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The pandemic all but killed privacy. It’s not too late to bring it back.
Apr 27, 2021
Episode 420

The pandemic all but killed privacy. It’s not too late to bring it back.

The state of online privacy is grim, according to Harvard professor emeritus Shoshana Zuboff, but the public appetite for regulation has never been higher.

Despite being ensconced in our homes for more than a year, we do not have a lot of privacy.

In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has entrenched the yearslong erosion of our privacy, according to Harvard professor emeritus Shoshana Zuboff. Powerful tech companies were already doing big business with our data. Now they’re providing the tools essential for school, work, even getting the vaccine.

“If you look at the ways that the companies have really been able to … drive the these huge increases in their market capitalization over this past year-and-a-half,” Zuboff said. “The very first one is just the expansion of business as usual.”

On today’s show, we’ll talk about the threats to our privacy with Zuboff, author of “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism.” It may not be our most uplifting interview, but Zuboff says there’s a reason to hopeful: Living online has sharply increased public concern about data privacy and lawmakers’ appetite for regulating Big Tech.

“Their audacity, their invasiveness has poked the sleeping giant of democracy one too many times,” she said, adding: “Everything is in play now in a way that it hasn’t been for two decades.”

Later in the show, we’ll get some listener thoughts on reparations and Dogecoin, plus a capsule history of the bulldozer.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’re explaining electric vehicles, farmers markets and ketchup. And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

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The team

Marissa Cabrera Senior Producer
Bridget Bodnar Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer