IRL: Online Life is Real Life

Host Manoush Zomorodi shares real stories of life online and real talk about the future of the Web.

IRL is an original podcast from Firefox.


Season 5

7: Privacy or Profit - Why Not Both?

Every day, our data hits the market when we sign online. It’s for sale, and we’re left to wonder if tech companies will ever choose to protect our privacy rather than reap large profits with our information. But, is the choice — profit or privacy — a false dilemma? Meet the people who have built profitable tech businesses while also respecting your privacy. Fact check if Facebook and Google have really found religion in privacy. And, imagine a world where you could actually get paid to share your data.

In this episode, Oli Frost recalls what happened when he auctioned his personal data on eBay. Jeremy Tillman from Ghostery reveals the scope of how much ad-tracking is really taking place online. Patrick Jackson at breaks down Big Tech’s privacy pivot. DuckDuckGo’s Gabriel Weinberg explains why his private search engine has been profitable. And Dana Budzyn walks us through how her company, UBDI, hopes to give consumers the ability to sell their data for cash.”

Show Notes
Published: September 9, 2019

Read about Patrick Jackson and Geoffrey Fowler’s privacy experiment.

Learn more about DuckDuckGo, an alternative to Google search, at

And, we’re pleased to add a little more about Firefox’s business here as well — one that puts user privacy first and is also profitable. Mozilla was founded as a community open source project in 1998, and currently consists of two organizations: the 501(c)3 Mozilla Foundation, which backs emerging leaders and mobilizes citizens to create a global movement for the health of the internet; and its wholly owned subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation, which creates Firefox products, advances public policy in support of internet user rights and explores new technologies that give people more control and privacy in their lives online. Firefox products have never — and never will ever — buy or sell user data. Because of its unique structure, Mozilla stands apart from its peers in the technology field as one of the most impactful and successful social enterprises in the world. Learn more about Mozilla and Firefox at

Episode transcript

Season 4

Season 3

  • Examine how the internet is changing our minds, our votes, and our democracies – all over the world. Listen now.

  • 6: Kids These Days September 10, 2018

    Today’s teens are the first humans who have spent their entire lives online. Find out what it's like growing up in the age of screens. Listen now.

  • 5: Bullying and Bonding Online August 27, 2018

    Veronica Belmont and Franchesca Ramsey meet the people working to make the web — and world — friendlier places. Listen now.

  • 4: Virtual Connections August 13, 2018

    Veronica Belmont and Peter Rojas explore how the Internet is building and confusing our relationships. Listen now.

  • 3: Paid Attention July 30, 2018

    There’s a new currency in town (and no, we’re not talking about Bitcoin). We’re talking about attention. Listen now.

  • 2: Press Play July 16, 2018

    One of the most successful recruitment tools the U.S. Army ever made was… a video game? Find out how gaming elements in tech have infiltrated our online and offline lives. Listen now.

  • 1: The Grand Bargain July 2, 2018

    Explore the tradeoffs you make online everyday, and learn why on earth your email inbox is filling up with privacy policies. Listen now.

  • Trailer: Introducing Season 3 June 18, 2018

    Get a sneak peak at what Veronica Belmont will cover in Season 3 of IRL, because online life is real life. Listen now.

Season 2

  • 7: Ctrl+Alt+Facts April 3, 2018

    How to stop the spread of disinformation online. Listen now.

  • 6: Social Bubble Bath March 19, 2018

    How technology can create, and can break, our filter bubbles. Listen now.

  • 5: Algorisky March 5, 2018

    When bad code spreads disinformation and bias, it’s never something that “the algorithm did.” It’s something people did. Listen now.

  • 4: Cloak of Invisibility February 16, 2018

    On the Internet no one knows you’re a dog, as the old joke goes. But does anonymity truly exist on the web anymore? Listen now.

  • 3: Face Value February 5, 2018

    From Snapchat filters to Apple’s Face ID, biometric technology plays a growing role in our everyday lives. What do we actually give up when we upload our face to these apps? Listen now.

  • 2: Digital Overload January 22, 2018

    Recent reports estimate that over 50% of teens are addicted to their smartphones. Veronica Belmont investigates the impact of growing up online. Listen now.

  • 1: Bot Or Not January 8, 2018

    Most website visitors aren’t human. They’re bots. Here’s how to spot them. Listen now.

Season 1

  • Bonus: Net Neutrality Emergency December 11, 2017

    The battle for the open Internet isn’t over. In the days leading up to the FCC’s vote, we investigate what’s next for net neutrality. Listen now.

  • Bonus: Status Update November 15, 2017

    On the Internet, everything happens so much. Veronica Belmont explores the latest developments in digital activism, cybersecurity and troll clapbacks. Listen now.

  • 7: Free Speech, Limited? September 18, 2017

    Recent events in Charlottesville, VA have revealed the role the Internet plays in IRL threats and violence. Should tech companies regulate who says what on the Internet? Listen now.

  • 6: All Access Pass September 4, 2017

    What is life like without fast Internet, and how does life change once a person has it? Veronica Belmont talks to people about joining the digital economy. Listen now.

  • 5: I Spy With My Digital Eye August 21, 2017

    Surveillance. Turns out, we’ve invited it into our homes through digital assistants, connected toys and baby monitors. Listen now.

  • Trolls are in every corner of the Web, but people are fighting back in new ways. Baked goods included. Listen now.

  • 3: Hack Jobs July 24, 2017

    This episode of IRL focuses on our internet insecurity. Meet the unsung heroes fighting to keep us safe. Listen now.

  • The Internet is at a crossroads. Mozilla’s IRL podcast dives into the current net neutrality debate. Listen now.

  • There is no such thing as a free lunch. Mozilla’s IRL podcast dives into the price of “free” online series. Listen now.

  • Trailer: Introducing IRL May 25, 2017

    Introducing IRL Listen now.