Episode 196
May 19, 2020

When we go back to work, tech will have a new job

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Some of it will be watching us to keep everyone healthy. It might work. Or it might be public health "theater."

Ready or not, the country is starting to reopen.

Most states have already let some nonessential businesses reopen, which means some people are getting back to work. But how do we reopen this economy responsibly without a surge in coronavirus cases? That question goes straight to the quandary of security vs. privacy, this time in your workplace.

There’s a lot of new tech on the table: contact tracing apps, social distance monitoring, infrared cameras that take your temperature and more. But what’s effective and what’s “theater”? And what data will you have to give up to get back to work? Here to talk us through how American workplaces will change as the pandemic wanes is Chris Calabrese, the vice president for policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology.

He also reminds us that any new regime of office monitoring you might encounter is built on, well, an aging but well-established surveillance infrastructure you’ve probably already been working with.

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Here links to some of the stories we talked about today:

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The team

Molly Wood Host
Jody Becker Interim Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Sam Anderson Associate Producer