Surveillance

Cory Doctorow:

Some people are upset because they think Facebook made Grampy into a Qanon. Others, because they think Insta gave their kid anorexia. Some think Tiktok is brainwashing millennials into quoting Osama bin Laden. Some are upset because the cops use Google location data to round up Black Lives Matter protesters, or Jan 6 insurrectionists. Some are angry about deepfake porn. Some are angry because Black people are targeted with ads for overpriced loans or colleges

And some people are angry because surveillance feeds surveillance pricing. The thing is, whatever else all these people are angry about, they’re all angry about surveillance. Are you angry that ad-tech is stealing a 51% share of news revenue? You’re actually angry about surveillance. Are you angry that “AI” is being used to automatically reject resumes on racial, age or gender grounds? You’re actually angry about surveillance.

There’s a very useful analogy here to the history of the ecology movement. As James Boyle has long said, before the term “ecology” came along, there were people who cared about a lot of issues that seemed unconnected. You care about owls, I care about the ozone layer. What’s the connection between charismatic nocturnal avians and the gaseous composition of the upper atmosphere? The term ecology took a thousand issues and welded them together into one movement.

We need an anti-surveillance movement.

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