On this week’s If Then, Will Oremus and April Glaser discuss Elon Musk’s other, other project with their Slate colleague Henry Grabar. Not space travel, not electric cars, but the Boring Company, which is working on a tunneling project in Los Angeles that would bring a new type of transportation to an area plagued by traffic. Musk announced over the weekend that the first tunnel will be open to the public later this year.
They’ll also dig into never-ending battle to rid Facebook of disinformation—particularly the kind that can disenfranchise, confuse, or stoke hatred in voters. Last Friday, the Department of Justice unsealed a criminal complaint against a Russian woman accused of running an operation on behalf of the Kremlin-connected Internet Research Agency. The operation had been working to deepen America’s political divisions and muddle its upcoming midterm elections.
April and Will are also joined by Kate Black, global privacy officer and senior counsel at the genetic testing company 23andMe. Sites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com have been in the spotlight lately after Sen. Elizabeth Warren made public the results of her DNA test in a video last week. And earlier this year, when the capture of the Golden State Killer was aided by a genealogy website. The hosts ask Black about who really owns your data, who gets to see it—and what the company will say if law enforcement comes asking for it.
13:45 - Interview with Kate Black
23:53 - Don’t Close My Tabs
Stories discussed on the show:
• The New York Times: “Fake News Is Poisoning Brazilian Politics. WhatsApp Can Stop It.”
• The New York Times: “Most White Americans’ DNA Can Be Identified Through Genealogy Databases”
Don’t Close My Tabs:
Podcast production by Max Jacobs.
If Then plugs:
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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.