Image by Mack Lagoy

A little over a month ago, the United States collectively tuned in to an event without comparison. A crowd of hundreds, some brandishing signs and others adorned with face paint and covered in animal pelts marched their way toward the United States capitol building.

You know the rest of the story. You’re probably aware some of these marchers made their way past guarded checkpoints with relative ease and stormed the offices of senators and Congress members. You’re probably aware that some of the most zealous invaders hung from walls under the rotunda’s long shadow and you’re also probably aware that…

Image by Mack Lagoy

Abdo Fayed was getting ready for sleep when he must have heard the slamming at the door. Not long before, the 31-year-old Giza native had taken to Facebook to write about an artist he’d known who, like thousands of other Egyptians, had lost their lives to Covid-19. Abdo was dismayed, distraught; he was disgusted by his government’s response. In his eyes, the artist’s death and so many others were avoidable, had only President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi taken stronger, faster action. It’s this criticism, levied at the president, that ultimately led a team of security agents to wade through Egypt’s warm…

By now, just about anyone you know as probably told reminded you that 2020 royally sucked. Everyone can relate to the reality of this dumpster fire, but today I want to focus on one particularly positive (depending on your point of view) morsel to rise out of the 2020 inferno: a willingness by US regulators to break up Big Tech.

First, let me make some disclaimers. I’m by no means an expert in anti-trust or law in general, though I have read many books on the subject and have followed its intersection with the tech giants for several years. At…

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Imagine this: you sit down at your home desk, palms still perspiring over the stress of your upcoming test. You’ve studied and planned and drilled your brain into oblivion, but finally the moment has come to measure your academic worth. Only now, rather than squirm among peers in a college auditorium or fill a gymnasium, you are working in your own room, on your own laptop. Yet another unexpected reality of a socially distanced world.

But you’re not really alone. Beyond your gaze cameras precisely track your eyeballs as you skim the test. Facial recognition scans your face and the…

Photo by Jonas Elia on Unsplash

What is your privacy worth? That’s a broad, general question that underpins the heartbeat of this newsletter. Worth, in that sense can be answered through the traditional capitalist lens (how much are you willing to spend on “privacy’), and it can also be answered on moral grounds, of how much should you care when the concept of privacy comes under attack.Then again, if you’re to believe the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world, the questions isn’t a question at all. Privacy, after all, according to them, is dead.

But there’s another way the “worth” of privacy is measured; not as a…

By Scott Webb for Pexels

As the dust settles and the hordes of chanting protesters slowly disentangle themselves from the streets of major cities, the world is preparing to enter a new, and pivotal stage of a historic demonstration. Now, post burning Target’s and crowd filled bridges is when legislators and societal leaders are tasked with the job of implementing codified, long-lasting change through laws and reform. It’s this part of the “protest” movement that has for so long alienated people like myself who exist within the “younger generation.”

We are a generation (this protest consisted primarily of young people) who have become accustomed to…

Photo by Koshu Kunii on Unsplash

This post was originally featured in my newsletter, The State of Surveillance, which you can subscribe to below.

On Tuesday I felt the Earth shake. It rumbled, not from a sudden shifting of tectonic plates, but from the mass chorus of thousands of masked men and women shouting words of protest, cries of rage, and pleas for justice and peace. All around me, sharpie splattered cardboard boxes bobbed up and down amid a sea of protestors shouting through the swampy Manhattan summer head, their mouths shielded by an ensemble of technicolored masks.

These protests, in the wake of brutal police…

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If you’ve been following the news much this week, one story, in particular, may have inspired a sense of deja vu. William Barr, President Donald Trump’s current Attorney General appeared in front of cameras alongside FBI Director Christopher Wray to explain how after several months of tinkering, they had managed to successfully crack the phone of the shooter and apparent Al-Qaeda affiliate Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani.

A quick recap of that shooting. Back in December of last year, Alshamrani walked onto a naval air station in Pensacola, Florida at around 7:00 am. Armed with a 9mm Glock handgun and several magazines…

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Several weeks ago I asked what seemed a provocative question: Will the Coronvirus Normalize Surveillance? Two weeks have passed since then and the answer, more and more, is a resounding yes.

I’m currently typing this from an apartment in New York City, an area that has become the beating heart of a rapidly expanding global pandemic. The numbers are bleak: over 89,000 confirmed cases in New York, with 40,000 in the city alone. Over 1,000 New Yorkers have died, some of their piling bodies reserved to the frozen coffins of vans and trucks.

It’s in this context, one of unprecedented…

Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

This post originally appeared in my bi-weekly newsletter, The State of Surveillance. You can sign up for that here.

For most people living in Europe and North America, the past two weeks have been a whirlwind. City shutdowns, stock market collapses, quarantines, empty sports stadiums, canceled music tours, mass panic buying, and tragic tales of suffering are fast becoming the norm. And it seems the most aggressive rollouts of social distancing may indeed work to stop the societal bleeding, but the virus and its fallout will almost certainly get much worse before it gets better.

It’s in this bleak context…

Mack DeGeurin

Texas expat, freelance journalist. Work has been featured in New York Magazine, Motherboard and Medium. I’m on Twitter @mackdegeurin

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