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.
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.
The other privacy policies referenced in this episode include:
Part of celebrating democracy is questioning what influences it. In this episode of IRL, we look at how the internet influences us, our votes, and our systems of government. Is democracy in trouble? Are democratic elections and the internet incompatible?
Politico’s Mark Scott takes us into Facebook’s European Union election war room. Karina Gould, Canada’s Minister for Democratic Institutions, explains why they passed a law governing online political ads. The ACLU’s Ben Wizner says our online electoral integrity problem goes well beyond a few bad ads. The team at Stop Fake describes a massive problem that Ukraine faces in telling political news fact from fiction, as well as how they’re tackling it. And NYU professor Eric Klinenberg explains how a little bit of offline conversation goes a long way to inoculate an electorate against election interference.Show Notes
Early on in this episode, we comment about how more privacy online means more democracy offline. Here’s more on that concept from Michaela Smiley at Firefox.
Have a read through Mark Scott’s Politico reporting on Facebook’s European election war room.
For more from Eric Klinenberg, check out his book, Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life.
And, find out more about Stop Fake, its history, and its mission.
Manoush Zomorodi explores the surprising environmental impact of the internet in this episode of IRL. Because while it’s easy to think of the internet as living only on your screen, energy demand for the internet is indeed powered by massive server farms, running around the clock, all over the world. What exactly is the internet’s carbon footprint? And, what can we do about it?
Music professor Kyle Devine considers the environmental costs of streaming music. Geophysicist and pop scientist Miles Traer takes his best shot at calculating the carbon footprint of the IRL podcast. Climate journalist Tatiana Schlossberg explores the environmental influence we don’t know we have and what the web’s got to do with it. Greenpeace’s Gary Cook explains which tech companies are committed to renewable energy — and which are not. Kris De Decker tries powering his website with a homebrew solar power system. And, Ecosia’s Chief Tree Planting Officer Pieter Van Midwoud discusses how his company uses online search to plant trees.Show Notes
Love the internet, but also love the environment? Here are some ways you can reduce your energy consumption — or offset it — while online.
Learn more about Kyle Devine’s research on the environmental costs of music streaming.
For more from Tatiana Schlossberg, check out her book, Inconspicuous Consumption: The Environmental Impact You Don’t Know You Have.
Have a read through Greenpeace’s Click Clean Report that Gary Cook discusses in this IRL episode.
As Pieter Van Midwoud notes, Ecosia uses the money it makes from your online searches to plant trees where they are needed most. Learn more about Ecosia, an alternative to Google Search.
Here’s more about Miles Traer, the geophysicist who calculated the carbon footprint of the IRL podcast.
And, if you’re interested in offsetting your personal carbon emissions overall, Carbonfund.org can help with that.
The sound of a data center in this episode is courtesy of artist Matt Parker. Download his music.
There’s a movement building within tech. Workers are demanding higher standards from their companies — and because of their unique skills and talent, they have the leverage to get attention. Walkouts and sit-ins. Picket protests and petitions. Shareholder resolutions, and open letters. These are the new tools of tech workers, increasingly emboldened to speak out. And, as they do that, they expose the underbellies of their companies’ ethics and values, or perceived lack of them.
In this episode of IRL, host Manoush Zomorodi meets with Rebecca Stack-Martinez, an Uber driver fed up with being treated like an extension of the app; Jack Poulson, who left Google over ethical concerns with a secret search engine being built for China; and Rebecca Sheppard, who works at Amazon and pushes for innovation on climate change from within. EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn explains why this movement is happening now, and why it matters for all of us.Show Notes
Rebecca Stack-Martinez is a committee member for Gig Workers Rising.
Check out Amazon employees’ open letter to Jeff Bezos and Board of Directors asking for a better plan to address climate change.
Cindy Cohn is the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. EFF is a nonprofit that defends civil liberties in the digital world. They champion user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development.
‘5G’ is a new buzzword floating around every corner of the internet. But what exactly is this hyped-up cellular network, often referred to as the next technological evolution in mobile internet communications? Will it really be 100 times faster than what we have now? What will it make possible that has never been possible before? Who will reap the benefits? And, who will get left behind?
Mike Thelander at Signals Research Group imagines the wild ways 5G might change our lives in the near future. Rhiannon Williams hits the street to test drive a new 5G network. Amy France lives in a very rural part of Kansas — she dreams of the day that true, fast internet could come to her farm (but isn’t holding her breath). Larry Irving explains why technology has never been provided equally to everyone, and why he fears 5G will leave too many people out. Shireen Santosham, though, is doing what she can to leverage 5G deployment in order to bridge the digital divide in her city of San Jose.Show Notes