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Under the bridges of Stockton

published by ZEIT ONLINE, January 2, 2018 >> (text, translation, and photos: CF)

The Bay Area is booming, but misery is spreading in San Francisco’s hinterland. A young mayor is now experimenting with a radical idea: a basic income.

Hard selection, soft landing: Is Canada’s immigration policy as good as its image?

Translation of my German-language radio documentary (19mn), broadcast by Deutschlandfunk (German public radio) on Nov 23, 2021 >>

Canada opened its borders to people of all nationalities back in the 1960s, provided they bring the right qualifications. The German government discusses whether this could be a model for them. But Canada’s often idealized immigration system is classist and encourages exploitation, critics say.

Gold rush in Silicon Valley

published by Uniglobale Magazine, Germany, 4/2016; text, photos, and translation: CF >>

Software engineers from all over the world rave about working in the San Francisco Bay Area. But if their non-techie partners follow them, they usually have a hard time professionally – and might well end up as ice cream vendors with Ph.D.s.

Amanda’s Prison

final film of the New York Film Academy’s documentary program

Amanda Morales Guerra has rarely seen the light of day since she entered Holyrood Church Santa Cruz almost a year ago. As she fled violence in her native Guatemala and, after years in the US, a deportation order by the Trump administration, priest and activist Luis Barrios had offered her sanctuary in his church in Uptown Manhattan. When I visit Amanda, she is caught up in memories of the inflatable children’s pool in her garden in Long Island, her own slice of the American Dream.

How Clearview helps the Trump administration target undocumented immigrants

published on the NUDGED blog, March 14, 2020 >>

A small US company is selling an app that might end our ability to walk down the street anonymously. Among its clients: authoritarian states and US immigration enforcement. Jacinta Gonzalez, an organizer with the NGO Mijente, talked with us about why this puts the 11 million undocumented people in the United States at an even higher risk for deportation.

“It was the perfect storm”

Published on the NUDGED blog, March 18, 2020 >>

Before 700,000 Rohingya fled the genocide in Myanmar in 2017, the military had riled up millions of users against the group in a hate speech campaign on Facebook. Why did the company not intervene? And could this happen again? Human rights experts Matthew Smith (Fortify Rights) and Alan Davis (Institute for War and Peace Reporting), who both witnessed the events leading up to the genocide, shared their insights with me on the phone.

The techie resistance

Published on the NUDGED blog, March 6, 2020 >>

Dirty data, greed for gain and a lack of diversity in the tech sector: There are many reasons why algorithms discriminate. But lawyers, regulators and, most importantly, critical techies have started standing up against A.I.’s destructive potential. Will human intelligence win?

“Algorithms are opinions embedded in code”

published on the NUDGED blog, February 28, 2020 >>

Tech companies have taken over the power to make decisions for us. That can be convenient as long as it concerns playlists or navigation. However, under the guise of “objectivity”, their algorithms also categorize humans and reinforce social inequality.

Fenced In, Fenced Out

German version (with photo essay) published February 14, 2017 by ZEIT ONLINE >>

In the US Mexican borderlands, even Trump voters oppose the president’s plan to erect a border wall. They fear that even more immigrants will die in their backyard.

The dictator next door

published in six languages in the European Magazine Cafebabel.com on January 5th, 2012 >> and shortlisted for the CEE Journalism Prize („Writing for Central and Eastern Europe“) 2012 >>

Belarus is Europe’s last dictatorship, but the Lithuanian capital Vilnius is located close to the border. Belarusian human rights campaigners use Vilnius as an asylum and distribution centre – yet they don’t feel completely safe. The Lithuanian president keeps up a good relationship with the Belarusian despot.