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Speakers 9/18: Pamela Yates, Paco de Onís, Bea Gallardo

I left the talk thinking about how work like theirs, opposing an extremely powerful entity with deep connections in the government, will be affected by the rise of surveillance culture in our world. The choice of tools becomes extremely limited when your adversary has unlimited access to the information permanently stored in a vast array of communication channels. Remember that in the US, the airlines voluntarily (and without a court order) provided the government a massive amount of private information on their customers, including their travel habits and itineraries. Facebook and Google maintain enormous, detailed databases on everything you do online.  Credit card companies and consumer databases maintain enormous, detailed databases on everything you buy and everything you do in public. And if you carry a cell phone or walk on a public street, your location is being tracked and stored. All of this is accessible to the government, so should the government turn violent and repressive, most of the communication tools you can rely on disappear. And the rule of law is a fragile thing.

[This is an excerpt from my more complete/rambling thoughts about the talk found here.]

2 comments to Speakers 9/18: Pamela Yates, Paco de Onís, Bea Gallardo

  • Maria Paula

    Nowadays, we pay online services with information. We pay Google and Facebook with our personal data, so they give us “better services” and personalized advertisements, and that’s how they make money. Ok. Some people feel ok about it and some don’t. And it has been raising many discussions about privacy and personal information.

    It is not possible to guarantee that the use of personal data will be restricted to selling ads. As we cannot guarantee that when we delete a message, or e-mail, it will be deleted from their archives. In this way, we lose control over our own personal data.

    A student sued Facebook after asking all his personal data from the last three years (they sent him a 1200 pages document) and finding out that they didn’t deleted messages he asked to [more here]. Probably these big companies won’t use data to act individually, but since the world has seen many cruelty and persecutions in dictatorial governments, it is scary to think what someone with power and bad intentions could do with all this information about people and what they do and think. And that’s the fear people in Guatemala have.

    So what should we do, if we live in such a connected and tracked world? Avoiding Internet does not seem a reasonable solution. I cannot even think about my life without Google! Should we watch over everything we send online or it would start an endless paranoia?

  • Nancy

    interesting in light of the talk by Jill Magid…