Thursday, November 22, 2018

Surveillance realism

Yesterday left me strangely disillusioned about academia, about how little that is actually about thinking and how much that seems to be about validating prejudices and repeating banalities. To get the frustration out of my body, I went back to the gym for the second time this week to run on the treadmill and do some strength exercises.

Today, I had the exact opposite experience when Lina Dencik gave a really thought-provoking talk about “social justice in an age of datafication”. Ten years ago, I was myself very active in the fight against mass surveillance in Sweden (and used to write quite a bit about it here on Rawls & Me). Since then, it is not an understatement to say that a form of “surveillance realism” (to borrow Lina’s term) has sunken in, that most liberals no longer seem to find anything strange with that the state continuously monitors their lives to an extent that would make any pre-digital authoritarian regime blush...

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