Many of us have seen the recent headlines about Zoom using audio and video content from calls to train its Artificial Intelligence (AI) models. Some aspects of this story are familiar, but there are a two angles that are worth considering more carefully. The first is access. Can zoom access our conversations? Despite Zoom’s best marketing effort in 2020 claiming they are rolling out end-to-end encryption, the truth is that virtually none of our zoom meetings are end-to-end encrypted.
May First Movement Technology has released a report: “Politics and practices of an autonomous technology: voices from the May First membership.” Based on extensive interviews, the report explores why and how social justice movement organizers and activists are building a sustainable and powerful alternative to corporate technology. According to Alice Aguilar, executive director of Progressive Technology Project and one of the authors of the report: It’s not possible to have a truly collective approach to technology without cultivating a radically inclusive space that is representative of our movements.
A Joint Statement from Progressive Technology Project and May First As part of the mass mobilization to protest the creation of Cop City, a huge police training facility in Atlanta, 23 more protesters have been charged with domestic terrorism. This latest round brings the total number of Cop City protesters facing this dangerous charge to 42. Make no mistake: by charging political protesters with a crime that carries a sentence of up to 35 years in prison, the police are resorting to desperate measures to stop dissent.
PTP is happily joining the migration from Twitter to non-corporate alternatives! Many of you have already launched your new home in the fediverse and we invite you to follow us on Mastodon here. For those of you still using Twitter, we invite you to learn about the alternatives by signing up for an account on one of the many fediverse instances (see below for more information on what the fediverse is and how to join it).
What is the relationship between our movement and technology? It’s been complex, challenging and enormously productive. It’s now also being threatened at the very moment when its potential is greatest. To protect it from the attacks against it and to realize the potential of our relationship with technology, we need to study how this relationship got to this place and what that means for our movement and for technology. At the 2020 Allied Media Conference over 50 activists came together online to build a collective timeline documenting this relationship - the past, present and even the future.
We at the Progressive Technology Project stand in solidarity with Black-led protests in Minneapolis and other cities around the country in response to the murder of George Floyd by police. We stand with movements rising up to resist police and state violence. We stand in solidarity in the fight for the lives and liberation of Black people…Indigenous peoples…and People of Color Communities. We believe that change comes from the grassroots, through movements led by people of color from the global majority who have been systematically excluded from the power and wealth that they have produced.
Beyond COVID 19 and Disaster Capitalism: Why We Need Sustainable, Secure Left Tech Infrastructure for Social Justice Movements
by Jeremy Saunders, Co-Executive Director of VOCAL-NY and Board Chair of Progressive Technology Project, and Alice Aguilar, Executive Director of Progressive Technology Project Image credit: “Photogamer — Jan 22, 2008” by RedRaspus is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Covid-19 has exposed the failures of our health, economic, and emergency response systems. Our priorities now are to take care of ourselves and one another, creating communities of care. Front-line movement groups are organizing to respond to the immediate needs of their communities, while struggling to move much of their on-the-ground organizing work online.
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.