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The KUNM news team's coverage of the 2020 legislative session and its impacts

YNMG & COVID: Keeping An Eye On You

Dominic Smith via Flickr CC

In episode 75, we're talking data privacy, surveillance, sophisticated bots, racially biased tech and misinformation on social media in the time of COVID, BLM and the upcoming election. We check in with researchers, privacy advocates and an artist/activist, who talk about how our data is valuable to corporations or governments that want to exploit their knowledge of us for policing, political or capitalistic reasons.

David Carroll is an Associate Professor of Media Design at The New School’s Parsons School of Design. He took on Cambridge Analytica to get his data back and is featured in the Netflix documentary The Great Hack. He says U.S. citizens still have to fight for the right to manage their own data, though this isn't the case in other countries, and that’s especially dangerous during protests, COVID-19 and in an election year. 

Mutale Nkonde is CEO of AI for the People and a fellow at Berkman Klein Center at Harvard University, and the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University. She tells us facial recognition technology is trained to read White faces, and when it's used by law enforcement, it can misread Black faces, which could mean false accusations and arrests.

Professor Kathleen Carley from Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Software Research has been studying sophisticated bots and found many more of them in the time of COVID-19—including half of all accounts posting anti-shutdown rhetoric on Twitter.

Albuquerque artist and activistLazarus Letcher compares sharing videos of police violence on social media to the lynching postcards shared among racists in the Jim Crow South 100 years ago. Letcher says the double-edged sword of social media is that it's also the best forum for uniting people. 

And a news update: 

The United States is seeing a rise in coronavirus infections this week, experts are warning, and six states—including our neighbors Arizona and Texas—are seeing more patients filling hospital beds, according to Al Jazeera

In New Mexico, the special legislative session begins next week, and as things stand, the public and lobbyists won’t be able to be there in person. A bipartisan group of 22 legislators filed a petition yesterday to make the session open to the public, citing the state’s constitution, the Albuquerque Journal reports.

Officials announced 162 new cases in the state, according to the Santa Fe Reporter, bringing the total to 9,526. That includes 13 more cases at the Otero County prison, which has 275 known cases today. There are six more deaths reported. The death toll stands at 426. 

The police union in Albuquerque says the calls to defund police are infuriating, KOAT reports, and that reform means additional training, which would require more money. 

We're keeping a complete list of the resources and volunteer opportunities that we find for each episode at bit.ly/YNMGhub. And here's what we got from today.

Are you worried about online safety or that info posted online could have real life repercussions? Have you taken steps to make your online presence more secure? Maybe it’s not so important to you? We want to know. Share your thoughts by calling: (505) 218-7084 and leaving us a message. We could roll them into a future episode.


Your New Mexico Government is a collaboration between KUNM, New Mexico PBS, and the Santa Fe Reporter. Funding for our coverage is provided, in part, by the Thornburg Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the New Mexico Local News Fund.


Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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