadn't gone Democratic since 1992. One Democratic strategist calls 2008 a one-time case of "irrational exuberance," especially among Colorado's large contingent of swing voters.

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5:17am

Sat October 13, 2012
Parallel Lives

Hawaii Prep School Gave Obama Window To Success

Originally published on Sat October 13, 2012 9:15 am

Barack Obama in a 1975 photo from the Punahou School yearbook. He and his eighth-grade homeroom classmates pose with a slide projector as part of the yearbook's theme of "Nostalgia."
Punahau School 1974-1975 Yearbook

From now until Nov. 6, President Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at Obama's time at a Hawaii institution called Punahou.

Punahou School was founded by missionaries in 1841 — the campus is just up the hill from Waikiki, and it's built around a historic spring.

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4:08pm

Mon October 1, 2012
It's All Politics

Montana Democrat Faces An Uphill Battle To Keep His Senate Seat

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 5:23 pm

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., (center) campaigns at a parade Saturday in Belgrade, Mont.
Martin Kaste NPR

Republicans are still within reach of a big political goal this year: retaking control of the Senate. They lost the majority in 2006, in part because of the razor-close victory of Democratic challenger Jon Tester in Montana.

Now, Tester is the incumbent facing a tough challenge of his own. And if he's going to win re-election, he has to turn out a lot of younger voters, the way he did in 2006. And on that front, he does have some allies.

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3:22pm

Thu September 20, 2012
U.S.

You Can Buy An Island, But Can You Really Own It?

Originally published on Thu September 20, 2012 6:23 pm

The Four Seasons resort on Lanai. Software mogul Larry Ellison recently bought virtually the entire Hawaiian island.
Martin Kaste NPR

We don't know how much software mogul Larry Ellison recently paid for the Hawaiian island of Lanai — for 98 percent of the island, to be exact — but estimates run upward of half a billion dollars. So what do you get for that kind of money?

Beautiful beaches, for starters. A view of Maui, just eight miles away. A couple of luxury resorts built by the previous owner. And, as a bonus, some delicate history.

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3:02pm

Thu September 13, 2012
It's All Politics

Can A Republican Win A Senate Seat In Blue Hawaii?

Originally published on Thu September 13, 2012 10:19 pm

Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle gives a victory speech in Honolulu after winning the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate on Aug. 11.
Marco Garcia AP

Republican hopes of capturing the Senate in November rest on a handful of tossup races in states like Montana, Missouri and Virginia.

Surprisingly, some analysts also are putting Hawaii in the tossup column.

Hawaii is the bluest of blue states; it hasn't elected a Republican to the Senate since 1970. But with the retirement of 22-year incumbent Daniel Akaka, Republicans believe they have a chance.

And regardless of who wins, the state will have its first female senator come January.

In Hawaii, the language of politics is a little different.

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6:09pm

Tue July 31, 2012
Media

Newspaper Takes A Stand On Anonymous Commenters

Linda Cook eventually revealed herself as the commenter who made a disparaging remark about an Idaho Republican Party official online.
Sandy Clemons Courtesy of Linda Cook

The Internet is slowly becoming a less anonymous place. YouTube has a new policy encouraging commenters to use their real names, and many news sites have switched to a login system run by Facebook.

News sites that still allow anonymous comments are finding there are legal risks. The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash., has spent the last few months trying to protect the identity of a reader who saw a photo of a Republican Party official in Idaho named Tina Jacobson, and then posted a disparaging comment.

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3:18pm

Wed July 11, 2012
American Dreams: Then And Now

Korean Families Chase Their Dreams In The U.S.

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 4:33 pm

Hyungsoo Kim brought his sons Woosuk (left) and Whoohyun to California from Korea so the boys could get an American public-school education. In "goose families," one parent migrates to an English-speaking country with the children, while the other parent stays in Korea.
Martin Kaste NPR

Eleven-year-old Woosuk Kim sees his mother only three or four times a year. That's because he's part of what Koreans call a "goose family": a family that migrates in search of English-language schooling.

A goose family, Woosuk explains, means "parents — mom and dad — have to be separate for the kids' education."

Woosuk's father brought him and his little brother to America two years ago to attend Hancock Park Elementary, a public school in Los Angeles. The boys' mother stayed in South Korea to keep working.

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11:49am

Wed June 20, 2012
The Salt

Seattle Forager Inspires Others To Learn About Wild, Forgotten Foods

Originally published on Wed June 20, 2012 8:17 pm

Langdon Cook shows off the morel and porcini mushrooms he's foraged and stored in the trunk of his car.
Martin Kaste NPR

For Langdon Cook, a walk in the woods isn't that different from a walk through the produce section of the supermarket. He's a writer, blogger and all-around outdoorsy type, but in outdoorsy Seattle, he's made his name primarily as a forager.

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4:35pm

Tue June 19, 2012
Environment

As Tsunami Debris Crosses Pacific, Dangers Emerge

Originally published on Tue June 19, 2012 5:59 pm

A nearly 70-foot dock that was torn loose from a fishing port in northern Japan by last year's tsunami washed ashore on Agate Beach in Oregon. Marine scientists have found potentially invasive species among the 100 tons of marine life that traveled aboard the dock.
Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation AP

Beaches on the West Coast are getting a regular dose of debris from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. The first few items were curiosities — a boat here, a soccer ball there — but as the litter accumulates, officials such as Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire have acknowledged the scale of the problem.

"We are in for a steady dribble of tsunami debris over the next few years, so any response by us must be well-planned — and it will be," she said.

Beyond the obvious problem of litter, officials are on the lookout for hidden dangers.

Debris 'Everywhere'

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4:17am

Wed May 30, 2012
World

Computer Security Companies Debate Flame's Origins

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 5:34 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Yesterday, on this program we told you about a new cyber-spying program that goes by the name Flame. Kaspersky Lab, a Russian computer security company, says it found the program lurking on computers in the Middle East. The company says Flame is a very sophisticated piece of spyware, so sophisticated, it must have been created by a country's government. But as NPR's Martin Kaste reports, it didn't take long for other security experts to cast doubt on those claims.

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