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.

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Season 5

1: The “Privacy Policy” Policy

Privacy policies: most apps and websites have them, buried away somewhere. These legal documents explain how companies collect, use, and share your personal data. But let’s be honest, few of us actually read these things, right? And that passive acceptance says a lot about our complicated relationship with online privacy.

In the Season 5 premier of IRL, host Manoush Zomorodi speaks with Charlie Warzel, writer-at-large with the New York Times, about our complicated relationship with data and privacy — and the role privacy policies play in keeping things, well, confusing. You’ll also hear from Parker and Lila, two young girls who realize how gaming and personal data intersect. Rowenna Fielding, a data protection expert, walks us through the most efficient ways to understand a privacy policy. Professor Lorrie Cranor explains how these policies have warped our understanding of consent. And privacy lawyer Jenny Afia explains why “privacy” is a base element of being human.

Show Notes

Charlie Warzel is an Opinion writer at large for the New York Times. You can get more insights from him about privacy online when you sign up for the Times’ Privacy Project Newsletter.

If you’d like to learn more about privacy policies and their impact on our youth, check out Jenny Afia’s article on tech’s exploitative relationship with our children.

This IRL podcast episode referenced several privacy policies, and we encourage you to read them. To start, here’s Firefox’s privacy policy. You’ll see that Firefox’s business model is not dependent on packaging your personal info. And, we hope you’ll find that our policy is easy-to-read, fully transparent, and specific.

The other privacy policies referenced in this episode include:

    Season 4

    Season 3

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

    • 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.

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

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

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

    • 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.

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

    • 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

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

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

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

    • 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.

    • 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.

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

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

    Season 1