Civics: We’re losing the war against surveillance capitalism because we let Big Tech frame the debate

Michael Corn:

There is a reason that photography and videography are frowned upon at protestslike the ones currently sweeping the nation: Surveillance capitalism has made it easy for even masked protesters to be identified. Both authorities and everyday citizens have access to search tools that can “out” someone from even the tiniest clues; even peaceable demonstrators are right to fear being fired or publicly shunned if their presence at a protest is discovered and then widely broadcast. Thus it is no accident that civil rights and privacy are intimately interlinked. Indeed, as law enforcement departments have become more militarized, they have equipped themselves with increasingly sophisticated surveillance technology — from devices that intercept cell phone signals to backdoors into social media sites.

Yet the civil rights battle over the right privacy is not waged on the street with protest signs and banners — at least, not generally. Privacy struggles are waged in more subtle ways, often through individual choices we make on our gadgets. We are told to “resist” by abandoning digital services; to “break up with Google Maps,” so as to prevent some of our personal data from falling into the hands of the corporations who profit off of it.

Many taxpayer supported K-12 school districts use Google services, including Madison.