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.
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.
Dealing with harassment and surveillance need to be part of every organizer’s toolkit This July, PTP asked nonprofit communications expert Gordon Mayer to look at emerging issues we and our partner organizations face. This first piece offers a primer on surveillance and harassment._ Nonprofits have a lot of other things to worry about besides surveillance and online harassment, but with an increase in these kinds of unwanted attention online, what once seemed like paranoia is looking more prudent.