Progressive Technology Project staff joined many Powerbase using organizations this week to protest both Palantir and Amazon’s contracts and complicity with ICE. Over a hundred people showed up monday morning in front of Palantir’s office. Several days later, hundreds more protested Amazon’s annual developers conference at the Javitz Center in New York. Over the last several years, corporate technology’s true colors have been emerging: Facebook’s pathological disregard for privacy, Google’s employment of over 120,000 temp and contract workers (more than half their total workforce), and Yahoo’s security breach exposing 3 billion accounts just to name a few.
What do databases, the cloud and a morally unjust immigration system have in common? It turns out: quite a lot. According to a recent report from mijente, “technology companies [are] playing an increasingly central role in facilitating the expansion and acceleration of arrests, detentions, and deportations.” In the course of researching Palantir, the relatively unknown software company with huge Department of Homeland Security contracts (founded by the famously right-wing Peter Thiel), mijente discovered that many roads lead back to a much more familiar company: Amazon.
Progressive Technology Project Executive Director Alice Aguilar has been interviewed by Rebekah Barber on Facing South! Check out the full interview. From the Intro: This week the nation’s attention was focused on the nefarious ways technology is deployed, as Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress about how his company has violated the privacy of its customers and allowed the vast amount of data it collects from them to be used for ethically and legally questionable political propaganda efforts.
To many of us, the Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal sounds like old news: we have known that Facebook is collecting a dangerously large amount of our personal information for years. However, there is something different with this scandal and it may change the way the US movement thinks about the corporate Internet and our strategies for change. Since the rise of centralized Internet services like Google and Facebook there have emerged two main arguments against them.
Last Spring, the Progressive Technology Project’s executive director Alice Aguilar joined 50 other movement technologists at the Highlander Center to directly confront the intersection of technology and movement politics. In a historic gathering of movement technologists (about 90 percent people of color, 50 percent women), the challenges of corporate technology domination over our progressive movements was discussed. One result of the gathering was a thoughtfully written petition we are asking all movement technologists to sign.
Two significant technical vulnerabilities have been discovered and were publicly announced on January 3. They are called Meltdown and Spectre. Unlike most technical vulnerabilities, which are caused by poorly written software, Meltdown and Spectre are caused by the way computer chips are designed. Therefore, they are much harder to fix. Using these vulnerabilities, an attacker with access to a computer or server (including remote access) can read information used by other programs on the computer or server.
Progressive Technology Project Drops iATS Payment Processor for Failing to Support Abortion Providers
By Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia (Payment Processing) CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons Media Contacts: PTP Executive Director Alice Aguilar: email@example.com or 612-724-2600 California Latinas for Reproductive Justice: firstname.lastname@example.org or 213-270-5258 October 5, 2017 For Immediate Release The Progressive Technology Project today announced that it is no longer using the iATS payment processing service after discovering that the processor’s parent company rejects applicants who provide abortion counseling or services.
By freiheitsfoo (Own work) CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons Resources from the webinar COINTELPRO destroyed movements, relationships, and activists’ lives. It destroyed the trust and hopefulness needed to build and sustain a movement. It destroyed the movement for justice in this country. But this time, we have ways of fending it off and protecting ourselves. More than 200 listeners joined our webinar and hundreds more signed up to access the resource documents and tips we shared when PTP and May First / People Link organized a December call to discuss surveillance and what to do about it.
For organizers, it’s fundamental: no decisions about us, without us. But the opposite is happening in technology that local and movement organizing groups use today, and the challenges we are about to face will increase exponentially with the incoming Trump administration. Bias is rampant online. The way to fix it is to insure the people controlling access to the internet and who are writing the apps, algorithms and software that govern bigger chunks of our lives share at least some of our values and vision for racial equity.
The revolution may or may not be televised, but last week someone clearly tried to start it by TiVo. Tech company Level 3 offered this outage map You probably read that it was mostly hacked DVRs connected to the Internet that were used to launch the DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack on the Internet infrastructure Friday, Oct. 21. Wired provided a good, WTF analysis. Access to Powerbase was not affected.