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Standing up to Big Brother: Thenmozhi Soundararajan on Surveillance and State Control

Trump has been critiqued, among other things, as the troll-in-chief. His presidential win can be credited to the rise of alt-right internet 'trolls,' complex bots, and the online harassment of his opponents. Our guest this week, Thenmozhi Soundararajan​, a Dalit organizer, filmmaker, and activist, says the spread of online attacks comes with vast offline risks for communities in danger. When Steve Bannon, an avowed white nationalist, serves on the National Security Council, with access to the largest police and surveillance apparatus in world history, there's a problem we haven't even gauged yet, says Soundararajan. 

Laura speaks with Thenmozhi about the history of surveillance as a tool for state control and violence. And why, to build an effective resistance against the threat represented by Breitbart and the NSA, resources need to go to counter measures. Although the language of cybersecurity can seem overwhelming, simple tools and training can reduce an average person's risk by 80 percent, says our guest. For undocumented immigrants, women, and people of color, these practices can make the difference between life and prison. Thenmozhi and her colleagues know first-hand, from their own experience of a hack attack sourced to the extremist Modi government in India.

Thenmozhi Soundararajan is the executive director of human rights and security startup Equality Labs​, director of the film Dalit Women Fight​!, and the first Dalit woman on Facebook. She is a transmedia storyteller, technologist, and journalist who has won countless awards for her versatile work. Find Equality Labs digital security one-sheets at https://www.equalitylabs.org.

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