Five great tech stories from the New Yorker’s recently opened archive


From bitcoins to  state sponsored surveillance, our tech story picks from the New Yorker's recently opened online archive. (REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski)

The New Yorker is embarking on a digital publishing experiment: For the rest of the summer, its online archives dating back to 2007 will be available to anyone online. Come fall, the magazine will use the data gathered during the free-for-all period to determine a metered or paywalled system for limiting access. But in the meantime, here are the Switch's picks for the best New Yorker tech stories you might have missed out on.

Remember This? Alec Wilkinson's 2007 feature on Gordon Bell's obsessive attempt to digitally document his entire life may just have been an overlooked warning about how some would adapt to a social media world. Or perhaps an inspiration for The Circle?

The Face of Facebook. Facebook was already on top and Mark Zuckerberg was about to be portrayed on the big screen in the Aaron Sorkin-scripted Social Network by the time of Jose Antonio Vargas's September 2010 profile of company's founder. But the comprehensive feature covers everything from the start of the company to Zuckerberg's affection for "Ender's Game."

Requiem for a Dream. A haunting account of programmer and activist Aaron Swartz's life and the suicide that ended it written by Larissa MacFarquhar for a March 2013 issue. The story is heavy with quotes from those closest to Swartz that paint a complex picture of a brilliant, but occasionally troubled, digital idealist.

State Secrets. This feature by Patrick Radden Keefe published in April 2008 is explains how Bush era warrantless wiretapping may have been inadvertently revealed to some subjects due to the erroneous release of top secret documents to lawyers. It's a fascinating glimpse into the history of post-9/11 surveillance, all the more relevant in light of the National Security Agency revelations over the past year.

The Crypto-Currency. Years before Newsweek's awkward attempt at identifying the mysterious creator of bitcoin, Joshua Davis and the New Yorker looked into Satoshi Nakamoto and his crypto-currency. The resulting October 2011 article is a nice blast to a past when accepting bitcoin wasn't such a regularly deployed marketing ploy that it gives many tech reporters crypto-currency fatigue.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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