Inside China’s Massive Surveillance Operation

She was alone in Istanbul and her digital connection with life in Xinjiang was over. Apart from a snatched Skype call with her mother for 11 and a half minutes at the end of December 2016, communication with her relatives has been completely cut. “Sometimes I feel like the days I was with my family are just my dreams, as if I have been lonely all my life—ever since I was born,” she said. Atawula now lives alone in Zeytinburnu, a working-class neighborhood in Istanbul. It’s home to Turkey’s largest population of Uyghurs, the mostly Muslim ethnic minority native to Xinjiang, a vast, resource-rich land of deserts and mountains along China’s ancient Silk Road trade route. Atawula is one of …

‘We’re in the Business of Programming People’s Lives’

Josh Harris may have been the first internet millionaire in New York. As founder of Jupiter Communications and New York’s first online media portal, Pseudo.com, he rode the web 1.0 dotcom boom to a fortune of $85 million. But as the 1990s ramped up, his view of what the internet would do to us darkened, and he spent his fortune on a series of lurid social experiments aiming to demonstrate what he saw. The biggest was an ambitious millennial happening called Quiet, which Andrew Smith writes about in his new book, Totally Wired. 1999 … Where to start? Seventy-one IPOs in July alone, hundreds over the year. A veteran Silicon Valley investor describes meeting a young entrepreneur who was trying …

How YouTube Made a Star Out of This Super-Smart Film Critic

Lindsay Ellis is just about ready to start shooting a video in her personal studio—aka a tiny second-floor room in Ellis’ western Los Angeles home—and the 34-year-old writer and YouTube essayist is making some final preparations. She gently repositions a couple of pet tortoises resting in a tank nearby, so they won’t noisily thunk their heads against the wall mid-shoot. Then she heads to a shelf stocked with Transformers of varying sizes, colors, and allegiances. “Which Starscream should I use?” she asks, scanning her collection. She eventually selects a handful of figures, including miniature-sized versions of Starscream and Windblade that recently appeared on her wedding cake, and carries them back to her desk. If you’ve seen any of Ellis’ videos …