We asked you guys to send us photos. Then we gave them to Andreas Weigend, veteran of Xerox Parc, former chief scientist at Amazon, to see what he could deduce. A lot, it turns out.
A little Google image search, a little metadata, and we can find where you are. Maybe who you are. What color phone you’re using to take the shot, and how many SIM cards you have.
Reading photos is more than a digital parlor trick. It’s the future of commerce, marketing, policing, lending, and basically everything else.
Whose Bot Army Is Following Manoush?
Bot armies are taking over Twitter. But they’re not necessarily trying to advance a point of view, according to Phil Howard , a bot researcher. They’re aiming to sow chaos and make dialogue impossible. At the extreme, the goal is to destabilize our very sense of reality.
“Their strategy is to plant multiple conflicting stories that just confuse everybody," Howard says. "If they can successfully get out four different explanations for some trend, then they've confused everybody, and they're able to own the agenda.”
This week, why someone would sic a bot army on Manoush. And what her bot brigade can teach us about how bots are shaping democracy, from the 2016 election to Brexit to the recent French election.
You can check if a Twitter account following you is real or fake, with , an aptly-named tool from Indiana University's Truthy project.
The Fourth Amendment Needs Your Attention
This week, Note to Self gets in our time machine, back to the Supreme Court cases that defined privacy for the digital age. Stories of bookies on the Sunset Strip, microphones . And where the Fourth Amendment needs to go, now that we’re living in the future.
The amendment doesn’t mention privacy once. But those 54 little words, written more than 200 years ago, are a crucial battleground in today’s fight over our digital rights. That is why the government can’t listen to your phone calls without a warrant. And it’s why they don’t need one to find out who you’re calling.
But now, we share our deepest thoughts with Google, through what we search for and what we email. And we share our most intimate conversations with Alexa, when we talk in its vicinity. So how does the Fourth Amendment apply when we’re surrounded by technology the founding fathers could never dream of?
Is the Opioid Epidemic a Tech Problem?
The Dark Web conjures images of gothic fonts and black backgrounds, like a metal fan’s MySpace page circa 2001. But this section of the internet looks surprisingly normal. Accessible only through the TOR browser, there are Google-style search engines and Amazon-style marketplaces. Except what they’re selling are mostly illegal things—stolen passports, hacked account numbers, and drugs. A lot of drugs.
This week, we stress out WNYC’S IT department and venture onto the Dark Web. Where you can get heroin, fentanyl, or oxycontin shipped right to your door via USPS. And we talk to Nick Bilton, author of American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road , about how Libertarian philosophy and tech-bro hubris combined to spark an online drug revolution—and an opioid crisis.
And the Dark Web community is starting to recognize the role they're playing. Since we recorded this episode, Hansa Market - the very site we visit in the show - has , according to the New York Times.
How To Have No Filter
Today, listener stories and tips: we wrap up our of conversations about how women live online.
From YouTube megastar is back with her greatest hope for the next generation of women in the workplace.