Author Archive

Conor Friedersdorf

Conor Friedersdorf
Conor Friedersdorf is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He lives in Venice, California, and is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.
Ideas

Mass Surveillance Is Coming to a City Near You

A tech entrepreneur wants to track the residents of a high-crime American community.

Emerging Tech

Should We Give Kids an Internet of Their Own?

Instead of regulating the internet to protect young people, give them a youth-net of their own.

Ideas

The Dangers of a Mandatory DNA Database

A controversy in Arizona is a portent of future public-policy fights.

CIO Briefing

Barack Obama Reflects on Leaving the Presidency

He gave his first major interview as a private citizen to Prince Harry of Wales—discussing his marriage, his aspirations, and the importance of free speech.

CIO Briefing

Parents Share How They Protect Their Kids Online

Advice for anyone trying to figure out how to balance the perils of the digital world with its benefits.

Emerging Tech

Why Would Anyone Fear a Self-Driving Car?

An advocate for the technology argues that the leap of faith it demands is one that Americans have already made.

Cybersecurity

The Future of Privacy Is Plausible Deniability

In a hackable world where neither NSA nor Sony Pictures nor John Podesta could safeguard their private communications, the surest way to keep data secure may be surrounding it with decoys.

Cybersecurity

Should the Careless Be Punished for Getting Hacked?

A computer security expert grapples with how to better protect us from cyberattacks.

CIO Briefing

All the Federal Agencies that Fly Drones over US Soil

On Wednesday, USA Today reported the Pentagon “has deployed drones to spy over U.S. territory for nonmilitary missions over the past decade."

CIO Briefing

What the FBI vs. Apple Encryption Fight Is Really About

When software engineers at Apple designed the iPhone’s security features, they labored knowing that millions were relying on them to safeguard their privacy.

Data

An Unprecedented Threat to Privacy

A private company has captured 2.2 billion photos of license plates in cities throughout America. It stores them in a database, tagged with the location where they were taken. And it is selling that data.

Emerging Tech

How Police Departments Can Evaluate Threats by Using an Algorithm

Cops, firefighters and EMTs react in ways shaped by whatever they’re told.

IT Modernization

Do Encrypted Phones Threaten National Security?

A legislator compares manufacturing devices with strong, end-to-end encryption to dumping toxic waste in a stream.

Data

Should Google Ever Lie to Us?

Search-engine architects must decide when their creations should act as a kind of expert and when they should neutrally direct people to what they are seeking.

IT Modernization

Three Reasons Apple’s New Encryption Technology is a Good Idea (Even if the FBI Hates It)

The benefits of secure encryption far outweigh the costs of devices that "go dark" even when authorities have a lawful warrant.

Cybersecurity

Commentary: Who Can Respect a System That Helps the CIA to Behave This Way?

This is exactly the sort of situation that would an encourage a reluctant leaker to step forward.

CIO Briefing

Senator: The White House Should Launch a Criminal Probe of the CIA

The agency spied on a congressional investigation into the torture of prisoners, then claimed it hadn't.

CIO Briefing

Does John Brennan Know Too Much for Obama to Fire Him?

It's difficult to cross man with details on every secret drone strike you've authorized—especially the legally dubious ones.

Cybersecurity

Keith Alexander Wants to Patent Method For Detecting Cyber Threats -- Is That Ethical?

Lots of government officials have found ways to monetize public service in the private sector, but none more audaciously than the former head of the NSA.