The global privacy conversation is complex,
challenging, and gaining momentum. In the following checklist,
presents ten podcasts that are setting the agenda for
privacy, cybersecurity, and emerging tech. The order of this list is not a ranking of quality or entertainment value, and we hope you will dive into each of our choices as you continue on your personal quest for privacy and enlightenment.
The name of this podcast says it all – the divide between "online" and "offline" has long ceased to exist. How can we make sense of the digital world that surrounds us? Journalist and media entrepreneur Manoush Zomorodi has a few suggestions. She explores what being able to sell our data would mean for our right to privacy, contemplates what the Internet would look like if it were built by women, and explains how to avoid being tripped-up by long-winded privacy policies. Zomorodi has her finger on the pulse of reverberations across the Internet and thinks deeply about its effect on our daily lives. As informative as it is practical, IRL demonstrates that taking privacy more seriously doesn’t have to be hard work – rather, it can empower us to create technological tools that work for us in the long term.
How can we "unbreak" the Internet? How is technology impacting society and culture? Why should we care about privacy? These are just some of the questions that The Atlantic journalist Derek Thompson tackles in Crazy/Genius, a podcast dedicated to the forces shaping our contemporary condition. The episode “The U.S. and China: A Tale of Two Surveillance States” takes listeners from Brooklyn to Xinjiang, revealing the parallels between two hegemonic powers that are concurrently placing their populations under the microscope. Each episode is accompanied by a think piece that previews the main arc, so you can scope out the episode before listening in full. If you enjoy philosophical arguments, historical overviews, and future predictions, you won’t be bored when selecting an episode at random either.
Producer: The Atlantic
Host: Derek Thompson
Web URL: https://theatlantic.com/podcasts/crazygenius/
Focus: Privacy & Society, Culture, Emerging Tech
Kara Swisher, Recode’s co-founder and editor-at-large, is one of Silicon Valley’s most revered – and feared – journalists, known for making Mark Zuckerberg sweat through his hoodie. Her reputation gives her a solid platform to tackle the tech industry giants, and her podcast Recode Decode moves seamlessly from the politics of "technofascism" and antitrust debates to diversity in tech and the ethics of AI. Whip-sharp and straight to the point, Swisher asks the tough questions and, in doing so, teases out challenging answers both from tech industry insiders and those committed to holding them accountable. Swisher gets frank with investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who talks Facebook and Brexit, confers with Reddit CEO Steve Huffman, and grills DuckDuckGo CEO Gabe Weinberg on his vision for fixing tech to preserve online privacy. Expect high energy conversations, a healthy dose of humor, and first-rate journalism.
“True stories from the dark side of the Internet” is what Darknet Diaries promises to deliver – and it’s the well-honed storytelling ability of host and founder Jack Rhysider that gives this fortnightly series its strength. As a security world veteran, there’s hardly an industry issue Rhysider hasn’t encountered. Drawing on his own experiences, a network of experts, and the latest security news, he sheds light on some of the Internet’s shadier areas. Episodes include “Operation Socialist”, in which a nation-state actor hacks into a company located in another nation, “Project Raven”, which follows an ex-NSA agent who worked for hackers in the UAE, and “Zain”, which goes behind the scenes with creators of ransomware. The stories in Darknet Diaries episodes can sometimes feel like the stuff of fiction but, as Rhysider’s thorough referencing reveals, it’s all true.
Carey Parker launched the Firewalls Don't Stop Dragons podcast to correspond with his eye-opening book of the same name. The podcast is released weekly and highlights current events in privacy and cybersecurity, as well as more general tech topics. Carey interviews a wide variety of experts across academia and industry, explaining each week's stories for the non-techie crowd. Guests include Bruce Schneier for "Data Privacy Day Pod-Centennial", Cory Doctorow for "Do We Own Any Media We Buy Anymore?", and Ladar Levinson, infamous founder of Lavabit, for the two-part "Why I Killed my Company to Save my Customers". Firewalls Don't Stop Dragons will leave you entertained and educated, pondering your place in the digital landscape and coming back each week for more.
Hosted by veteran FBI cybercrime investigator-turned-author Michael Bazzell, this in-depth weekly podcast is geared towards technologists and the hardcore cybersecurity crowd. With rigor and coherence, Bazzell takes on some of the most pressing issues in privacy and OSINT (Open Source Intelligence) – from de-Googling your life to scrubbing your Web identity. Expect a frank and challenging listen that’s peppered with practical tips for protecting your privacy across all spheres of life, ranging from the simple to the radical. In 2019, Bazzell published Extreme Privacy: What It Takes To Disappear in America – a comprehensive playbook that, as he promises, “provides explicit details of every step I take to make someone completely disappear."
Enthusiasts of Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) are some of the biggest advocates of privacy and security in the tech world. Tom Murosky founded Switched To Linux to bring awareness to the FOSS operating systems based on GNU/Linux, such as Linux Mint and Debian. A content-creating machine, Tom dove into privacy and cybersecurity long ago, bringing his audience "Tin Foil Hat Time" and weekly updates on privacy stories such as "Jeff Bezos’s Leaky Phone". Switched To Linux's lighthearted delivery is coupled with years of expertise and further enhanced by a variety of tech industry guests. In addition to the multiple updates each week, Tom hosts a weekend livestream with a passionate audience of techies who contribute to the lively conversation. The word "linux" has moved far beyond niche hobbyists, and could just be your doorway to exploring privacy, security, and digital self-defense.
Host: Tom Murosky
Web URL: https://switchedtolinux.com/recent-updates/all-categories/
Focus: GNU/Linux, Privacy, Digital Self-Defense
Motherboard has gained a first-rate reputation for breaking hard-hitting stories and publishing long-form investigative pieces. Every week, Cyber host Ben Makuch catches up with Motherboard reporters Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai and Joseph Cox to delve deeper into a recent story and shed light on its implications. Noteworthy episodes include “The Private Surveillance System Tracking Cars in America”, which reveals the inner workings of a surreptitious car-tracking system across the U.S., and “Is Your Password Secure? Probably Not!”, where expert Wendy Nather gives her thoughts on operational security and login methods. Cyber is a source of compelling reminders for us to keep questioning our digital habits.
Producer: Vice Motherboard
Host: Ben Makuch
Web URL: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cyber/id1441708044
Focus: Privacy & Society, IT Industry, Surveillance
Who says cybersecurity can’t be funny? Smashing Security is evidence that there is a lighter side. Experts Carole Theriault and Graham Cluley are at the top of their respective games in the cybersecurity industry. The duo imbues the episodes they each take turns to host with a dry sense of humor, making sense of tech issues with a lightness of touch. With episodes bearing names like “Sextortion, silicone face masks, and a DDoS doofus”, “Oops, we created Iran’s hacking exploit”, and “Love, PINs and 8chan”, the podcast offers education and entertainment in equal measure. Critics agree – Smashing Security was named “Best Security Podcast” in 2018 and 2019.
Two respected authorities in business and tech join forces to bridge the gap between tech/science and business/society. Harvard Business Review's forward-thinking podcast Exponential View is hosted by the entrepreneur and analyst Azeem Azhar, whose newsletter of the same name has gained a loyal global following. Azhar is a congenial host and his impressive cadre of guests – from AI pioneers Eric Topo and Jürgen Schmidhuber to leading economists Shoshana Zuboff and W. Brian Arthur – ensures the conversations he leads enrich and enlighten. While the focus tends to be on advancements in machine learning and automation, issues pertaining to privacy and digital rights are examined at regular intervals – from the regulation of Big Tech to the surveillance economy.
Producer: Harvard Business Review
Host: Azeem Azhar
Web URL: https://hbr.org/2019/04/podcast-exponential-view
Focus: Privacy & Society, Artificial Intelligence, IT Industry