Life Stories #70: Julia Angwin

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Life Stories: Julia Angwin
photo: Deborah Copaken Kogan

Most of the time, Life Stories features interviews with memoir writers about their lives and the art of writing memoir, but this episode with Julia Angwin is slightly different. Her book, Dragnet Nation, isn’t a memoir exactly—more a combination of reportage and personal experience, as Angwin discusses how much of our day-to-day online activity can be seen by other people, including governments and corporations, and what she did to erase as much of her digital footprint as she could. Naturally, Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA entered into our discussion:

“When Snowden came out, more than anything, it was really reassuring to me. Because all the things that he proved—the Verizon phone database, the PRISM program—were things that were basically known but not known, if that makes sense. So people who follow these issues… there had been enough hints and leaks and tips that these were going on that we all believed it was going on, but we felt like we were completely paranoid and crazy. So when he came with this, I thought, ‘Oh, thank God I’m not crazy, right? This is actually happening.’ So it was really helpful for me, for the book, because I had already chosen my topic… but, boy, did he reveal a lot more dragnets that we didn’t know about before.”

Listen to Life Stories #70: Julia Angwin (MP3 file); or download this file by right-clicking (Mac users, option-click). Or subscribe to Life Stories in iTunes, where you can catch up with earlier episodes and be alerted whenever a new one is released. (And if you are an iTunes subscriber, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast!)

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25 May 2014 | life stories |