Episode

7/21 Breaking Down Mass Surveillance, “Self-Censorship”, and the Pegasus Breach w/ Heidi Boghosian

July 21, 2021

Sam hosts Heidi Boghosian, the executive director of the A.J. Muste Memorial Institute, to discuss her recent book, “I Have Nothing To Hide: And 20 Other Myths About Surveillance and Privacy.” They explore the importance of taking action as individuals, fighting for the autonomy to reveal information to who we want to, and how the government keeps tabs on more of us than we think. After a quick discussion on self-censorship, Sam and Heidi explore the developments in the surveillance state since 9/11, including the normalization in the population through deputization of community members and neighbors through programs like TIPS, and how that has progressed with mass technological developments at home, such as Amazon Ring. They discuss how this served to set up the recent case around the Pegasus app, and the surveillance of activists and journalists seeking to undermine ideas and stories that might challenge the status quo, before looking into how government agencies can get around legal restrictions on data collection by outsourcing to private companies. They conclude the interview with why metadata, even anonymous, can say a lot, and what we can do to turn the tide. Sam also touches on Jeff Bezos’ multimillion-dollar space race reenactment, with personally tailored costumes, and the absurdity of the celebration of the launch as American exceptionalism.

And in the Fun Half: The right has suddenly begun a switch on vaccine skepticism, only a few hundreds of thousands of deaths into the pandemic, though Marjorie Taylor Green and Laura Ingraham, unsurprisingly, didn’t get the message. Then, Ren from Oregon calls in to expand on data tracking of metadata, the crew discusses a Candace Owens v. MTG presidential run, Dave Rubin wants to relive the start of the pandemic, and Tim Pool comes to King Louis XVI’s defense in the face of the French Revolution. Emily from Colombus calls in to discuss the developments on the horrors of residential schools in the US, and Josh from Houston recalls his favorite of Michael’s personal deconstructions, this one of Sam Harris, plus, your calls and IMs!

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