Technology Pill

By Privacy International

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Find out how technology is reshaping our lives every day and explore the new powers of governments and companies.

Episode Date
Covid and tech: a view from India

This week we speak to Pallavi Bedi, Senior Policy Officer at the Centre for Internet and Society in India, about the technology being used in India to co-ordinate vaccine distribution and the response to the pandemic.


You can find the Co-win vaccination website here:

You can support PI at and you can find out more about the Centre for Internet and Society at

CIS also have a podcast, it’s called In flux and you can find it on all your favourite podcast apps and at

Like and subscribe to the podcast on which ever platform you use. It’s also available on our website at

Jul 09, 2021
Covid: Where have we been? Where are we now?

This week we discuss our experience of Covid so far, where we've been, where we are, and where we're going.


- Locked down, our recommedations podcast:

- Schools and Covid:

- Proctoring software and racism:

- Covid contact tracing apps:

 - Trump and airborne Covid:

- Shin Bet and communications data:

- Netenyahu, covid, and microchipping children:

- Android, covid tracing, and the log:

- Google and pre-installed apps:

- Vaccine passports:

- Covid vaccine trial and vaccine passports:

Jun 18, 2021
Biometrics domination under the pretext of combating terrorism

Biometric data collection and use in the name of countering terrorism has been accelerating around the globe, often abusively, without being effectively regulated or subject to accountability mechanisms

This week we talk to Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights & Counter-Terrorism, Nina Dewi Toft Djanegara about biometrics in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Keren Weitzberg about uses in Somalia and Palestine.


- Read more about uses in Iraq and Afghanistan -

- Read more about uses in Somalia -

- Read more about uses in Israel/Palenstine -

Jun 04, 2021
The fight back with Edward Snowden

This week we’re passing the podcast over to Edward Snowden. We found out this week that the judgement in our case at the European Court of Human Rights challenging the UK’s mass surveillance programme of bulk interception, and the UK’s access to information gathered via bulk surveillance by the USA is coming very soon - on the 25 May. 

It’s been a long road, starting at the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal in 2013, but this case would have happened without Ed’s revelations, which revealed the extent of those surveillance programmes. Which is why (around a year ago now) we sat down with him to talk about this case, mass surveillance and what we can do to fight back.

Find out more about the case here:

And support PI here:

May 21, 2021
A eulogy to Yahoo Answers

On Tuesday, we said goodbye to Yahoo Answers in the appropriate spirit - by answering questions from the Computers and Internet section of Yahoo.


- Listen to Love Letter and find more from Sepia on Soundcloud: (he's also on most other music platforms!)

- Find out more about Dark Patterns:

- The Electronic Freedome Foundation on what comes after cookies:

- WHO on COVID vaccine safety:

- COVID and social change - our thoughts from earlier in the pandemic:

- Our podcast on immunity passports:

- Workplace surveillance and Covid-19:

- Resources on staying safe digitally from control and abuse:

- Google's policy on "stalkerware":

- Listen to the Voyager Golden Record on Nasa's soundcloud page 

         - Greetings to the Universe here:

         - Sounds of Earth here:

- Find out more about Ann Druyan's brain waves here:

- Find out more about Ann Druyan falling in love by listening to this RadioLab podcast: 

- Our work on pre-installed apps (and other issues with low-cost phones):

- Our podcast on General Warrants:

- Our survey:

May 07, 2021
A spotter's guide to facial recognition

This week we talk about the different kinds of facial recognition and which you might see where. We also chat about the Facebook leak of 553million records.

Remember: sign our ECI!

And you can find our survey here:


Facebook Leak

- Facebook Leak:

- Mark Zuckerburg on signal?:

- Irish DPA investigation:

- EU implications of the Facebook leak:

- Facebook use of 2FA:

- The second cache of phone numbers found by Motherboard:

Facial Recognition Links

* Proctorio and recognising black people'sfaces:

* Public order offence for avoiding facial recognition:

* Kings cross facial recognition:

* Function creep in a largely jewish community in Belgium [in Flemish]

* Categorisation systems for telling if you're gay: 

Apr 16, 2021
Spring Cleaning (rebroadcast)

This week we're rebroadcasting a coversation we had last year with PI's Tech Co-ordination Groups, bringing you tips and tricks about how to start cleaning up and securing your phone or computer. Please note - Whatsapp does now offer disappearing messages.

Episode notes 

Useful info

Tech pill survey:

How to minimise targeted ads:

Protect yourself from online tracking: 

Social media account settings: 

Our Onion address: privacyintyqcroe.onion

Episode Info

6:06 - reasons to delete apps you’re not using

8:00 - 4 things you should do first

8:19 - Updates

9:41 - Password managers Keepass, 1password, Lastpass

13:22 - Has your data been breached?

14:38 - Backups

20:47 - Apps

22:34 - Firewalls

Netguard - 

Clamwin - 

30:27 - When is too old too old

32:54 - iPhone

Better Blocker - 

38:09 - Android

42:11 - Social Media

42:11 Facebook/instagram

Facebook TOR address: facebookcorewwwi.onion 

Zynga hack: 

47:02 - Twitter

MicahFlee - delete your tweets: 

Social media monitoring by local authorities - 

51:22 - Email

53:17 - Desktops

53:32 - Windows

CCleaner -

WinDirStat -

57:24 - Mac OS

Little snitch -

1:00:02 - Linux

Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) -

Firewall D -

1:03:22 Encryption

Veracrypt - 

Bitlocker -

Apr 02, 2021
Big Brother pays your benefits: We read 995 pages on how to surveil people so you don't have to

Content warning: this episode includes some disturbing stories of people  who have died after having their benefits cut or withdrawn by the UK  Department of Work and Pensions 

This week we're looking at the ways in which the UK Department of Work  and Pensions surveil benefit recipients.


You can find out more about the DWP's surveillance here:  

You can find out more about the DWP's alogrithims here:    

You can find out more about each of the cases of people who died after their benefits withdrawn below.

Errol Graham: 

The 5,000: 

Jodey Whiting: 

Phillipa Day: 

David Clapson:

If you're having problems navigating the UK's benefits system Citizen's Advice is a good place to go for help and support:

Mar 19, 2021
What does your face say about you? Phrenology, physiognomy and society

This week we're joined by Dr Courtney Thompson to discuss the history of phrenology and physiognomy and their relationship to modern technologies and culture. 


- Find more of Dr Thompson's work and her book 'An Organ of Murder: Crime, Violence, and Phrenology in Nineteenth-Century America':

- Or you can find her on twitter at:

- You can see the 'Good and Bad heads' picture in her article 'Rediscovering “Good” and “Bad” Heads in the Phrenological Present' here:

- Find out more about Physogs and Photofit in Courtney's article in Endeavour:

- You can listen to our podcast on Facial Recognition here:

- And you can support Privacy International here:

Mar 05, 2021
Are you paranoid?

We hear that we're paranoid a lot - but what is paranoia? What does it mean to be paranoid? And is it all bad? We spoke to Dr David Crepaz-Keay from the Mental Health Foundation to find out. 


- Learn more about mental health at the mental health foundation's website:

- Learn more about PI's work at:

- You can listen to our first episode with David about tracking on mental health websites here:

Feb 19, 2021
General warrants: Victory at the UK High Court and 250 year old law

General warrants have been used to authorise wide-ranging property interference and certain forms of computer hacking of large numbers of devices - such as “all mobile phones used by a member of a criminal gang”, without specifying the names or locations of the members.

But no longer - the UK High Court has held that the security and intelligence services cannot rely on these warrants, referring back to cases from the 18th century. 

Find out more:

Feb 05, 2021
Data exploitation in reproductive healthcare in Chile

PI's Reproductive Rights and Privacy Project speaks with Paz Peña, an  independent consultant based in Chile, about data exploitation in sexual and reproductive healthcare in the country.

Jan 25, 2021
Trans identity in the Philippines

We've recently released a report looking at the impact of ID systems on transgender people in Argentina, France and the Philippines. To celebrate we're re-releasing this podcast from our archive. It was recorded in 2018 when Eva met two transgender rights activists - Naomi Fontanos and AR Arcon to discuss what the right to privacy means to them and their fight against the government's plan to deploy an ID card system.

Our report in English:

Our report in Spanish:

Jan 22, 2021
The end of privacy? The spread of facial recognition

A year ago on Monday the New York Times published an article, by a fantastic tech journalist called Kashmir Hill, about a facial recognition company called Clearview AI called 'The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It' . 

This episode we talk to a range of experts and journalist about who are Clearview? What are they doing? Why is their business model so problematic? And is the problem Clearview specific? Or is systemic?


The original article:

Info on how to do your own Data Subject Access Request: 

And the template from the ICO:

Find more from Ann Cavoukian:

Find out more about the ACLU's legal challenge in Illinois:

Find out more about Robert Julian-Borchack William's case:

Read more from Riccardo on facial recognition [italian]: 

Find out more about Pimeyes and Daniel's research at Netzpolitik:

Jan 15, 2021
2021: What can we expect?

We give you the run down on the things we expect and are excited for and sometimes apprehensive of in 2021 and give you the lowdown on what's written in your stars for the coming year.


If you're worried about your devices and a controlling partner:; you can also find out more at women's aid's website:

Find out more about our court victory here:

Dr David Crepaz-Keay from the Mental health Foundation:

Tom and immunity passports:

Lucy and low cost tech:

Lucy and marketing and maternity:

Eva and smart cities:

Jan 09, 2021
Data exploitation in reproductive healthcare in Kenya

PI's Reproductive Rights and Privacy Project speaks with Nerima Were, who is the Program Manager on Sexual Reproductive Health Rights from  KELIN. The Kenya Legal & Ethical Issues Network on HIV and AIDS  (KELIN) focuses on creating country-based networks that intersect law, ethics, human rights, and HIV.

Dec 28, 2020
EU Exporting Surveillance

**Language advisory: Gus does several swearwords this episode including one f-word at 9:45

This week we talk to Edin, PI's Advocacy Director, about documents obtained by he spent a year working on obtaining, that detail how EU agencies ‘outsource’ border controls to neighbouring countries. From surveillance drones to cameras to wiretapping and more - the EU are providing technologies that will be used to crush political and civil freedoms and undermine democracy without urgent reforms.

Find out more: 

Dec 04, 2020
Data exploitation in reproductive healthcare in Peru

PI's Reproductive Rights and Privacy Project speaks with Denisse Albornoz from Hiperderecho in Peru, which is Peruvian non-profit civil  association dedicated to research, facilitating public understanding and  promoting respect for rights and freedoms in digital environments.

Nov 23, 2020
Your mental health for sale?

We talk to Dr David Crepaz-Keay from the Mental Health Foundation to find out what happens to your data when you visit a mental health website? How can technology help people dealing with a mental health issue? And what can happen when things go wrong?

Find out more about the Mental Health Foundation here:

If you're worried about your mental health and want to try the NHS's mood self-assesment you can find it here:

Read our work on mental health here:

Nov 06, 2020
Medically inaccurate reproductive health information at pregnancy resource centres in the US

PI's Reproductive Rights and Privacy Project speaks with Dr. Andrea Swartzendruber about crisis pregnancy centres in the US. 

Dr. Andrea  Swartzendruber is the principal investigator for the Pregnancy Resource  Center Evaluation at Emory University's Center for Reproductive Health  Research in the Southeast. She is an assistant professor in the  Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of  Georgia College of Public Health and an adjunct professor at Emory  University Rollins School of Public Health. She has recently published  and presented research findings on pregnancy resource centers (also  known as crisis pregnancy centers) and sexual and reproductive health  services for adolescents in Georgia.

Oct 26, 2020
Smart for Whom? A tale of smarter cities

This week we talk to Dr Ellie Cosgrave - an Associate Professor at UCL, Dr Lakshmi Priya Rajendran - a Senior Research Fellow looking at future cities, and Dr Rob Kitchin - a Professor focussing on the relationship between technology, society, and space about what is a smart city? What do we want the cities of the future to look like? And what's the best way of making sure the future of our metropolitan public spaces is bright, not dystopian?

Find out more:

About PI's work on smart cities here:

About Ellie's work here:

About Lakshmi's work here:

And Rob's work here:

And you can support PI's work here:

Oct 23, 2020
Judgement Day

The European Union's top court rules that UK, French and Belgian mass surveillance regimes must respect privacy. But what does that mean for government's data collection schemes? And what does it take to fight a legal battle lasting years?

Find out more on our website:

And make sure we can keep taking these fights to court:

Oct 09, 2020
Data exploitation in reproductive rights in Indonesia

PI's Reproductive Rights and Privacy Project speaks with Lintang Setianiti and Miftah Fadhli from the Institute for Policy  Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) in Indonesia about reproductive rights in  the country.

Sep 21, 2020
Data exploitation in reproductive healthcare in Argentina

PI's Reproductive Rights and Privacy Project speaks with Maite Karstanje  and Nadia Ferrari from Equipo Latinoamericano de Justicia y Género  (ELA) in Argentina, which works with Latin American feminist  institutions to promote and defend human rights and gender justice in  the region, about reproductive rights in the country.

Aug 24, 2020
How misleading health info can spread from online discussions to policy and legislative debates

PI's Reproductive Rights and Privacy Project speaks with Dr. Subasri Narasimhan and Dr. Dabney Evans from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in the US about their paper which documents how  misleading health information about reproductive health can flow into  policy and legislative debates. 

Jul 27, 2020
Immunity Passports

This week we talk to a whole host of guests, including María Paz Canales Executive Director of Derechos Digitales, about the issues with coronavirus immunity passports and whether the digital ID industry is capable of rising to the moment.

Jul 24, 2020
Spring Cleaning

This week we talk to PI's Tech Co-ordination Groups to bring you tips and tricks about how to start cleaning up and securing your phone or computer.

Episode notes

Useful info

How to minimise targeted ads:

Protect yourself from online tracking: 

Social media account settings: 

Our Onion address: privacyintyqcroe.onion 

Episode Info

3:24 - reasons to delete apps you’re not using 

6:18 - 4 things you should do first

6:37 - Updates 

7:59 - Password managers Keepass, 1password, Lastpass

11:40 - Has your data been breached?

12:56 - Backups 

19:05 - Apps

20:52 - Firewalls 

Netguard - 

Clamwin - 

28:45 - When is too old too old 

31:12 - iPhone 

Better Blocker - 

36:27 - Android 

40:29 - Social Media 

40:29 Facebook/instagram 

Facebook TOR address: facebookcorewwwi.onion 

Zynga hack: 

45:20 - Twitter 

MicahFlee - delete your tweets: 

Social media monitoring by local authorities - 

49:40 - Email 

51:35 - Desktops 

51:50 - Windows 

CCleaner - 

WinDirStat - 

55:42 - Mac OS 

Little snitch - 

58:20 - Linux 

Uncomplicated Firewall (UFW) - 

Firewall D -

1:01:40 Encryption 

Veracrypt - 

Bitlocker -  

Jul 10, 2020
Google/Fitbit merger? Not on our watch

Why do Google want to buy Fitbit? What do they get out of it? And why should competition regulators be concerned?

Gus talks to two of PI's lawyers - Ailidh and Ioannis - to ask why we're telling the EU commission to block the merger.

Find out more and sign the petition at:

Music: Last Chance Saloon by Sepia

Jun 26, 2020
How opposition groups are using misinformation to delay people from accessing safe abortion care

PI's Reproductive Rights and Privacy Project speaks with Ruth Taylor, the CEO of the UK-based charity Abortion Support Network about how  opposition groups are using misinformation to delay people from  accessing safe abortion care. 

Jun 22, 2020
The trouble with Identity in Kenya

From double registration to exclusion and discrimination - this week we talk to Yusuf Bashir, Executive Director of Haki na Sheria, and Keren Weitzberg, an academic from UCL, about the trouble with Identity in Kenya. 

You can find out more about Haki na Sheria here:

Find out more about double registration in Keren's piece "In Kenya, thousands left in limbo without ID cards" in CodaStory:

Find out more about the Huduma Namba case on our website:

Jun 12, 2020
Protest surveillance: before, during, and after

With huge numbers of people out on the streets standing up for their rights in the US and Hong Kong, and around the world - we take a look at  the surveillance tools police and security forces round the world have been using to monitor people as they exercise their civil rights.

Given everything that's happening at the moment around the world, we've decided to postpone our episode on ID in Kenya until next week.

Some of the resources we mentioned in the episode can be found here:

ACLU: know your rights:

EFF Attending a protest tool:

Netpol - know your rights:


Jun 05, 2020
Is there an app for Covid-19?

A quick catch-up on the state of play of apps round the world - though we end up mostly discussing India and the UK - and we celebrate a very special birthday.

You can find a much deeper and more detailed look at the various questions and concerns around coronavirus apps on our website: and all the latest news in our tracker

May 22, 2020
Covid-19 news

This week Gus chats with Edin, PI's Advocacy Director, about the latest Covid-19 news and the trends we're seeing around the world. 

Find out more about coronavirus apps around the world: and keep an eye on the global responses:

Music by Glass boy - licensed under creative commons
Find more from them here:

May 08, 2020
Reproductive rights and privacy in India

PI's Reproductive Rights and Privacy Project speaks with Tasneem Mewa and Ambika Tandon from the Center for Internet and Society about data  exploitation in reproductive rights in India.

May 04, 2020
Announcement: New mini-series

We're happy to announce, we're launching a new mini-series! 

Every last monday of each month we'll be releasing a new podcast - focusing on reproductive rights and privacy across the world, from Indonesia to  Chile to Kenya and more.

Apr 27, 2020
Covid-19: the global response

Tech companies, governments, and international agencies have all announced measures to help contain the spread of the COVID-19, otherwise known as the Coronavirus. Unprecedented levels of surveillance, data exploitation, and misinformation are being tested across the world.

Many of those measures are based on extraordinary powers, only to be used temporarily in emergencies. Others use exemptions in data protection laws to share data. Some may be effective and based on advice from epidemiologists, others will not be.

But all of them must be temporary, necessary, and proportionate.

Tracking the global response to Covid-19:

Fighting the global Covid-19 power grab:

Apr 24, 2020
Locked down

This week: it's a weird one - rather than our normal look at technology, we've got recommendations for movies and games you might enjoy while you're locked down. 

Music by Simon Mathewson, you can find more from him here: 

Recommendations include:

  • Sorry to Bother You
  • Legally Blonde
  • S-Club Seeing Double
  • Snowpiercer 
  • Broforce
  • Ultimate Chicken Horse
  • Hidden in plain site
  • Don't starve
Apr 10, 2020
Marketing and Maternity

Recorded 12th March. 

We can’t believe we’re having to say this, but the hours after giving  birth are private. If you’re a parent, you may have heard of Bounty, a  sales and marketing company allowed access to hospital maternity wards and approach women who have just given birth. This doesn’t happen on any other hospital ward. Can you imagine coming round from major surgery to find a stranger trying to sell you stuff? The physical invasion of  privacy is bad enough, but delving into the company’s relationship with you and your baby’s personal data reveals some surprises.

Mar 27, 2020
Phone Extraction

You’re a witness or a victim or a suspect of a crime; or even just travelling going on holiday. Officials demand your phone, then disappear with it. What happened to your phone? What happened to your data? What will happen to you?

We all generate vast amounts of data using our mobile phones - more than most of us are aware of - and that data has become increasingly attractive to law enforcement agencies around the world, enabled by ‘extraction technologies’ supplied by companies like Cellebrite. But what can those agencies see, and what does that mean for us?

Find out more:

Music: Last chance saloon by Sepia

Photo by Antoine Beauvillain on Unsplash

Mar 10, 2020
Low Cost Tech

Find out why 53 organisations from all over the world  are telling Google it's time they take action on pre-installed apps  (bloatware).

Sign the petition:

Music by Glass Boy, find more of their work here:

Feb 10, 2020