Note — Oct 20, 2019

The Internet of Creation Disappeared. Now We Have the Internet of Surveillance and Control

We often read and argument about the two titans of big tech (US and China) clashing, and of Europe trying to frame and defend a certain vision through regulation and penalties. In this interview, Renata Ávila reminds us of the billions of unconnected being preyed upon through a new form of colonialism, and the leadership Europe could/should take by offering “alternatives that respect human rights and alternative business models that are not based on data extractivism. This will not be competitive in the market but it could come from governments, putting social interests at the centre.” I’m not expecting too much in that direction, but such a “values model” does seem more doable to me than France fostering 25 American-like Unicorns by 2025, as Macron dreams of doing. There’s a gigantic risk of such alternatives becoming colonial themselves, but bringing money and leadership to such an inclusive model “for everyone else” could be a vision with some chance of counterbalancing the GAFAM-BATX axis and would make sense, at the very least population numbers wise.

Her arguments are essential for preventing ourselves from being crushed by the technological world, from being carried away by the current of ephemeral divertemento. For being fully aware that, as individuals, our battle is not lost, but that we can control the use of our data, refuse to give away our facial recognition or demand that the privacy laws that protect us are obeyed. […]

“The connectivity that is offered today to poor people is the connectivity of control and of chains.” […]

“Do I connect them to a free centralised system in exchange for giving away all the data of my citizens? They have not even developed digital literacy skills. Where do I begin? Do I take them to a new phase of dependency, of colonisation?” […]

“At the start of the 21st century, one of the questions that excited me most about access to the Internet was the possibility of producing infinite copies of books and sharing knowledge. That idea of an Internet that was going to be a tool for integration and access to knowledge has shattered into smithereens. It was a booby trap. We are working as the unpaid slaves of the new digital world.”