Sophia Goodfriend

Surveillance, Artificial Intelligence, and Digital Rights

I am a PhD candidate at Duke University’s Department of Cultural Anthropology and Fulbright-Hays Dissertation Fellow. Currently based in Tel Aviv, my academic work examines the ethics and impact of new surveillance technologies.

Alongside my academic work, I work as an independent researcher with civil society organizations in the region and as a freelance journalist. My writing on warfare, automation, and digital rights has appeared in Foreign Policy, The Baffler, +972 Magazine, The Boston Review, among other outlets.  Before begining my PhD, I recieved a Masters in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago and a BA in American Studies (summa cum laude) from Tufts University. My inbox is open for commissions. 

Current Research

My dissertation chronicles  artificial intelligence’s impact on military conflict. Leveraging multi-sited ethnographic methods, I work with digital rights advocates, policy makers, developers, and security industry experts to understand how algorithmic surveillance has transformed what it means to wage and live with war.  

My research has practical and theoretical implications. Ethnographically, I am concerned with the kind of humanity at stake in new surveillance regimes. Practically, my research  investigates the risks posed by new technologies while outlining how automated surveillance can be implemented without eroding fundamental human rights. 

Academic Articles

A Street View of Occupation:
Getting Around Hebron on Google Maps 

Visual Anthropology Review, Fall 2021

Algorithmic State Violence: Automated Surveillance and Palestinian Dispossession in Hebron's Old City

Int. Journal of Middle East Studies Summer 2023

Forthcoming Spring 2022

Drone Warfare's Redemptive Refrains

Drone Aesthetics: War, Culture, Ecology
London: Open Humanities Press
Popular Press (select list)

In Tel Aviv

London Review of Books Blog

Blunt force

The Baffler

Israel’s TikTok Extremists

Jewish Currents

How AI is intensifying Israel’s bombardments of Gaza

972 Magazine

Israel’s Far Right Could Escalate Drone Warfare Against Palestinians

Foreign Policy

Point. Click. Occupy. 

The Baffler

How the Occupation Fuels Tel Aviv’s Booming AI Sector

Foreign Policy

Cyberespionage with Benefits

Boston Review

When Palestinian Political Speech Is “Incitement”

Jewish Currents

High Tech Surveillance was Never going to bring peace

Foreign Policy

New Tech, Old War

London Review of Books Blog

Paranoid Posting

The Baffler

The gamified occupation

Jewish Currents

The banality of surveillance

The Boston Review

The start-up spy state

+972 Magazine

‘We violated people’s privacy for a living’: How Israel’s cyber army went corporate

+972 Magazine

Naked Gun

Jewish Currents


Israel’s Techno-Solutionism

Politics Theory Other

Why Are Israeli Defense Forces Soldiers Posting Thirst Traps on TikTok?

Rolling Stone

A Political Road Not Taken in America

The New York Times

PRecision Warfare does not exist

This is Hell Radio

Al Jazeera Listening Post

Documenting Surveillance in Hebron

Unregulated Israeli spyware is a global threat, experts warn

The Middle East Eye

Online Webinar, June 2023

Artificial Intelligence and human rights

Arab Center Washington DC

London, UK, April 2023

The Banality of Surveillance

Times of Surveillance Workshop

Denver, CO (moved online), November 2022

carceral convenience

Middle Eastern Studies Association Annual Meeting

Online Webinar, March 2022

Under surveillance


Online Webinar, December 2021

Whose watching:  Surveillance in Jerusalem and the west Bank

Ir Amim-City of Nations

Online Webinar, November 2021

Welcome to the panopticon

The Institute for Middle East Peace

Washington D.C. (moved online), October 2020

Google Ayosh 

Middle Eastern Studies Association Annual Meeting

Prague, CZ (moved online), August 2020

Big Data’s Shadow Archive

Society for Social Studies of Science Annual Meeting

Sheffield, UK, February 2021

BioPower’s Promise 

The Aesthetics of Drone Warfare,
An International Research Conference at the University of Sheffield

New Orleans, USA November 2019

A Street View of Hebron

Middle Eastern Studies Association Annual Meeting

Berlin, Germany August 2019

Everyday Affects of Surveillance 

3rd <Interrupted=cyfem and queer> a convergence curated by the Creamcake Collective

Chicago, IL, May 2017

Affective Interruptions on Birthright Israel

Master’s Program in Social Sciences Graduate Student Research Conference

Milwaukee, WI, May 2017

Anxious Itineraries

The Big No-A Center for 21st Century Conference
at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Medford, MA October 2015

Jewish American Identity/Politics

Tufts University American Studies Shapiro Award Reception

Medford, MA, August 2014

Sylvia Wynter and Cultural Criticism 

Tufts University Summer Scholars Symposium