In 1985, Donna Haraway ended her famous ‘Cyborg Manifesto’ with the line ‘I’d rather be a cyborg than a goddess’. This reflected Haraway’s firm belief in the liberatory potential of our bodies becoming increasingly technological. More than thirty years later, at a time when so many of us have reached that very state in some form or the other, is there still reason for such optimism?
Certainly, over the past two years, in large part due to controversies around the Aadhaar project, debates around privacy and data protection have come increasingly to the fore, making clear that all is not necessarily well as yet in cyberland. But are the proposed solutions sufficient? And if not, what else needs to change? In this lecture, Dr. Anja Kovacs will first survey the harms of surveillance through a feminist lens. Then, taking feminist thinking around the body as her starting point, she will demonstrate that the age of dataveillance in fact constitutes a paradigm shift in how bodies are conceptualised, urgently requiring new approaches to privacy and data protection if equality and freedom for all are to remain within reach in the digital age.