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.