Feb 2020 02

That Syncing Feeling: Big Data & Little Me 

A Little Anarky Films, Bedlam

4th Floor, Building T-74, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi, Delhi 110016

We’re faced with an ever-increasing opaqueness in governance while losing more and more privacy and secure spaces as citizens. We’re all sensing the imminent storm and it behooves us to understand data deeply.

As the Data Protection Bill makes its way through parliament, we gather together to take stock of and discuss personal autonomy and big data, how targeting works, the fundamental right to privacy, the state of surveillance technology currently, and the many possible futures of democracy on the World Wide Web.

May we be empowered and energised to steer how the Internet impacts democracy and citizenship in this new decade.

“I have nothing to hide” that bottom shelf argument in favour of or apathy with increasing surveillance. We need more conscientious objectors, sisters.

For any woman individuating into the fullness of their personhood - politically, as a sexual creature, artistically, through atypical choices, by objections with the status quo - having her privacy invaded or compromised violates the integrity of her very being.

Her digital footprint is an extension of her ‘Self.’ How much of this Self may be pried open (arguably) for the greater good? What aspects of her Self are being mined and sold to the highest bidder? Can she stay secure or at least minimise damage?

Even the most discerning woman is susceptible to the sway of algorithms and AI in what she consumes, consents to, and complies with. The specificity and staggering scope of what technology can do today stands in stark contrast to the porous phrasing of existing laws, bureaucratic lags, and deliberately created grey zones in understanding and data handling.

And then there’s the drudgery of deep engagement. AKA, pages, and pages of fine print. When was the last time you read the full text of ‘We’ve Upgraded Our Terms & Conditions/Privacy Policy’ on the multiple apps, platforms, and services you use.

How exactly do they use our data? How are we tracked and targeted? Is surveillance actually reducing crime? How digitally advanced is our law enforcement and government? Can ethics and law match the pace of innovation? Are there any secure spaces on the Internet? How are we vulnerable and empowered within the current status quo?

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