How to Fix the Internet

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

The internet is broken—but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re concerned about how surveillance, online advertising, and automated content moderation are hurting us online and offline, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s How to Fix the Internet podcast offers a better way forward. EFF has been defending your rights online for over thirty years and is behind many of the biggest digital rights protections since the invention of the internet. Through curious conversations with some of the leading minds in law and technology, this podcast explores creative solutions to some of today’s biggest tech challenges. Hosted by EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn and EFF Associate Director of Digital Strategy Jason Kelley, How to Fix the Internet will help you become deeply informed on vital technology issues as we work to build a better technological future together. read less
TechnologyTechnology

Episodes

Anti-Trust/Pro-Internet
3d ago
Anti-Trust/Pro-Internet
Imagine an internet in which economic power is more broadly distributed, so that more people can build and maintain small businesses online to make good livings. In this world, the behavioral advertising that has made the internet into a giant surveillance tool would be banned, so people could share more equally in the riches without surrendering their privacy. That’s the world Tim Wu envisions as he teaches and shapes policy on the revitalization of American antitrust law and the growing power of big tech platforms. He joins EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley to discuss using the law to counterbalance the market’s worst instincts, in order to create an internet focused more on improving people’s lives than on meaningless revenue generation. In this episode you’ll learn about: Getting a better “deal” in trading some of your data for connectedness. Building corporate structures that do a better job of balancing the public good with private profits. Creating a healthier online ecosystem with corporate “quarantines” to prevent a handful of gigantic companies from dominating the entire internet. Nurturing actual innovation of products and services online, not just newer price models. Timothy Wu is the Julius Silver Professor of Law, Science and Technology at Columbia Law School, where he has served on the faculty since 2006. First known for coining the term “net neutrality” in 2002, he served in President Joe Biden’s White House as special assistant to the President for technology and competition policy from 2021 to 2023; he also had worked on competition policy for the National Economic Council during the last year of President Barack Obama’s administration. Earlier, he worked in antitrust enforcement at the Federal Trade Commission and served as enforcement counsel in the New York Attorney General’s Office. His books include “The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age” (2018), "The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads” (2016), “The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires” (2010), and “Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World” (2006). MUSIC CREDITSPerspectives *** by J.Lang (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Sackjo22 and Admiral Bob_________________Warm Vacuum Tube  by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: starfrosch
About Face (Recognition)
26-03-2024
About Face (Recognition)
Is your face truly your own, or is it a commodity to be sold, a weapon to be used against you? A company called Clearview AI has scraped the internet to gather (without consent) 30 billion images to support a tool that lets users identify people by picture alone. Though it’s primarily used by law enforcement, should we have to worry that the eavesdropper at the next restaurant table, or the creep who’s bothering you in the bar, or the protestor outside the abortion clinic can surreptitiously snap a pic of you, upload it, and use it to identify you, where you live and work, your social media accounts, and more? New York Times reporter Kashmir Hill has been writing about the intersection of privacy and technology for well over a decade; her book about Clearview AI’s rise and practices was published last fall. She speaks with EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about how face recognition technology’s rapid evolution may have outpaced ethics and regulations, and where we might go from here. In this episode, you’ll learn about: The difficulty of anticipating how information that you freely share might be used against you as technology advances. How the all-consuming pursuit of “technical sweetness” — the alluring sensation of neatly and functionally solving a puzzle — can blind tech developers to the implications of that tech’s use. The racial biases that were built into many face recognition technologies.  How one state's 2008 law has effectively curbed how face recognition technology is used there, perhaps creating a model for other states or Congress to follow. Kashmir Hill is a New York Times tech reporter who writes about the unexpected and sometimes ominous ways technology is changing our lives, particularly when it comes to our privacy. Her book, “Your Face Belongs To Us” (2023), details how Clearview AI gave facial recognition to law enforcement, billionaires, and businesses, threatening to end privacy as we know it. She joined The Times in 2019 after having worked at Gizmodo Media Group, Fusion, Forbes Magazine and Above the Law. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker and The Washington Post. She has degrees from Duke University and New York University, where she studied journalism. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators. This episode features:Kalte Ohren by Alex (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: starfrosch & Jerry SpoonDrops of H2O (The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Airtone
"I-Squared" Governance
12-03-2024
"I-Squared" Governance
Imagine a world in which the internet is first and foremost about empowering people, not big corporations and government. In that world, government does “after-action” analyses to make sure its tech regulations are working as intended, recruits experienced technologists as advisors, and enforces real accountability for intelligence and law enforcement programs. Ron Wyden has spent decades working toward that world, first as a congressman and now as Oregon’s senior U.S. Senator. Long among Congress’ most tech-savvy lawmakers, he helped write the law that shaped and protects the internet as we know it, and he has fought tirelessly against warrantless surveillance of Americans’ telecommunications data. Wyden speaks with EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about his “I squared” —individuals and innovation—legislative approach to foster an internet that benefits everyone. In this episode you’ll learn about: How a lot of the worrisome online content that critics blame on Section 230 is actually protected by the First Amendment Requiring intelligence and law enforcement agencies to get warrants before obtaining Americans’ private telecommunications data Why “foreign” is the most important word in “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” Making government officials understand national security isn’t heightened by reducing privacy Protecting women from having their personal data weaponized against them U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-OR, has served in the Senate since 1996; he was elected to his current six-year term in 2022. He chairs the Senate Finance Committee, and serves on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Budget Committee, and the Select Committee on Intelligence; he also is the lead Senate Democrat on the Joint Committee on Taxation. His relentless defiance of the national security community's abuse of secrecy forced the declassification of the CIA Inspector General's 9/11 report, shut down the controversial Total Information Awareness program, and put a spotlight on both the Bush and Obama administrations’ reliance on "secret law." In 2006 he introduced the first Senate bill on net neutrality, and in 2011 he was the lone Senator to stand against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), ultimately unsuccessful bills that purportedly were aimed at fighting online piracy but that actually would have caused significant harm to the internet. Earlier, he served from 1981 to 1996 in the House of Representatives, where he co-authored Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 —the law that protects Americans’ freedom of expression online by protecting the intermediaries we all rely on.
Open Source Beats Authoritarianism
27-02-2024
Open Source Beats Authoritarianism
What if we thought about democracy as a kind of open-source social technology, in which everyone can see the how and why of policy making, and everyone’s concerns and preferences are elicited in a way that respects each person’s community, dignity, and importance? This is what Audrey Tang has worked toward as Taiwan’s first Digital Minister, a position the free software programmer has held since 2016. She has taken the best of open source and open culture and successfully used them to help reform her country’s government. Tang speaks with EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about how Taiwan has shown that openness not only works but can outshine more authoritarian competition, wherein governments often lock up data. In this episode you’ll learn about: Using technology including artificial intelligence to help surface our areas of agreement, rather than to identify and exacerbate our differences The “radical transparency” of recording and making public every meeting in which a government official takes part, to shed light on the policy-making process How Taiwan worked with civil society to ensure that no privacy and human rights were traded away for public health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic Why maintaining credible neutrality from partisan politics and developing strong public and civic digital infrastructure are key to advancing democracy. Audrey Tang has served as Taiwan's first  Digital Minister since 2016, by which time she already was known for revitalizing the computer languages Perl and Haskell, as well as for building the online spreadsheet system  EtherCalc in collaboration with Dan Bricklin. In the public sector, she served on the Taiwan National Development Council’s open data committee and basic education curriculum committee and led the country’s first e-Rulemaking project. In the private sector, she worked as a consultant with Apple on computational linguistics, with Oxford University Press on crowd lexicography, and with Socialtext on social interaction design. In the social sector, she actively contributes to g0v (“gov zero”), a vibrant community focusing on creating tools for the civil society, with the call to “fork the government.”
Rerelease: Securing the Vote
30-08-2023
Rerelease: Securing the Vote
This episode was first published on May 24, 2022.Pam Smith has been working to secure US elections for years, and now as the CEO of Verified Voting, she has some important ideas about the role the internet plays in American democracy. Pam joins Cindy and Danny to explain how elections can be more transparent and more engaging for all.U.S. democracy is at an inflection point, and how we administer and verify our elections is more important than ever. From hanging chads to glitchy touchscreens to partisan disinformation, too many Americans worry that their votes won’t count and that election results aren’t trustworthy. It’s crucial that citizens have well-justified confidence in this pillar of our republic. Technology can provide answers - but that doesn’t mean moving elections online. As president and CEO of the nonpartisan nonprofit Verified Voting, Pamela Smith helps lead the national fight to balance ballot accessibility with ballot security by advocating for paper trails, audits, and transparency wherever and however Americans cast votes. On this episode of How to Fix the Internet, Pamela Smith joins EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien to discuss hope for the future of democracy and the technology and best practices that will get us there.In this episode you’ll learn about:Why voting online can never be like banking or shopping onlineWhat a “risk-limiting audit” is, and why no election should lack it Whether open-source software could be part of securing our votesWhere to find reliable information about how your elections are conductedPamela Smith, President & CEO of Verified Voting, plays a national leadership role in safeguarding elections and building working alliances between advocates, election officials, and other stakeholders. Pam joined Verified Voting in 2004, and previously served as President from 2007-2017. She is a member of the National Task Force on Election Crises, a diverse cross-partisan group of more than 50 experts whose mission is to prevent and mitigate election crises by urging critical reforms. She provides information and public testimony on election security issues across the nation, including to Congress. Before her work in elections, she was a nonprofit executive for a Hispanic educational organization working on first language literacy and adult learning, and a small business and marketing consultant.This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/Skill_Borrower/41751Klaus by Skill_Borrower (c) copyright 2013 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license— http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/58703commonGround by airtone (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial  (3.0) license. —http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/NiGiD/62475Chrome Cactus by Martijn de Boer (NiGiD) (c) copyright 2020 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial  (3.0) license.
Who Inserted the Creepy?
30-05-2023
Who Inserted the Creepy?
Writers sit watching a stranger’s search engine terms being typed in real time, a voyeuristic peek into that person’s most private thoughts. A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company but uncovers an agenda affecting the lives of all of humanity. An app developer keeps pitching the craziest, most harmful ideas she can imagine but the tech mega-monopoly she works for keeps adopting them, to worldwide delight.  The first instance of deep online creepiness actually happened to Dave Eggers almost 30 years ago. The latter two are plots of two of Eggers’ many bestselling novels—“The Circle” and “The Every,” respectively—inspired by the author’s continuing rumination on how much is too much on the internet. He believes we should live intentionally, using technology when it makes sense but otherwise logging off and living an analog, grounded life. Eggers — whose newest novel, “The Eyes and the Impossible,” was published this month — speaks with EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about why he hates Zoom so much, how and why we get sucked into digital worlds despite our own best interests, and painting the darkest version of our future so that we can steer away from it.   In this episode, you’ll learn about: How that three-digit credit score that you keep striving to improve symbolizes a big problem with modern tech. The difficulties of distributing books without using Amazon.  Why round-the-clock surveillance by schools, parents, and others can be harmful to kids. The vital importance of letting yourself be bored and unstructured sometimes. Dave Eggers is the bestselling author of his memoir “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” (2000) as well as novels including “What Is the What” (2006), “A Hologram for the King” (2012), “The Circle” (2013), and “The Every” (2021); his latest novel, “The Eyes and the Impossible,” was published May 9. He founded the independent publishing company McSweeney’s as well as its namesake daily humor website, and he co-founded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit youth writing center that has inspired over 70 similar organizations worldwide. Eggers is winner of the American Book Award, the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the TED Prize, and has been a finalist for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/58703CommonGround by airtone (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) Ft: simonlittlefieldAdditional beds and alternate theme remixes by Gaëtan Harris.
People with Disabilities are the Original Hackers
16-05-2023
People with Disabilities are the Original Hackers
People with disabilities were the original hackers. The world can feel closed to them, so they often have had to be self-reliant in how they interact with society. And that creativity and ingenuity is an unappreciated resource. Henry Claypool has been an observer and champion of that resource for decades, both in government and in the nonprofit sector. He’s a national policy expert and consultant specializing in both disability policy and technology policy, particularly where they intersect. He knows real harm can result from misuse of technology, intentionally or not, and people with disabilities frequently end up at the bottom of the list on inclusion. Claypool joins EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley to talk about motivating tech developers to involve disabled people in creating a world where people who function differently have a smooth transition into any forum and can engage with a wide variety of audiences, a seamless inclusion in the full human experience. In this episode, you’ll learn about: How accessibility asks, “Can we knock on the door?” while inclusion says, ”Let’s build a house that already has all of us inside it.” Why affordable broadband programs must include disability-related costs. Why disability inclusion discussions must involve intersectional voices such people of color and the LGBTQI+ community. How algorithms and artificial intelligence used in everything from hiring tools to social services platforms too often produce results skewed against people with disabilities.  Henry Claypool is a technology policy consultant and former executive vice president at the American Association of People with Disabilities, which promotes equal opportunity, economic power, independent living and political participation for people with disabilities. He is the former director of the U.S. Health and Human Services Office on Disability and a founding principal deputy administrator of the Administration for Community Living. He was appointed by President Barack Obama to the Federal Commission on Long-Term Care, advising Congress on how long-term care can be better provided and financed for the nation’s older adults and people with disabilities, now and in the future. He is a visiting scientist with the Lurie Center for Disability Policy in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, and principal of Claypool Consulting. This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/zep_hurme/59681Come Inside by Zep Hurme (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/zep_hurme/59681 Ft: snowflakehttp://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/37792Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Airtone
Dr. Seuss Warned Us
02-05-2023
Dr. Seuss Warned Us
Dr. Seuss wrote a story about a Hawtch-Hawtcher Bee-Watcher whose job it is to watch his town’s one lazy bee, because “a bee that is watched will work harder, you see.” But that doesn’t seem to work, so another Hawtch-Hawtcher is assigned to watch the first, and then another to watch the second... until the whole town is watching each other watch a bee. To Federal Trade Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya, the story—which long predates the internet—is a great metaphor for why we must be wary of workplace surveillance, and why we need to strengthen our privacy laws. Bedoya has made a career of studying privacy, trust, and competition, and wishes for a world in which we can do, see, and read what we want, living our lives without being held back by our identity, income, faith, or any other attribute. In that world, all our interactions with technology —from social media to job or mortgage applications—are on a level playing field. Bedoya speaks with EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about how fixing the internet should allow all people to live their lives with dignity, pride, and purpose. In this episode, you’ll learn about: The nuances of work that “bossware,” employee surveillance technology, can’t catch. Why the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) isn’t the privacy panacea you might think it is. Making sure that one-size-fits-all privacy rules don’t backfire against new entrants and small competitors. How antitrust fundamentally is about small competitors and working people, like laborers and farmers, deserving fairness in our economy. Alvaro Bedoya was nominated by President Joe Biden, confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and sworn in May 16, 2022 as a Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission; his term expires in September 2026. Bedoya was the founding director of the Center on Privacy & Technology at Georgetown University Law Center, where he was also a visiting professor of law. He has been influential in research and policy at the intersection of privacy and civil rights, and co-authored a 2016 report on the use of facial recognition by law enforcement and the risks that it poses. He previously served as the first Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law after its founding in 2011, and as Chief Counsel to former U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-MN); earlier, he was an associate at the law firm WilmerHale. A naturalized immigrant born in Peru and raised in upstate New York, Bedoya previously co-founded the Esperanza Education Fund, a college scholarship for immigrant students in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College and holds a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he served on the Yale Law Journal and received the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans.  This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/64772lostTrack by Airtone (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/64772 Ft. mwic__________________________________http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/59729Probably Shouldn’t by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Mr_Yesterday__________________________________http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/58703CommonGround by airtone (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) Ft: simonlittlefield
Safer Sex Work Makes a Safer Internet
18-04-2023
Safer Sex Work Makes a Safer Internet
An internet that is safe for sex workers is an internet that is safer for everyone. Though the effects of stigmatization and criminalization run deep, the sex worker community exemplifies how technology can help people reduce harm, share support, and offer experienced analysis to protect each other. But a 2018 federal law purportedly aimed at stopping sex trafficking, FOSTA-SESTA, led to shutdowns of online spaces where sex workers could talk, putting at increased risk some of the very people it was supposed to protect. Public interest technology lawyer Kendra Albert and sex worker, activist, and researcher Danielle Blunt have been fighting for sex workers’ online rights for years. They say that this marginalized group’s experience can be a valuable model for protecting all of our free speech rights, and that holding online platforms legally responsible for user speech can lead to censorship that hurts us all. Albert and Blunt join EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley to talk about the failures of FOSTA-SESTA, the need for encryption to create a safe internet, and how to create cross-movement relationships with other activists for bodily autonomy so that all internet users can continue to build online communities that keep them safe and free. In this episode, you’ll learn about: How criminalization sometimes harms those whom it is meant to protect. How end-to-end encryption goes hand-in-hand with shared community wisdom to protect speech about things that are—or might ever be—criminalized. Viewing community building, mutual aid, and organizing as a kind of technology. The importance of centering those likely to be impacted in conversations about policy solutions. Kendra Albert is a public interest technology lawyer with a special interest in computer security law and freedom of expression. They serve as a clinical instructor at the Cyberlaw Clinic at Harvard Law School, where they teach students to practice law by working with pro bono clients; they also founded and direct the Initiative for a Representative First Amendment. They serve on the boards of the ACLU of Massachusetts and the Tor Project, and provide support as a legal advisor for Hacking//Hustling. They earned a B.H.A. in History and Lighting Design from Carnegie Mellon University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, cum laude. Danielle Blunt is a sex worker, community organizer, public health researcher and co-founder of Hacking//Hustling, a collective of sex workers and accomplices working at the intersection of tech and social justice to interrupt state surveillance and violence facilitated by technology. Blunt leads community-based participatory research on sex work and equitable access to technology from a public health perspective. She is on the advisory board of the Initiative for a Representative First Amendment; is a Senior Civic Media Fellow at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Innovation Lab; and was a 2020 recipient of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award. This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/37792Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Airtone__________________________________http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/59533Warm Vacuum Tube  by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: starfroschhttp://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/59721__________________________________reCreation by Airtone (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/59721 Ft. mwic__________________________________Beatmower - Theme and Extro
Losing Until We Win: Realistic Revolution in Science Fiction
04-04-2023
Losing Until We Win: Realistic Revolution in Science Fiction
When a science-fiction villain is defeated, we often see the heroes take their victory lap and then everyone lives happily ever after. But that’s not how real struggles work: In real life, victories are followed by repairs, rebuilding, and reparations, by analysis and introspection, and often, by new battles.  Science-fiction author and science journalist Annalee Newitz knows social change is a neverending process, and revolutions are long and sometimes kind of boring. Their novels and nonfiction books, however, are anything but boring—they write dynamically about the future we actually want and can attain, not an idealized and unattainable daydream. They’re involved in a project called “We Will Rise Again:” an anthology pairing science fiction writers with activists to envision realistically how we can do things better as a neighborhood, a community, or a civilization. Newitz speaks with EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about depicting true progress as a long-haul endeavor, understanding that failure is part of the process, and creating good law as a form of world-building and improving our future.  In this episode, you’ll learn about: Why the Star Wars series “Andor” is a good depiction of the brutal, draining nature of engaging in protracted action against a repressive regime. The nature of the “hopepunk” genre, and how it acknowledges that things are tough and one small victory is not the end of oppression. How alien, animal, and artificial characters in fiction can help us examine and improve upon human relationships and how we use our resources. How re-thinking our allocation and protection of physical and intellectual property could bring about a more just future. Annalee Newitz writes science fiction and nonfiction. Their new novel—“The Terraformers” (2023)—led Scientific American to comment, ‘It’s easy to imagine future generations studying this novel as a primer for how to embrace solutions to the challenges we all face." Their first novel—”Autonomous” (2017)—won the Lambda Literary Award. As a science journalist, they are the author of “Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age” (2021) and “Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction” (2013), which was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize in science. They are a writer for the New York Times; have a monthly column in New Scientist; and have been published in The Washington Post, Slate, Popular Science, Ars Technica, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic, among others. They are the co-host of the Hugo Award-winning podcast Our Opinions Are Correct. Previously, they founded io9 and served as editor-in-chief of Gizmodo.  This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/zep_hurme/59681Come Inside by Zep Hurme (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/zep_hurme/59681 Ft: snowflake__________________________________http://ccmixter.org/files/JeffSpeed68/56377Smokey Eyes by Stefan Kartenberg (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft.: KidJazz__________________________________http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/59729Probably Shouldn’t by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Mr_Yesterday__________________________________http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/58703CommonGround by airtone (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) Ft: simonlittlefield__________________________________Beatmower - Theme and Extro__________________________________Additional beds and alternate theme remixes by Gaëtan Harris
So You Think You're a Critical Thinker
21-03-2023
So You Think You're a Critical Thinker
The promise of the internet was that it would be a tool to melt barriers and aid truth-seekers everywhere. But it feels like polarization has worsened in recent years, and more internet users are being misled into embracing conspiracies and cults. From QAnon to anti-vax screeds to talk of an Illuminati bunker beneath Denver International Airport, Alice Marwick has heard it all. She has spent years researching some dark corners of the online experience: the spread of conspiracy theories and disinformation. She says many people see conspiracy theories as participatory ways to be active in political and social systems from which they feel left out, building upon beliefs they already harbor to weave intricate and entirely false narratives. Marwick speaks with EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about finding ways to identify and leverage people’s commonalities to stem this flood of disinformation while ensuring that the most marginalized and vulnerable internet users are still empowered to speak out. In this episode you’ll learn about: Why seemingly ludicrous conspiracy theories get so many views and followers How disinformation is tied to personal identity and feelings of marginalization and disenfranchisement When fact-checking does and doesn’t work Thinking about online privacy as a political and structural issue rather than something that can be solved by individual action  Alice Marwick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and cofounder and Principal Researcher at the Center for Information, Technology and Public Life at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She researches the social, political, and cultural implications of popular social media technologies. In 2017, she co-authored Media Manipulation and Disinformation Online (Data & Society), a flagship report examining far-right online subcultures’ use of social media to spread disinformation, for which she was named one of Foreign Policy magazine’s 2017 Global Thinkers. She is the author of Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity and Branding in the Social Media Age (Yale 2013), an ethnographic study of the San Francisco tech scene which examines how people seek social status through online visibility, and co-editor of The Sage Handbook of Social Media (Sage 2017). Her forthcoming book, The Private is Political (Yale 2023), examines how the networked nature of online privacy disproportionately impacts marginalized individuals in terms of gender, race, and socio-economic status. She earned a political science and women's studies bachelor's degree from Wellesley College, a Master of Arts in communication from the University of Washington, and a PhD in media, culture and communication from New York University. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/59729Probably Shouldn’t by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Mr_Yesterday__________________________________http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/58703CommonGround by airtone (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) Ft: simonlittlefield__________________________________Additional beds and alternate theme remixes by Gaëtan Harris
Making the Invisible Visible
07-03-2023
Making the Invisible Visible
What would the internet look like if it weren't the greatest technology of mass surveillance in the history of mankind? Trevor Paglen wonders about this, and he makes art from it. To Paglen, art is a conversation with the past and the future – artifacts of how the world looks at a certain time and place. In our time and place, it’s a world dogged by digital privacy concerns, and so his art ranges from 19th-century style photos of military drones circling like insects in the Nevada sky, to a museum installation that provides a free wifi hotspot offering anonymized browsing through a Tor network, to deep-sea diving photos of internet cables tapped by the National Security Agency.  Paglen speaks with EFF's Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about making the invisible visible: creating physical manifestations of the data collection and artificial intelligence that characterize today’s internet so that people can reflect on how to make tomorrow’s internet far better for us all. In this episode you’ll learn about: The blurred edges between art, law, and activism in creating spaces for people to think differently. Exploring the contradictions of technology that is both beautiful and scary. Creating an artistic vocabulary and culture that helps viewers grasp technical and political issues. Changing the attitude that technology is neutral, and instead illuminating and mitigating its impacts on society. Trevor Paglen is an artist whose work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines with a focus on mass surveillance, data collection, and artificial intelligence. He has had one-person exhibitions at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington D.C.; the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh; the Fondazione Prada in Milan; the Barbican Centre in London; the Vienna Secession in Vienna; and Protocinema in Istanbul. He has launched an artwork into Earth orbit, contributed research and cinematography to the Academy Award-winning film “Citizenfour,” and created a radioactive public sculpture for the exclusion zone in Fukushima, Japan. The author of several books and numerous articles, he won a 2017 MacArthur Fellowship “genius grant” and holds a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Geography from U.C. Berkeley. This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/58703CommonGround by airtone (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) Ft: simonlittlefieldAdditional beds and alternate theme remixes by Gaëtan HarrisPhoto: Ståle Grut (CC-By-Share-alike)
The Right to Imagine Your Own Future
21-02-2023
The Right to Imagine Your Own Future
Too often we let the rich and powerful dictate what technology’s future will be, from Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse to Elon Musk’s neural implants. But what if we all were empowered to use our voices and perspectives to imagine a better world in which we all can thrive while creating and using technology as we choose? That idea guides Deji Bryce Olukotun’s work both as a critically acclaimed author and as a tech company’s social impact chief. Instead of just envisioning the oligarch-dominated dystopia we fear, he believes speculative fiction can instead paint a picture of healthy, open societies in which all share in technology’s economic bounty. It can also help to free people’s imaginations to envision more competitive, level playing fields. Then we can use those diverse visions to guide policy solutions, from antitrust enforcement to knocking down the laws that stymie innovation. Olukotun speaks with EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about rejecting the inevitability of the tech future that profit-driven corporate figureheads describe, and choosing instead to exercise the right to imagine our own future and leverage that vision into action.In this episode you’ll learn about:  The influence of George W. Bush’s presidency and Silicon Valley’s rapid expansion on Olukotun’s seminal “Nigerians in Space.”The value in envisioning a “post-scarcity” world.Using speculative fiction to more accurately portray the long, complicated arc of civil liberties battles.The importance of stakeholder-based activism in advancing solutions to critical issues from protecting democracy to combating climate change.Deji Bryce Olukotun is the author of two novels and his fiction has appeared in five book collections. His novel “After the Flare” won the 2018 Philip K. Dick special citation and was chosen as one of the best books of 2017 by The Guardian, The Washington Post, Syfy.com, Tor.com, Kirkus Reviews, among others. A former Future Tense Fellow at New America, Olukotun is Head of Social Impact at Sonos, leading the audio technology company’s grantmaking and social activations. He previously worked at the digital rights organization Access Now, where he drove campaigns on fighting internet shutdowns, cybersecurity, and online censorship. Olukotun graduated from Yale College and Stanford Law School, and earned a Master’s in creative writing at the University of Cape Town. If you have any feedback on this episode, please email podcast@eff.org. Please visit the site page at eff.org/pod303 where you’ll find resources – including links to important legal cases and research discussed in the podcast and a full transcript of the audio. Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/37792Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Airtonehttp://ccmixter.org/files/NiGiD/62475Chrome Cactus by Martijn DeBoer (c) copyright 2020 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.__________________________________http://ccmixter.org/files/JeffSpeed68/56377Smokey Eyes by Stefan Kartenberg (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft.: KidJazz__________________________________Additional beds and alternate theme remixes by Gaëtan Harris__________________________________
When Tech Comes to Town
07-02-2023
When Tech Comes to Town
When a tech company moves to your city, the effects ripple far beyond just the people it employs. It can impact thousands of ancillary jobs – from teachers to nurses to construction workers – as well as the community’s housing, transportation, health care, and other businesses. And too often, these impacts can be negative.  Catherine Bracy, co-founder and CEO of the Oakland-based TechEquity Collaborative, has spent her career exploring ways to build a more equitable tech-driven economy. She believes that because the technology sector became a major economic driver at the same time deregulation became politically fashionable, tech companies often didn’t catch the “civic bug” – a sense of responsibility to the communities in which they’re based – in the way that industries of the past might have. Bracy speaks with EFF's Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about following the money and changing the regulations that underpin the tech sector so that companies are more inclined to be thoughtful about supporting, not exploiting, the places and people they call home – creating stronger, thriving communities.In this episode you’ll learn about: How the venture capital model of funding contributes to tech’s reticence on civic engagement.How the “platform mentality” affects non-tech workers and their communities.Why the law should treat tech companies the same as other companies, without special carve-out exceptions and exemptions.Why tech workers being well-informed about their companies’ and products’ impacts, as well as taking active roles in their communities, can be a game-changer.Catherine Bracy is a civic technologist and community organizer whose work focuses on the intersection of technology and political and economic inequality. She is the co-founder and CEO of TechEquity Collaborative, an organization based in Oakland, CA, that mobilizes tech workers and companies to advocate for economic equity in our communities. She was previously Code for America’s Senior Director of Partnerships and Ecosystem, where she grew the Brigade program into a network of over 50,000 civic tech volunteers in more than 80 U.S. cities. She also founded Code for All, the global network of Code-for organizations with partners on six continents. During the 2012 election cycle she was Director of Obama for America’s Technology Field Office in San Francisco, the first of its kind in American political history. Earlier, she was administrative director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.If you have any feedback on this episode, please email podcast@eff.org. Please visit the site page at eff.org/pod302 where you’ll find resources – including links to important legal cases and research discussed in the podcast and a full transcript of the audio. Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/admiralbob77/59533Warm Vacuum Tube  by Admiral Bob (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: starfrosch__________________________________http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/58703CommonGrond by airtone (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) Ft: simonlittlefield__________________________________http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/37792Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Airtone__________________________________Beatmower - Theme, Interstitial (Wonder) and Extro__________________________________Additional beds and alternate theme remixes by Gaëtan Harris
Don’t Be Afraid to Poke the Tigers
24-01-2023
Don’t Be Afraid to Poke the Tigers
What can a bustling electronic components bazaar in Shenzhen, China, tell us about building a better technology future? To researcher and hacker Andrew “bunnie” Huang, it symbolizes the boundless motivation, excitement, and innovation that can be unlocked if people have the rights to repair, tinker, and create. Huang believes that to truly unleash innovation that betters everyone, we must replace our current patent and copyright culture with one that truly values making products better, cheaper, and more reliably by encouraging competition around production, quality, and cost optimization. He wants to remind people of the fun, inspiring era when makers didn’t have to live in fear of patent trolls, and to encourage them to demand a return of the “permissionless ecosystem” that nurtured so many great ideas. Huang speaks with EFF's Cindy Cohn and Jason Kelley about how we can have it all – from better phones to cooler drones, from handy medical devices to fun Star Wars fan gadgets – if we’re willing to share ideas and trade short-term profit for long-term advancement. In this episode you’ll learn about: How “rent-seeking behavior” stifles innovation. Why questioning authority and “poking the tigers” of patent law is necessary to move things forward. What China can teach the United States about competitive production that advances creative invention. How uniting hardware and software hackers, fan fiction creators, farmers who want to repair their tractors, and other stakeholders into a single, focused right-to-repair movement could change the future of technology.   Andrew “bunnie” Huang is an American security researcher and hardware hacker with a long history in reverse engineering. He's the author of the widely respected 2003 book, “Hacking the Xbox: An Introduction to Reverse Engineering,” and since then he served as a research affiliate for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab and as a technical advisor for several hardware startups. EFF awarded him a Pioneer Award in 2012 for his work in hardware hacking, open source, and activism. He’s a native of Kalamazoo, MI, he holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from MIT, and he lives in Singapore.   If you have any feedback on this episode, please email podcast@eff.org. Please visit the site page at https://eff.org/pod301Find the podcast via RSS, Stitcher, TuneIn, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify. You can find an MP3 archive of all our episodes at the Internet Archive. EFF is deeply grateful for the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology, without whom this podcast would not be possible.Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Nat Keefe of Beatmower with Reed Mathis. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/58703CommonGrond by airtone (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) Ft: simonlittlefieldhttp://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/59729Probably Shouldn’t by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Mr_YesterdayAdditional beds and alternate theme remixes by Gaëtan Harris
Wordle and the Web We Need
31-05-2022
Wordle and the Web We Need
Where is the internet we were promised? It feels like we’re dominated by megalithic, siloed platforms where users have little or no say over how their data is used and little recourse if they disagree, where direct interaction with users is seen as a bug to be fixed, and where art and creativity are just “content generation.”But take a peek beyond those platforms and you can still find a thriving internet of millions who are empowered to control their own technology, art, and lives. Anil Dash, CEO of Glitch and an EFF board member, says this is where we start reclaiming the internet for individual agency, control, creativity, and connection to culture - especially among society’s most vulnerable and marginalized members.Dash speaks with EFF's Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien about building more humane and inclusive technology, and leveraging love of art and culture into grassroots movements for an internet that truly belongs to us all.In this episode you’ll learn about:What past and current social justice movements can teach us about reclaiming the internetThe importance of clearly understanding and describing what we want—and don’t want—from technologyEnergizing people in artistic and fandom communities to become activists for better technologyTech workers’ potential power over what their employers doHow Wordle might be a window into a healthier web.If you have any feedback on this episode, please email podcast@eff.org. Please visit the site page at https://eff.org/pod210 where you’ll find resources – including links to important legal cases and research discussed in the podcast and a full transcript of the audio. This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/61577Get It - pop mix by J.Lang Feat: AnalogByNature & RJay http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/59729Probably Shouldn't by J.Lang http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/JeffSpeed68/56377Smokey Eyes by Stefan Kartenberg http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/58703commonGround by airtone http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/Skill_Borrower/41751Klaus by Skill_Borrower http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/NiGiD/62475Chrome Cactus by Martijn de Boer (NiGiD)
Securing the Vote
24-05-2022
Securing the Vote
U.S. democracy is at an inflection point, and how we administer and verify our elections is more important than ever. From hanging chads to glitchy touchscreens to partisan disinformation, too many Americans worry that their votes won’t count and that election results aren’t trustworthy. It’s crucial that citizens have well-justified confidence in this pillar of our republic.Technology can provide answers - but that doesn’t mean moving elections online. As president and CEO of the nonpartisan nonprofit Verified Voting, Pamela Smith helps lead the national fight to balance ballot accessibility with ballot security by advocating for paper trails, audits, and transparency wherever and however Americans cast votes.On this episode of How to Fix the Internet, Pamela Smith joins EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien to discuss hope for the future of democracy and the technology and best practices that will get us there.In this episode you’ll learn about:Why voting online can never be like banking or shopping onlineWhat a “risk-limiting audit” is, and why no election should lack itWhether open-source software could be part of securing our votesWhere to find reliable information about how your elections are conductedIf you have any feedback on this episode, please email podcast@eff.org. Please visit the site page at https://eff.org/pod209 where you’ll find resources – including links to important legal cases and research discussed in the podcast and a full transcript of the audio. Pamela Smith, President & CEO of Verified Voting, plays a national leadership role in safeguarding elections and building working alliances between advocates, election officials, and other stakeholders. Pam joined Verified Voting in 2004, and previously served as President from 2007-2017. She is a member of the National Task Force on Election Crises, a diverse cross-partisan group of more than 50 experts whose mission is to prevent and mitigate election crises by urging critical reforms. She provides information and public testimony on election security issues across the nation, including to Congress. Before her work in elections, she was a nonprofit executive for a Hispanic educational organization working on first language literacy and adult learning, and a small business and marketing consultant.This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/Skill_Borrower/41751Klaus by Skill_Borrower http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/58703commonGround by airtonehttp://dig.ccmixter.org/files/NiGiD/62475Chrome Cactus by Martijn de Boer (NiGiD)
An AI Hammer in Search of a Nail
17-05-2022
An AI Hammer in Search of a Nail
It often feels like machine learning experts are running around with a hammer, looking at everything as a potential nail - they have a system that does cool things and is fun to work on, and they go in search of things to use it for. But what if we flip that around and start by working with people in various fields - education, health, or economics, for example - to clearly define societal problems, and then design algorithms providing useful steps to solve them?Rediet Abebe, a researcher and professor of computer science at UC Berkeley, spends a lot of time thinking about how machine learning functions in the real world, and working to make the results of machine learning processes more actionable and more equitable.Abebe joins EFF's Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien to discuss how we redefine the machine learning pipeline - from creating a more diverse pool of computer scientists to rethinking how we apply this tech for the betterment of society’s most marginalized and vulnerable - to make real, positive change in people’s lives.In this episode you’ll learn about:The historical problems with the official U.S. poverty measurementHow machine learning can (and can’t) lead to more just verdicts in our criminal courtsHow equitable data sharing practices could help nations and cultures around the worldReconsidering machine learning’s variables to maximize for goals other than commercial profit.  If you have any feedback on this episode, please email podcast@eff.org. Please visit the site page at https://eff.org/pod208 where you’ll find resources – including links to important legal cases and research discussed in the podcast and a full transcript of the audio. This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower. This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators: http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/djlang59/59729Probably Shouldn't by J.Langhttp://dig.ccmixter.org/files/Skill_Borrower/41751Klaus by Skill_Borrower http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/airtone/58703commonGround by airtonehttp://dig.ccmixter.org/files/JeffSpeed68/56377Smokey Eyes by Stefan Kartenberg http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/NiGiD/62475Chrome Cactus by Martijn de Boer (NiGiD)