Watching the Watchers


Manage episode 322779760 series 2825491
By Electronic Frontier Foundation, Cindy Cohn, and Danny O’Brien - Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Imagine being detained by armed agents whenever you returned from traveling outside the country. That’s what life became like for Academy Award-winning filmmaker Laura Poitras, who was placed on a terrorist watch-list after she made a documentary critical of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Poitras was detained close to 100 times between 2006 and 2012, and border agents routinely copied her notebooks and threatened to take her electronics.

It was only after Poitras teamed up with EFF to sue the government that she was able to see evidence of the government’s six-year campaign of spying on her. This week on our podcast, Poitras joins EFF’s Cindy Cohn and Danny O’Brien to talk about her continuing work to uncover spying on journalists, and what we can do to fight back against mass surveillance.

In this episode you’ll learn about:

  • What life was like for Poitras when she was placed on a terror watch list and put under FBI surveillance
  • Why security is a “team sport,” and what we can all do to protect ourselves as well as more vulnerable people
  • Poitras’ new work about the NSO Group, an Israeli spyware company that has been accused of facilitating human rights abuses worldwide
  • What legal strategies can be used to push back on mass surveillance
  • The role of whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and human rights activists in uncovering spying abuses, and how they can be better protected
  • The laws that we need to protect professional journalists and citizen journalists in an age where anyone can record the news

If you have any feedback on this episode, please email Please visit the site page at where you’ll find resources – including links to important legal cases and research discussed in the podcast and a full transcript of the audio.

This podcast is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Program in Public Understanding of Science and Technology.

Music for How to Fix the Internet was created for us by Reed Mathis and Nat Keefe of BeatMower.

This podcast is licensed Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, and includes the following music licensed Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported by their creators:

Come Inside by Snowflake (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Starfrosch, Jerry Spoon, Kara Square, spinningmerkaba


Kalte Ohren by Alex (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: starfrosch & Jerry Spoon


Come Inside by Zep Hurme (c) copyright 2019 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: snowflake


Drops of H2O ( The Filtered Water Treatment ) by J.Lang (c) copyright 2012 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. Ft: Airtone

28 episodes