Show cover of Technology Pill

Technology Pill

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


EdTech needs Schooling
This week we're talking about Education Technology: what is it? Why are  schools using it? Is it safe? How can we make sure that children aren't  being asked to sacrifice their right to privacy in order to access  their right to an education? Links - Read more of our work on EdTech: - Find out more about Google Classroom in Denmark: - Taser drones: - We're tracking the use of EdTech around the world, you can find out more here:
47:02 17/11/22
Got PimEyes on you
This week we speak to Sebastian Meineck, a journalist from Netzpolitik about PimEyes, a free(ish) face search engine similar to Clearview, but for public consumption.  Please note this podcast was recorded before Sebastian and Netzpolitik were able to talk to PimEyes CEO Gobronidze in person. You can read that interview here: Links Find more of Sebastian's work here: More of Netzpolitik's work on PimEyes here: Read more of PI's work on facial recognition: And our work on Clearview:
35:20 23/09/22
Maternal Health and Family Planning in the Middle East: Gender and Power
In this episode, Alexandrine Pirlot de Corbion, our Director of  Strategy, speaks to Nour El Arnaout, from the Global Health Institute,  American University of Beirut, Lebanon and Yousef Khader, from the  Global Health Development, Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network  and the Faculty of Medicine, Jordan University of Science and  Technology, Jordan, about digital health in the Middle East and North Africa and in particular digital maternal health and family planning  initiatives they are working on, the impact of gender inequality, and  the risks involved. Nour El Arnaout is a division manager at the Global Health Insitute at the American University of Beirut, where she also co-ordinates the Institutes's  E-Sahha programme focussed on e-health and digital  health. She has more than 7 years experience in projects and programmes  management, operational management and research, and leads the  implementation of large scale field based projects in underserved communities in Lebanon including refugee settlements. She is working on a project called: The Gamification, Artificial Intelligence and mHealth Network for Maternal Health Improvement. Yousef Khaderb is a professor of Epidemiology and biostatistics at the Faculty of Medicine at the Jordan University of Science and Technology, he is a fellow for public health at the royal college of physicians UK through distinction and has published more than 650 scientific papers in highly reputable journals. He is working on a project called: Governing Digital Personal Data to Strengthen Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Services Delivery in Fragile Settings in Palestine and Jordan. Both projects are funded by IDRC: Links - Read more from Yousef and Nour about their projects, and gender and power in maternal health: - Read more about Nour's project: - You can read more from Yousef in the below papers which he contributed to:         - Midwives and women's perspectives on family planning in Jordan: human rights, gender equity, decision-making and power dynamics:         - Perceptions Toward the Use of Digital Technology for Enhancing Family Planning Services: Focus Group Discussion With Beneficiaries and Key Informative Interview With Midwives:         - Do modern family planning methods impact women's quality of life? Jordanian women's perspective:
50:32 05/08/22
Talking to People about Privacy
This week we talk to Ina Sander from Cardiff University about how to talk to people about  privacy, drawing on her research looking at how to teach 'critical data  literacy' in schools.    Links You can find a resource for teachers we've been working with Ina on here:   You can read more about critical data literacy here:   You can find the database of resources for teaching about big data and algorithmic systems Ina mentions here:   You can find PI's guides to help you and your loved ones protect yourselves online:
36:13 10/06/22
The EU, the Sahel and the Externalisation of Surveillance
While being the world’s largest provider of aid, Europe also exports  surveillance around the world by training police, providing surveillance  techand building widescale databases. While the benefits for European arms and security companies is clear, how this helps those it’s supposed to is less obvious. We sat down with investigative journalist Giacomo to talk more about  the impact of this financial flow to security forces and surveillance. Links Giacomo’s report on Europe’s Shady Funds to Border Forces in the Sahel Giacomo’s report on The European Chase for Saharan Smugglers Privacy International’s disclosures on the EU’s surveillance aid You can follow Giacomo at @giacomo_zando
105:09 03/06/22
Surveillance: Made in Italy and sold around the world
Hundreds of  companies around the world which develop and sell surveillance tech used  to spy on people, making everything from malware used by governments to  hack into phones to mass internet surveillance tools to monitor nationwide internet traffic. Italy is one of the main producers. We spoke to investigative journalists Lorenzo and Riccardo from IRPI Media who have been digging into these companies. Links You can check out IRPI Media at Their series on surveillance (in Italian) is at Their report on Med-Or (in English) is at Their report on Cy4Gate (in English) is at
52:16 27/05/22
Violence at the EU’s borders: Tech and surveillance in Europe’s Human Rights Crisis
The migration crisis in 2015 brutally exposed the divisions in Europe. People who fled  war and make it to Europe are being met with violence and intrusive  surveillance at the border at the hands of state authorities. We sat down with Natalie & Sergio from the Border Violence Monitoring Network to learn more about the situation at Europe’s borders. This is the first episode in our Border Surveillance series. Join us next week for Surveillance: Made in Italy and sold around the world. Links Josoor International Solidarity’s website is at No Name Kitchen’s website Border Violence Monitoring Network’s Website is at Their reports documenting violence and trends in Greece and the Balkans route are at Lighthouse Report’s investigations on pushbacks in the Aegean are available at Privacy Internationa’s disclosures on the EU’s surveillance aid
105:24 20/05/22
Upcoming: Border Surveillance
This is a brief programming note. The next three weeks we'll be releasing episodes of a new mini-series looking at how surveillance is  spreading around the world, driven by Europe’s war on migration and a  complex web of surveillance and arms companies. Join Edin, PI's advocacy director, and some fascinating guests every Friday for the next three weeks for: Border Surveillance.  Then we'll be back to our Technology Pill episodes. Enjoy!
02:07 18/05/22
Corporate Spies Gone Wild
This week talk to Franz Wild from the Bureau of Investigative Journalists to discuss how the UK became a haven for the private intelligence industry and how corporate spies have been allowed to run wild. Links: The Enablers by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism: PI’s report: Submit your podcast questions: Sign up to our mailing list:
33:28 06/05/22
Not Fine: A Clearview Update
This week's episode is a grab bag of Clearview updates - from our latest campaign to their latest fine.  Links Italy fine: Our legal action:;  The ICO decision: Use of Clearview AI by police illegal under Belgian law, says Belgian interior minister: Clearview in Ukraine: Washington Post article: The pledge:
22:18 15/04/22
NSO Group: Civil society's battle against government hacking
This week we're taking a look at NSO Group - a tech firm that sells a hacking capability to governments around the world - and government hacking more generally.  Links - Edin mentioned 'a journalist and her son' being targeted; their names are Carmen and Emilio Aristegui. You can find out more about people targeted in Mexico by a government buyer of NSO Group tech: - Keep up to date with ongoing litigation against NSO Group around the globe here: - Read our report, together with Amnesty International and SOMO, on NSO Group's corporate structure here: - Find more examples of harm involving NSO group here: - As revelations about the abuses of NSO Group's spyware continue, we took a look at what is being done around the world to challenge the surveillance tech industry and the powers they sell, see our call for a multi-pronged approach here: Taming Pegasus: A Way Forward on Surveillance Tech Proliferation - See how hacking can be used at a protest and how you can minimise risks to your data here: - Government hacking poses unique and grave threats to our privacy and security, here are our recommendations for necesssary safeguards around government hacking: - Q&A: PI case - UK High Court judgment on general warrants and government hacking explained:
41:52 22/03/22
Update: Marketing, Maternity, and the data supply chain
In 2020, two weeks before the UK headed into the first nationwide lockdown, we published a podcast about a marketing company being given access to hospital maternity wards. Now, almost 2 years to the day, we're coming back to you with an update about how companies operating data broking services, as Bounty did, are causing headaches for brands using personal data for targeted advertising. Links More information about how Bounty illegally exploited the data of 14 million mothers and babies: Sign up to our corporate exploitation email list to find out more about our work on brands and the advertising supply chain: Original podcast: ---------- Orginally Recorded 12th March 2020.  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.
40:24 04/03/22
2021: Looking back
This episode we look back at the predictions we made about 2021, What turned out to be true? What turned out better than we could have hoped? What turned out worse?  Links Our predictions from 2021: Clearview UK provisional fine: Clearview legal trouble in France: Clearview investments: TRIPS waiver: Travel podcast: Patent-free vaccine: Mental health podcast: David works for the Mental Health Foundation: Google unionise: The 'Great Resignation': PI has been working with two unions on our managed by bots campaign: Complicated history of plagues and workers: Indian National Education Plan: Ugandan Election: Crypto mining trouble: US commitment to reduce methane: Cop26 commitments: Apple's valuation: Facebook value drop: The Metaverse: Predictions for 2022:
22:18 04/02/22
2022: Looking forward
In this episode we look forward at the rest of 2022 and make our predictions about what to look out for in the year ahead.  Links Teens and Facebook: Frances Haugen and Instagram: Facebook and Metaverse: Metaverse and Bandwidth: EFF on new Google replacement for cookies: Google's follow up plan to replace cookies: EV cars and the national grid: The gates of hell: South Africa, Omicron, and travel: Patent-free covid vaccine: Covid vaccine plastic bag shortage: James Webb telescope: Human trails for Elon Musks' brain chip:
33:31 04/02/22
Christmas Present Privacy
Merry Christmas. We hope you enjoy your day tomorrow. This week we're bringing you tips for how to spot and deal with things that worry you about the gifts you or your kids may recieve tomorrow. Links Donate to PI and get your facemask: Mozilla's *privacy not included project: US PIRG's Trouble in Toyland: Roomba home maps: and concerns from 2017 about Roomba sharing that information: ICO advice: Our guides for protecting yourself from online tracking: Our Amazon Ring report "One Ring to Watch Them All" Find out more about our legal work: Extra audio credit details in order of appearance: acclivity (sleigh bells) dj997 (additional bells) Marta Tsvettsikh (fire sound) waxsocks (ding dong merrily) bilwiss (music box/silent night)
38:36 24/12/21
Tech Research: includes a free gift
Today we're launching our Data Interception Environment for everyone to use. We've used it to research everything from low cost phones, to menstruation apps, and now we’re making it available so that you can do your own research on how your apps use your data. Links You can read more about the DIE, including some of the research we've done that's used it here: You can find our work about apps sharing data with Facebook here: You can download the DIE to have a go with it yourself here:
43:02 17/12/21
Victory! A Clearview update: some (provisionally) good news from the UK
The ICO has provisionally issued a £17 million fine against facial recognition company Clearview AI Links Read more about the ICO's provisional decision here: Support our work here: You can find out more about Clearview by listening to our podcast: The end of privacy? The spread of facial recognition
14:27 03/12/21
Unhealthy diet of targeted ads
This week we talk to Daniel Magson, who has been campaigning to stop diet ad companies from targeting people with eating disorders, and Eva Blum-Dumontet, who wrote PI's recent report on the data collected by diet companies. Links Daniel's petition: PI's diet ads report: More information on Instagram, targeted ads, and Frances Haugen - the Facebook whistleblower:
35:49 26/11/21
Covid and Tech: A view from Colombia
This week we talk to Juan Diego from Fundación Karisma - one of our  partners based in Colombia - about the use of technology in the response to the Covid pandemic and their report "Useless and Dangerous: A Critical Exploration of Covid Applications and Their Human Rights Impacts in Colombia".   You can find out more from Karisma here:   You can read the report here:
38:00 12/11/21
Humanitarian data after Afghanistan
This week we talk to Massimo Marelli, Head of the Data Protection Office at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), to discuss the use of data by humanitarian organisations in light of the serious concerns around data left behind in the US's withdrawal from Afghanistan and the risks presented by humanitarian agencies' increasing collection and use of data.  Links Find out more about PI's work with and on humanitarian organisations uses of data here: Read more about the Humanitarian Metadata Problem in our report on doing no harm in the digital age co-authored with the ICRC here:  And you can learn more about the history of development and humanitarian donors and agencies rush to adopt new technologies that threaten the right to privacy - in out Aiding Surveillance report from 2013: You can find more from Massimo and his work at the ICRC here: And you can read the ICRC's Handbook on data protection in humanitarian action here: You can join the ICRC's 'Digitharium' - a global forum to discuss and debate digital transformation within the  humanitarian sector, with a focus on humanitarian protection, policy, ethics and action here: You can sign up to learn more about working in data protection at humanitarian organisations here: 
46:17 29/10/21
Rebroadcast: Your mental health for sale?
In honour of Mental Health Awareness Day in the UK we're bringing back this episode from last year. 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:
36:21 15/10/21
Cargo planes, Trains, and Automobiles
This week we take a look at travel during the pandemic - we chat to staff about where they've been, what it was like, and most importantly: how they got there. 
53:37 01/10/21
Summer Reading
This week we come back from our break to chat to PI staff about what we've been reading or plan to read this summer. Links Lucie's recommedations - A history of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russel - John le Carré - La Horde du Contrevent by Alan Damasio - The Right to Choose by Gisèle Halimi Clara's recommendations - Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury - Republic of Lies by Anna Merlan - Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock's Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace Millie's recommendations - you might recognise Millie's voice from our Phone Extraction podcast - Cack-Handed: A Memoir by Gina Yashere - Man search for meaning by Viktor Frankl - Emma Barnet (mention) - Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart - Do Humankind's Best Days Lie Ahead? by Malcom Gladwell, Matt Ridley, Steven Pinker, and Alain de Botton Laura's recommendations - Pachinko by Min Jin Lee - On Earth we're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong - Bleak House by Charles Dickens - A World for Julius by Alfredo Bryce
46:22 17/09/21
Evading facial recognition
This week we’re talking to Andreea Belu - Campaigns and Communications Manager at EDRi - about evading facial recognition. We talk about our European Citizen's Iniative to ban facial recognition and how hard it is to guarantee that tools built to allow people to evade facial recognition will actually work.  Links  - You can find out more about the ECI here: (If you're a European Citizen you can even sign it!)  - You can find EDRi's masks (and their masks for MEP programme) here: and you can find out more about the project here:  - You can take the Paper Bag Society challenge on mosts social media platforms - check out the #PaperBagSociety hashtag to find out more  - Watch this space (or sign up for our email at to find out more about how you can get a mask from PI  - The podcast survey is here:  - You can find our Spotter's Guide to Facial Recognition here:
33:33 25/07/21
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. Links 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
32:25 09/07/21
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. Links - 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:
47:08 18/06/21
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. Links - Read more about uses in Iraq and Afghanistan - - Read more about uses in Somalia - - Read more about uses in Israel/Palenstine -
84:56 04/06/21
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:
57:47 21/05/21
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. Links  - 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:
51:01 07/05/21
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: Links 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: 
50:18 16/04/21