Dive into the murky world of the dark web and the manipulative power of fake news with Geoff White, Tech Journalist for the BBC and Channel 4. In this episode we’ll explore the impact of tech on democracy and freedom, what actually gets sold on the dark web, and the bizarre role of “neg ferrets” in shaping a more optimistic future.
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Geoff is an investigative journalist, whose exclusives have covered everything from fraud in the online dating industry to the shadowy world of Russian cybercrime gangs.
Alongside Glenn Wilkinson, he is the co-creator of The Secret Life of Your Mobile Phone, a live, interactive phone hacking stage performance which I had the pleasure of sharing at the conference I ran a couple of years ago, Humanise The Web. It was a sell-out hit at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017, and has been performed at music festivals and political conferences to great acclaim.
Geoff primarily works with Channel 4 News and the BBC, with a focus on tech security, online crime, personal data and privacy, and he’s also just released a compelling new podcast with Audible, called The Dark Web – an in-depth, journalistically-rigorous current affairs investigation exploring the lawless, anonymous territory of the online world.
1. What’s your greatest concern for the future?
That people just switch off and stop asking and questioning. You are responsible now. It’s your job. I’m sorry but it is your job now to get involved and look at these things and look a bit more deeply. If you give up, you give power away to people you don’t know and whose motives you don’t understand.
2. What’s your greatest hope?
That my bet on humanity is right, and that it’s okay. The hand rigging would cause changes but ultimately, fundamentally people will still go out to the pub with each other or to the coffee shops, have a drink with each other, chat to people they wouldn’t normally chat to. There is lot of that going on in the world now. I hope that still goes on.
3. What single action can we take right now?
Every time you switch on your phone or your computer for the next week, every time you boot up a particular app or you log into a particular service just take a look at it. Ask whether you need it. Ask whether the settings can be changed to make it a bit more private.
Just do that for a week and just each time you use something go hang on, do I need this? What are the settings on this? Is this actually private? Can I delete some stuff from it, some older stuff? That’s where you need to be honest – I’m sorry but constant vigilance is what we’ve got to do now, because we’ve been given these great tools and part of the deal with the power and the joy of those tools is the responsibility to use them effectively and to know what they do and to control them.
The power is in our hands and that does mean we have to actually use it.
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Written, recorded & produced by Nathalie Nahai © 2018.