Your 2020 election podcast playlist

Every day online, we’re bombarded with messages from 2020 U.S. presidential candidates, their supporters, and their adversaries. Just how much does the internet impact our political views? Are online election influence campaigns effective? How does online privacy — or lack thereof — impact our democracy? And, what’s on the political agenda this year when it comes to technology?


Below, we’re pleased to share a staff-curated playlist of IRL: Online Life is Real Life podcast episodes to help you navigate the internet and elections this year.

1. Democracy and the Internet

Part of participating in a democracy is questioning what influences it. In this episode of IRL initially released in July 2019, we look at how the internet influences us, our votes, and our systems of government. We examine last year’s European Parliament Election as a case study, and talk to the ACLU’s Ben Wizner, who says our online electoral integrity problem goes well beyond a few bad ads.

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2. Making Privacy Law

As awareness, curiosity, and hopes for more private online futures have risen among consumers, politicians on the left and right have had to form opinions about online privacy — and in some cases, act on them. In this episode of IRL, explore the recent history of Big Tech regulation in Europe and learn about what’s on the horizon for privacy law in the U.S. This episode first aired in July 2019.

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3. The Surveillance Economy

While healthcare and immigration topics consume the most amount of time on national Presidential debate stages, and rightly so, internet issues — like online privacy rights and data collection practices — are moving out of the fringe and into the mainstream political conversation. Learn about those issues in this episode of IRL, which launched in February 2019. Hear how Big Tech companies are collecting so much personal data for profit that they’re changing the fundamentals of our economy and even our way of life.

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4. What to Expect When You’re Electing

The 2016 U.S. presidential election blew up our ideas about influence campaigns in the age of digitization. And today, we’re already hearing reports of Russian interference in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. As it turns out, the U.S. has a long history with election meddling, which New York Times reporter Scott Shane details in this episode of IRL. Join him, Veronica Belmont and Baratunde Thurston as they examine how the internet is shaping our minds and our votes. This IRL episode originally aired just before the U.S. midterms in October 2018.

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5. The Internet’s Carbon Footprint

Climate change is being cited by several 2020 Presidential Candidates as the greatest geopolitical threat of our time. And, did you know that the internet has a carbon footprint? Examine the surprising environmental impact of the internet in this episode of IRL, released in July 2019, and learn about environmental sustainability – a topic we expect to hear more about from Presidential candidates as November nears.

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IRL: Online Life is Real Life is an original podcast from Firefox, the tech company that believes privacy isn’t a policy. It’s a right.

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