If Then

Why an E-Waste Recycler Is Going to Prison

Eric Lundgren is now a felon. He says the real crime is how big tech companies prevent people from reusing their products.  

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On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser talk about Facebook’s big privacy changes and its foray into online dating, as Glaser reports from the company’s annual developer conference in San Jose, California. Oremus takes a listener’s question about the Golden State Killer case and the questions it raises about the privacy of our DNA.

Oremus is joined by Eric Lundgren, a pioneer in e-waste recycling who is awaiting a 15-month prison sentence for distributing CDs that allowed people to reinstall Microsoft Windows on used Dell computers. Lundgren insists he’s not a criminal—and that the real crime is how tech companies drive sales of new products by discouraging people from fixing up their old ones.


And on this week’s “Don’t Close My Tabs,” Slate tech reporter Heather Schwedel joins Oremus as they share stories about “Moviepass movies” and Google’s increasingly divided internal culture.


1:47 News: Golden State Killer and DNA tech

5:55: April dispatches from F8, Facebook’s annual developer conference

16:09: Interview with Eric Lundgren, the e-waste recycler, on why he’s going to prison

35:04 Don’t Close My Tabs

Stories discussed on the show:


Don’t Close My Tabs

Podcast production by Max Jacobs.

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You can get updates about what’s coming up next by following us on Twitter @ifthenpod. You can follow Will @WillOremus and April @Aprilaser. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.