Trailer: Introducing Season 4Can ‘ethical tech’ be a thing? We think so. Season 4 of Mozilla’s IRL podcast will explore all the ways tech can have more positive influence on people, communities, and societies at large. And, we’re delighted to welcome our new host Manoush Zomorodi, who will keep the season nerdy, human, and — importantly — fun, for all of us as we listen in. Show NotesPublished: November 12, 2018
When you shop, your data may be the most valuable thing for sale. This isn’t just true online — your data follows you into brick and mortar stores now as well. Manoush Zomorodi explores the hidden costs of shopping, online and off. Meet Meta Brown, a data scientist who unveils the information Amazon captures about you when you make an online purchase; Joseph Turow, who discusses how retailers are stripping us of our privacy; and Alana Semuels, who talks about becoming a hoarder with the advent of online shopping. Plus, learn about a college coffee shop where you can actually buy a drink with your data. (Is it worth it?) Show NotesPublished: November 26, 2018
Throughout this season, IRL will feature essays from students who are sharing their thoughts on how the web impacts them — for good or bad. This week’s post explores what a Facebook hack taught a teen about privacy.
IRL is also partnering with Common Sense Media for tips on how families can stay safe and strong online. This week’s post explains what families can do to safeguard their data.
Meta Brown is the author of Data Mining for Dummies.
Read Alana Semuels essay, We Are All Accumulating Mountains of Things.
And, if you decide to shop online this holiday season, Firefox has you covered with Pricewise, which tracks prices for you across five top US retailers: Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Home Depot and Best Buy.Episode transcript
Look, we agree with you: passwords are the worst. But you know what else is the worst? Someone hacking your account, or big security breaches that expose your email, your credit card information, your government-issued identification number, and more. We should hold companies accountable for better security, but we also need to hold ourselves accountable for having good password hygiene. So let’s tackle this once and for all. Hear from Buzzfeed’s Mat Honan, who endured a brutal hack a few years ago when hackers exploited password-recovery tools; Mark Wilson from Fast Company, who wants to ban passwords altogether (though admits it’s not the best idea); Masha Sedova of Elevate Security who says that, yes, security companies have failed us – but we have to use passwords anyway; and Matt Davey of 1Password, who offers a solution that Mozilla can get behind: use a password manager. A simple, game-changing tool that will help you take back control of your accounts, and secure yourself as best as you can. Show NotesPublished: December 10, 2018
Your passwords protect more than your accounts. They protect every bit of personal information that resides in them. And hackers rely on bad habits, like using the same password everywhere or using common phrases (p@ssw0rd, anyone?), so that if they hack one account, they can hack many.
IRL listeners can sign up to 1Password and get their first three months for free. Just visit 1password.com/promo/IRL and give it a try.
And, if you use Firefox on your iPhone, try out Firefox Lockbox. It securely gives you access to all the logins you’ve saved to Firefox, in a secure app on your phone.
As we mention in this episode of IRL, Gabriela Ivens cataloged hundreds of secret recipes that were leaked during data breaches. Firefox teamed up with her to show the personal impact a security breach can have on someone. As a bonus, we let you in on those precious recipes to drive the point home. Go have a look — and be sure to try the “Exposed BBQ Spice Rub” — at dataleeks.com.
Want more? Mozilla has teamed up with 826 Valencia to bring you perspectives written by students on IRL topics this season. Zues C. from De Marillac Academy wrote this piece on managing your passwords, and managing your life.
And, check out this article from Common Sense Media, on real world reasons parents should care about kids and online privacy.
Three cheers for good passwords (and password managers).Episode transcript
3: TL;DRTL;DR: We have access to more things to read than ever before. Too much, in fact. Our reading habits have shifted. We skim a lot. We look for full stories baked into headlines. Our eyes bounce around from one article to the next, and we try and fail to manage how many things we read at once. Some of us can no longer concentrate on a book—no matter how good it might be. Reading has changed. And we’re changing alongside it. With host Manoush Zomorodi, Derek Thompson at the Atlantic talks headlines; Ernie Smith from Tedium rails against our bad browser tab habits; librarian rock star Nancy Pearl makes the case for analog books; Beth Rogowsky discusses if audiobooks can replace reading; and Nate Weiner from Mozilla’s Pocket shows us one way we can manage our reading overload. Happy New Year — let’s get working on that “I will read more this year” resolution. Show NotesPublished: January 7, 2019
With so many possible articles to read every day online, it can be hard to sort through what to read and what to skip. Help yourself — give Pocket a try, the app and web service featured in today’s episode. Pocket brings you human curated articles that are selected to inspire, inform, and motivate you. Learn more.
We mention a bunch of books in this IRL episode — here they are:
- Solitude by Michael Harris
- The End of Absence by Michael Harris
- Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi
- Hit Makers by Derek Thompson
- Book Lust books by Nancy Pearl
Want more? Mozilla has teamed up with 826 Valencia to bring you perspectives written by students on IRL topics this season. Cymreiy P. from De Marillac Academy wrote this piece on clickbait and homework.Episode transcript
What, if anything, should be banned from online media? And who should review violent and explicit content, in order to decide if it’s okay for the public? Thousands of people around the world are working long, difficult hours as content moderators in support of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. They are guided by complex and shifting guidelines, and their work can sometimes lead to psychological trauma. But the practice of content moderation also raises questions about censorship and free expression online.
In this IRL episode, host Manoush Zomorodi talks with a forensic investigator who compares the work she does solving disturbing crimes with the work done by content moderators. We hear the stories of content moderators working in the Philippines, as told by the directors of a new documentary called The Cleaners. Ellen Silver from Facebook joins us to outline Facebook’s content moderation policies. Kalev Leetaru flags the risks that come from relying on artificial intelligence to clean the web. And Kat Lo explains why this work is impossible to get exactly right.
Some of the content in this episode is sensitive, and may be difficult to hear for some listeners.Show NotesPublished: January 21, 2019
Want more? Mozilla has teamed up with 826 Valencia to bring you perspectives written by students on IRL topics this season. Nicole M. from De Marillac Academy wrote this piece on inappropriate content online.
And finally, this IRL episode’s content underscores the importance of supporting companies committed to ethical tech and humane practices. Thank you for supporting Mozilla by choosing Firefox.Episode transcript
In her new book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, Harvard Business School’s Shoshana Zuboff argues that tech companies — like Google and Facebook — collect so much personal data for profit, that they’re changing the fundamentals of our economy and way of life. And now these companies are learning to shape our behavior to better serve their business goals. Shoshana joins Manoush Zomorodi to explain what this all means for us.
We then explore whether or not it’s time to end our relationship with corporate spies. OG advice columnist Dear Abby gives us some tips to start with. We chat with philosopher S. Matthew Liao. He asks if we have a moral duty to quit Facebook. Alice Marwick explains why most people won’t leave the social network. And journalist Nithin Coca tells us what it was like for him to quit both Facebook and Google. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t easy, but he has no regrets.Show NotesPublished: February 4, 2019
Read Professor S. Matthew Liao’s Op-Ed Do You Have a Moral Duty to Leave Facebook? in the New York Times.
Here is Nithin Coca’s story on fully quitting Google.
Mozilla is on your side. Firefox has never — and will never — sell your data. And, we make things that give you more control over your life online. If you love Facebook but hate their data collection practices, reduce what they can track about you. Try Firefox’s Facebook Container extension, which makes it harder for Facebook to track you on the web outside of Facebook.
Want more? Mozilla has teamed up with 826 Valencia to bring you perspectives written by students on IRL topics this season. Gisele C. from De Marillac Academy wrote this piece on the importance of diversity in tech.
And, check out this article from Common Sense Media, on the science behind kids’ tech obsessions.Episode transcript
Some people believe that decentralization is the inevitable future of the web. They believe that internet users will start to demand more privacy and authenticity of information online, and that they’ll look to decentralized platforms to get those things. But would decentralization be as utopian as advocates say it could be?
Host Manoush Zomorodi speaks to Eugen Rochko of Mastodon, an ad-free alternative to Twitter; Justin Hunter of Graphite docs, a decentralized alternative to GoogleDocs; Maria Bustillos who hopes to help eliminate fake news online through the Blockchain; David Irvine, the co-founder of MaidSafe who plans to make the centralized internet as we know it redundant; and Tom Simonite of WIRED, who comments on both the promise and also the pitfalls of decentralization.Show NotesPublished: February 18, 2019
Try out the decentralized endeavors covered in this episode of IRL:
Decentralization efforts are proof that the age of internet innovation is far from over. In fact, Mozilla staff work tirelessly on decentralized web standards, which have been — and continue to be — widely adopted.
Mozilla co-chaired the W3C Social Web Working Group 2014 through 2018, which produced several key decentralized social web standards. Some have dozens of implementations like:
- Webmention (a standard for federating conversations across the decentralized web); and
- MicroPub (a standard API for client applications to post to decentralized web services).
As a part of Mozilla’s dedication to decentralized innovation, Mozilla participated in the 2018 Decentralized Web Summit:
- See our Founder and Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker’s talk on revitalizing the web;
- Hear Tantek Çelik, Web Standards Lead, speak on taking back your content with practical decentralization steps; and
- Watch Chris Riley, Head of Policy, lead a web panel on decentralization.
So, are you inspired? Want to work on the decentralized web? Join Mozilla at one of these events:
- Feb 23-24, 2019: IndieWebCamp Austin
- Mar 30-31, 2019: IndieWebCamp New Haven
- May 4-5, 2019: IndieWebCamp Berlin
- June 29-30, 2019: IndieWeb Summit in Portland
- Questions about participating? Ask here.
For more, we’ve teamed up with 826 Valencia to bring you articles written by students on IRL topics this season. Accompanying this IRL episode, Huy An N. from De Marillac Academy wrote about centralized social media platforms and privacy. And, see this article from Common Sense Media, on why we need more research on kids and tech (centralized and not).Episode transcript
All the things we love on the internet — from websites that give us information to services that connect us — are made stronger when their creators come with different points of view. With this in mind, we asked ourselves and our guests: “What would the internet look like if it was built by mostly women?”
Witchsy founders Kate Dwyer and Penelope Gazin start us off with a story about the stunt they had to pull to get their site launched — and counter the sexist attitudes they fought against along the way. Brenda Darden Wilkerson recalls her life in tech in the 80s and 90s, and shares her experience leading AnitaB.org, an organization striving to get more women hired in tech. Coraline Ada Ehmke created the Contributor Covenant, a voluntary code of conduct being increasingly adopted by the open source community. She explains why she felt it necessary, and how it’s been received; and Mighty Networks CEO Gina Bianchini rolls her eyes at being called a “lady CEO,” and tells us why diversifying the boardroom is great for business and innovation.Show NotesPublished: March 4, 2019
Meritocracy as an open source practice is briefly mentioned in this episode. Mozilla has taken steps to discontinue using the word “meritocracy” as a way to describe our governance and leadership structures. Here’s why.
Mozilla is dedicated diversity and inclusion on the web and in the workplace. Learn about our diversity journey.
Firefox is open source and driven by a community of volunteers and contributors. However, in the past decade, representation of women in open source has inched up merely 1.5 percentage points to a shockingly low 3%. Read about the importance of — and efforts to realize — open source gender inclusion.
Like society, the Internet grows stronger with every new voice. What’s healthy and unhealthy on the web when it comes to inclusion? Mozilla’s Internet Health Report has some of the answers.
And, check out this article from Common Sense Media, on kids and technology use.Episode transcript