In the face of this “digital transformation” acceleration, privacy has become the proxy for any other civil rights
. The only one it is socially acceptable to talk about. An approach that shrinks citizenship. What is the plan for students with faulty connection if remote education becomes the default? And how do we avoid that students in general transform from citizens with the right to education to clients
to satisfy? If a woman’s official job can go remote, what about her unofficial one, care (which amounts to 9%
of global GDP)?
When 72% of Europeans owns a smartphone, these apps needing 60% adoption aren’t a bit out of scope, regardless of their privacy? The syllogism
is “Something must be done. This is something. Therefore, we must do it”. As the Italian collective Ippolita states in an interview
, “The app will be the umpteenth "journal” to be filled, in this case concerning the “perception” that one has of one’s own health. We are still in the illusion that through self-telling, technology can take care of us (…). Prevention is not done with algorithms, but with the spread of anti-infectious practices shared in a physical network of places and people".
The complex materiality of our lives can barely be captured
: “A "contact” from the point of view of an app isn’t the same as an epidemiological contact. We would have to deal with the false positives (being close to someone else, but separated by a partition or other barrier) and the false negatives (not being close to someone else, but contracting the disease through a mutually touched object).“ Confusing a needed physical distancing with the disaggregation of collective IRL experience is a shortcut we will pay a high price
: for a world functioning in remote is a world extremely individualised, a perfect divide et impera playground.
It is not my intention to diminish the importance of a much needed privacy debate. But privacy is a very individualising right, while now we need to socialise our answers
to get out of this mess. A serious consideration of digital divides, the inequalities producing them and other rights than privacy would be greatly beneficial. The German Labor and Social Affairs Minister launched the idea of institutionalising rights for the remote worker.
It is a good beginning.