Our cellphones can tell a lot about us–and they never forget. The data we generate, from texts to pictures to web searches,create a detailed picture of who we are, long after we upgrade devices. Our e-waste is a treasure trove of intimate stories accessible to those that try to access them.
Join us for a real world romp through a story found within a discarded cell phones that were purchased online.
With mega-mergers and fewer options for Internet access, we’re being forced into paying higher prices for slower speeds. Internet service providers can now legally prioritize their own services, filter web-sites, and spy on our traffic.
But fear not! People like Diana Nucera are working with communities to build their own networks and create their own ISPs.
Artificial intelligence is being used to adjust our credit and price our insurance. "Predictive" algorithmic policing is amplifying existing human bias on our streets. Many machine learning experts can’t explain why their software acts the way it does.
But fear not! People like Margaret Mitchell are working on ways to evolve artificial intelligence towards positive goals.
One of the web’s greatest features is its potential to be extremely decentralized. While possible in theory, in practice this isn’t always the case. Web sites live on servers, and these servers are increasingly being controlled by a handful of monopolies.
But fear not! People like Tara Vancil are working to democratize and decentralize the Web. She’s building tools and contributing to protocols in an effort to make it easy and fun to independently publish and share things on the Web.
It seems impossible to communicate safely and securely online. Data hungry corporations and governments siphoning our internet traffic, collecting our searches, and mining our metadata.
But fear not! People like Harlo Holmes, Director of Newsroom Digital Security at Freedom of the Press Foundation, are working to educate folks how to be confidently secure their communications.
The trails of data we leave online plug us into categories that can shape–and potentially limit–who we think we are. Social platforms and algorithms are exerting unchecked power over our bodies and behavior.
But fear not! People like Becca Ricks are creatively exploring how to rectify, obfuscate, embody, and recast our digital shadows.
“What if, as Internet pioneer John Day puts it, ‘the Internet is an unfinished demo’ and we have become blind not only to its flaws but also to how and why it works the way it works? What if the technical underpinnings of the Internet could have been and may still be utterly different?”
Lori Emerson will discuss her current project “Other Networks”, a two-part book project that moves through both technical and user-based accounts of networks preceding and outside of the Internet, asking both “how does it work?” and “for whom does it work?” The goal of her project is partly to unsettle US-centric narratives about the history of the Internet and partly to imagine alternatives to the current Internet by looking at early incarnations of networks.
“We notice infrastructure when it stops working–and something about the Internet in recent years has not been working–in ways that are really hard to understand and sometimes really hard to identify. I think the more we take time to actually look at all these individuals pieces, from cable to code, [the more] we have the opportunity to challenge and change the way it’s working.” Ingrid Burrington is an artist and writer based in New York dedicated to combating mainstream [mis]understandings of networked infrastructure.
She’s written for and worked with institutions along these lines including Eyebeam, eyeo, Data and Society Research Institute, Deep Lab, the Atlantic and the Nation among others. She’ll be sharing with us some of the teaching tools and perspectives she’s developed for thinking about how to integrate network infrastructure into the digital literacy dialogue and how we consider political questions when talking about things like fiber optic cables, cell towers, roads and bridges.
Ben Valentine is an independent writer and curator studying how technology, media, and politics intersect around the world. Some recent articles include: “Cyberfeminists Go Deep on Big Data, Privacy, and Surveillance” (Hyperallergic, 2015), “Networked Culture and Surveillance” (Medium, 2013), and “The Pirate Party’s ‘Poetician’ Plans to Make Iceland a Data Haven” ( Motherboard, 2014).
Valentine’s recent research and travel informs his conception of the “neoliberal gaze,” which he describes as: “a transnational means of looking that is invasive, self-serving, reductive, and restructures that which it scours to be more in line with the looker’s own image.”
Privacy has been pronounced dead; allegedly “free” services cost us troves of personal data; our governments know more about us than we do ourselves. No one actually “Agrees” to these “Conditions”, yet short of abandoning all modern conveniences, resistance seems futile. But fear not! There are loads of projects and people working on ways to take back our digital agency.
Facilitated by Nick Briz & Jon Satrom, Data Rules Everything Around Me (D.R.E.A.M.) is a FREE & OPEN monthly series devoted to discussing these topics. Featured writers, artists, developers and other cultural producers are invited to share their research and perspectives on the data that fuels the systems that run our world.
more speakers to be announced