Ep 71: Who Says Seniors Can’t Get Around Barriers in Tech? (Part 1/2) with Tom Kamber

Ep 71: Who Says Seniors Can’t Get Around Barriers in Tech? (Part 1/2) with Tom Kamber

Tom Kamber (@thomaskamber) is the founder and executive director of OATS, where he has helped over 20,000 senior citizens get online, built more than 30 free technology centers, created the seniorplanet.org digital community, and launched the Senior Planet Exploration Center—the country’s first technology-themed community center for older adults. His work has been covered in major national media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, Univision, MSNBC, and the TODAY Show. Tom is active in shaping technology policy and serves on the City of New York’s Broadband Task Force, and on the State of New York’s Broadband Adoption Task Force.

Tom teaches courses on social entrepreneurship and philanthropy at Columbia University and has published widely in academic journals on topics including housing policy, crime and geography, advertising strategy, broadband technology, and technology adoption by senior citizens.

Prior to founding OATS, Tom worked as a tenant organizer working with low-income residents in Harlem and the South Bronx. He has a B.A. in Latin from Columbia College and a PhD in Political Science from the City University of New York.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • key challenges older adults face getting online.
  • how OATS helps older adults use technology to stay engaged and enhance their overall quality of life.
  • specific policy recommendations for ensuring older adults are both connected and actively using technology.


Senior Planet

This Chair Rocks by Ashton Applewhite

SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Mary Beard


Missy Ryan, Ellen Nakashima and Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post report that the Obama administration has announced sanctions against Russia for executing cyberattacks on American institutions, including the Democratic National Committee, and releasing sensitive material to the public, in an effort to sway the November presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. The sanctions include the shutting down of two Russian facilities in Maryland and on Long Island which U.S. officials believe were used to collect intelligence. President Obama also expelled 35 Russian agents believed to be involved in the hacks. The President also said the U.S. may undertake covert activity to undermine Russia.

But the Kremlin has vigorously denied the hacks, with Russsian President Vladimir Putin calling President Obama’s response “irresponsible diplomacy”. Yet, Putin has said Russia will hold off on a tit-for-tat response and not expel U.S. agents working in Russia or close American facilities there, until they see how Trump will respond following the inauguration on January 20th. Camila Domonoske has the story for NPR.

Here’s the link to the DHS and FBI report on the Russian intrusion, which has been dubbed Grizzly Steppe.

Andrew Kramer has a nice piece in the New York Times describing how Russians recruited hackers for its cyberwar against the United States.

Ellen Nakashima also reported in the Washington Post that President Obama has signed a bill that would work to split U.S. Cybercommand from the National Security Administration in order to promote administrative efficiency. But the split can’t happen unless it is approved by the defense secretary and the chair of the Joint Chiefs of staff, which may or may not happen under the Trump administration.

House Speaker Paul Ryan wants to stop sit-ins by members of Congress on the House floor. Speaker Ryan introduced a rules package last week which would attempt to curtail live streaming on the house floor by imposing sanctions of $500 for the first livestreaming offense and $2,500 for each subsequent offense, with ethical citations also a possibility. Back in June, Democrats had live-streamed a sit-in on the House floor to protest Republicans’ failure to introduce gun control legislation. The livestream was organized in response to the fact that Republican leaders had turned off tv cameras in the chamber, preventing the public from viewing the sit-in on C-Span.