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Technology Pill

Technology Pill

By Privacy International

Find out how technology is reshaping our lives every day and explore the new powers of governments and companies.
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Tech Assisted Abuse: How smart devices can facilitate abuse

Technology PillAug 25, 2023

Tech Assisted Abuse: How smart devices can facilitate abuse
Aug 25, 202343:31
10 years since Snowden: Legacy, Law, and Litigation
Jul 28, 202350:26
GPS tracking migrants in the UK: Who profits?
Jun 23, 202351:24
Election Observation: Data, Elections and a trip to Kenya
May 05, 202336:47
Protecting the protectors: a case from Colombia

Protecting the protectors: a case from Colombia

This week we're speaking to Claudia Duque an Human Rights Defender and journalist for over 25 years, reported on crimes occurred during armed conflict and Emi, a Colombian lawyer defending press freedom. Claudia has been subjected to death threats, and was given official protection by the Colombian Government, including an armoured car. However, that protection was used to surveil her, including through a GPS tracker installed in the car without her knowledge.

Listen to find out more!


The organisation who put us in touch with Claudia is called Media Defence, they are an international human rights organisation which provides legal defence to journalists, citizen journalists and independent media around the world who are under threat for their reporting. Find out more about them and their work:

You can also read more about Claudia, her work, and the cases she's taken forward on Media Defence's website:

Claudia's case against the former Administrative Department of Security:

More about Claudia:

If you're a climate activist fearing surveillance, these tips might be handy:

For more detail on the surveillance experiences faced by human rights defenders, read:

To read more about GPS technology, visit:

Apr 05, 202345:30
MI5 Lied...for years: a win for privacy

MI5 Lied...for years: a win for privacy

In January 2023, the UK's Investigatory Powers Tribunal handed down a landmark judgment. The Tribunal held that there were “very serious failings” at the highest levels of MI5 - the UK's domestic intelligence agency - to comply with privacy safeguards from as early as 2014, and that successive Home Secretaries did not to enquire into or resolve these long-standing rule-breaking despite obvious red flags.

In this episode, we talk to Meg Goulding, a lawyer at the UK-based campaigning organisation, Liberty, who was a solicitor instructed on the case, and Nour Haidar, a lawyer and member of the legal team at PI to discuss what this ruling actually means for the ongoing fight against mass surveillance.

The way our data was handled by MI5 amounts to a significant intrusion into potentially millions of people’s fundamental right to privacy. This case was a critical mechanism of holding MI5 accountable for failing to handle the data they hold in a lawful manner. Agencies tasked with protecting national security process huge amounts of sensitive information. Due to the nature of their work, their operations can’t be subjected to the same levels of scrutiny and transparency that we can demand of other government institutions, yet they are not above the law. That is why this case is so important: it is one of the only tools we have to ensure that our right to privacy is respected by the UK intelligence agencies.


- PI's Case page for Liberty and PI v Security Service and Secretary of State for the Home Department IPT/20/01/CH

- PI's Q&A explaining the judgment

- Liberty's case page

- PI's Long-read explaining arguments in the case, including key disclosure

- Home Secretary statement "as compliant as possible"

Mar 03, 202301:04:34
Producing Real Change: Our 2022
Dec 23, 202230:23
How to Investigate Digital Forensics: Speaking to the UK's Former Forensics Regulator

How to Investigate Digital Forensics: Speaking to the UK's Former Forensics Regulator

This week we speak  to Gillian Tully, the UK’s former forensic regulator about the  importance and challenges that come with trying to ensure that forensic  evidence submitted in court is of a high quality.


More about Gillian Tully:

Original Phone Extraction podcast:

GOS tag complaint: Challenge to systemic quality failures of GPS tags submitted to Forensic Science Regulator

Why Forensics Matter: Immigration officers and the quality of evidence in the UK:

Push This Button For Evidence: Digital Forensics:

Police Linked to Hacking Campaign to Frame Indian Activists:

Unpacking the evidence elasticity of digital traces:

Forensic science and the criminal justice system: a blueprint for change (House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee report):

NIST Computer Forensics Tool Testing Program (CFTT)

Post Office Horizon scandal:

With my fridge as my witness?!

Dec 16, 202243:50
Corporate Power with Cory Doctorow

Corporate Power with Cory Doctorow

This week we're talking to Cory Doctorow about his new book Chokepoint Capitalism - coauthored with Rebecca Giblin, his as yet unpublished next book The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation, and how corporate power is shaping our rights.

Quick corrections! 

- GDPR compensation is in theory possible through court action:

- GDPR Article 80(2) not Section 20 something as I stated! 


- Cory's website:

- Chokepoint Capitalism coauthored with Rebecca Giblin:

- Giphy and Meta:

- Chokepoint Capitalism: the audiobook:

- How to leave dying social media platforms (without losing your friends):

- Cory on Mastodon: and

- PI on Mastodon:

- Crad Kilodney documentary:

- Algorithms Exposed: or

- Bush V Gore election scandal:

- Goldacre report:

- Amazon and NHS:

- Rida Qadri: and some of her writing on tuyul apps:

- Oh for fuck's sake, not this fucking bullshit again :

- Dan Kaminsky's work on Colour blindness:

- How to get the most out of your Data Subject Access Request:

Dec 09, 202201:35:31
EdTech needs Schooling

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?


- 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:

Nov 17, 202247:02
Got PimEyes on you
Sep 23, 202235:20
Maternal Health and Family Planning in the Middle East: Gender and Power

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:


- 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:

Aug 05, 202250:33
Talking to People about Privacy
Jun 10, 202236:14
The EU, the Sahel and the Externalisation of Surveillance
Jun 03, 202201:45:09
Surveillance: Made in Italy and sold around the world
May 27, 202252:17
Violence at the EU’s borders: Tech and surveillance in Europe’s Human Rights Crisis
May 20, 202201:45:25
Upcoming: Border Surveillance

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!

May 18, 202202:08
Corporate Spies Gone Wild
May 06, 202233:29
Not Fine: A Clearview Update
Apr 15, 202222:18
NSO Group: Civil society's battle against government hacking

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. 


- 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:

Mar 22, 202241:53
Update: Marketing, Maternity, and the data supply chain

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.


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.

Mar 04, 202240:24
2021: Looking back

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? 


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:

Feb 04, 202222:18
2022: Looking forward
Feb 04, 202233:32
Christmas Present Privacy
Dec 24, 202138:37
Tech Research: includes a free gift

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.


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:

Dec 17, 202143:02
Victory! A Clearview update: some (provisionally) good news from the UK
Dec 03, 202114:28
Unhealthy diet of targeted ads
Nov 26, 202135:49
Covid and Tech: A view from Colombia
Nov 12, 202138:00
Humanitarian data after Afghanistan

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. 


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: 

Oct 29, 202146:17
Rebroadcast: Your mental health for sale?
Oct 15, 202136:22
Cargo planes, Trains, and Automobiles

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. 

Oct 01, 202153:38
Summer Reading

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.


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

Sep 17, 202146:22
Evading facial recognition

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. 


- 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:

Jul 25, 202133:34
Covid and tech: a view from India

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, 202132:25
Covid: Where have we been? Where are we now?

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, 202147:08
Biometrics domination under the pretext of combating terrorism
Jun 04, 202101:24:56
The fight back with Edward Snowden
May 21, 202157:48
A eulogy to Yahoo Answers

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, 202151:01
A spotter's guide to facial recognition

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, 202150:19
Spring Cleaning (rebroadcast)

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, 202101:06:16
Big Brother pays your benefits: We read 995 pages on how to surveil people so you don't have to

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, 202136:12
What does your face say about you? Phrenology, physiognomy and society
Mar 05, 202147:44
Are you paranoid?
Feb 19, 202137:03
General warrants: Victory at the UK High Court and 250 year old law
Feb 05, 202132:08
Data exploitation in reproductive healthcare in Chile

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, 202133:06
Trans identity in the Philippines
Jan 22, 202130:45
The end of privacy? The spread of facial recognition

The end of privacy? The spread of facial recognition

Jan 15, 202153:52
2021: What can we expect?
Jan 09, 202138:24
Data exploitation in reproductive healthcare in Kenya

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, 202036:26
EU Exporting Surveillance
Dec 04, 202043:32