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futuribile / curating futures - Issue #30 Police do not prevent crime

futuribile / curating futures
futuribile / curating futures - Issue #30 Police do not prevent crime
By Marta Arniani • Issue #30 • View online
One of the best kept secrets of modern life (…) is that police do not prevent crime.
The quote is from Police for the Future by the expert in criminal justice and policing David Bayley. The book was written more than 20 years ago, in 1996, but it is still of great actuality. In more recent times, in 2017, a study found that proactive policing “may inadvertently contribute to serious criminal activities”. A colleague of Hayley, Alex S. Vitale, wrote last week:
The alternative is not more money for police training programs, hardware or oversight. It is to dramatically shrink their function. We must demand that local politicians develop non-police solutions to the problems poor people face.
The culture behind a police system that lets individual cops feel entitled to be violent with citizens (“by chance” with those who are already discriminated), is the same that promotes digital surveillance as the solution to crime and social disadvantage. It is lazy (best case scenario), conservative or oppressive. It is power with impunity: it allows French deputy Eric Ciotti to present a bill to the National Assembly to forbid the diffusion of police images. It equates prevention with surveillance and normalises mass biometric surveillance of the everyday.
Covid-19 is creating a new paradigm of prevention. For example, there is poor evidence that thermal cameras can detect people affected by Covid-19. Nonetheless, the sector is thriving. Policing practices intersect with health ones through technology. New precedents for infringing liberty and self-determination in the public space are created in the name of public health. In the private sphere, policing informs the digitalisation of medical devices, turning them into “abusive technology”. I strongly recommend reading this eye-opening account of intimate oppression: the relationship between a person suffering from type 1 diabetes, and the machine controlling the level of insulin in her blood. The algorithm is supposed to keep her alive, but it wakens her up to five times per night to calibrate the pump, with severe sleep deprivation consequences:
Ultimately, I’ve come to believe that I am even “sleeping like a sensor” (that is, in shorter stretches that seem to mimic the device’s calibration patterns). Thanks to this new device, and its new algorithm, I have begun to feel a genuine fear of sleeping. As companies design the next generation of “smart” medical devices, the government must require them to more seriously consider the social, cultural, and psychological impacts of their inventions as potential risks. In this case, there is no point in fixing the body at the expense of degrading the mind. And, metaphorically, if you cannot sleep, you cannot dream. If we are to reimagine our algorithmic systems as responsible innovations that serve to support liberatory and just societies, we must have the capacity to dream.
Marta Arniani

The Dallas Police Department asked people to send videos of “illegal activity from the protests” on its iWatch app. K-pop fans floaded it with bad reviews, videos of K-pop bands, fan tributes and anime GIFs until the app was down. Pop 1 - Surveillance 0. 💩
The Dallas Police Department asked people to send videos of “illegal activity from the protests” on its iWatch app. K-pop fans floaded it with bad reviews, videos of K-pop bands, fan tributes and anime GIFs until the app was down. Pop 1 - Surveillance 0. 💩
Stories from the upside down
Like other videogames, Technodelics are immersive, closed feedback loops that are centered around the player’s intrinsic enjoyment of play. But where they differ from other videogames is in the purpose of their core mechanics. Rather than engaging the mind with competition or problem solving, the technodelic actively disengages their player’s unconscious habits of self centeredness, and sinks them into a humble state of presence.
These words are taken from the Technodelics Manifesto published last April. Technodelics are technologically-mediated, psychedelic experience. The concept has been around for a while, and it matches the 60s psychedelic culture with the contemporary VR one. Its putative father is Terence McKenna, the “Timothy Leary of the ‘90s”. The manifesto presents the release of Soundscape, an experience which utilises the player’s breath and voice instead of a controller to generate lights, geometric forms and guide her into a meditative trance. It’s the early days of a novel industry of wellness.
We can only benefit from being all more self-aware. But acknowledging chaos and complexity is important too. In previous issues I have covered mindfulness as a distraction from changing the world. It may be more than that. What if now the yogis and the conspiracy communities are converging?
Along with this rebellious and almost puritanical, luddite stance on health, healing and being more natural, there is also a rebranded religious disdain for science and technology as something that interferes with our energy like a genetically-modified apple of temptation that corrupts our garden-of-eden-dwelling true nature.
If you look at one of the most complete accounts of QAnon, the conspiracy movement born on 4chan (and BTW counting at least 35 former or current US Congress candidates among its ranks), there are some stricking similarities:
QAnon is a movement united in mass rejection of reason, objectivity, and other Enlightenment values. And we are likely closer to the beginning of its story than the end. The group harnesses paranoia to fervent hope and a deep sense of belonging. The way it breathes life into an ancient preoccupation with end-times is also radically new. To look at QAnon is to see not just a conspiracy theory but the birth of a new religion.
To be present, without getting sucked into pure selfishness and gullibility, has never been so complicated. 🤷🏻‍♀️
Happy Pride month!
Happy Pride month!
The 17 years old creator of the most popular Covid-19 tracker turned down a $8 Million offer to keep it ad-free. ❤️
A group of 22 French and German companies is about to set up a non-profit legal entity to run Gaia-X, the European cloud computing platform that promises to break the Silicon Valley monopoly. 🇪🇺
Here you can catch up with the first two years of life of the EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum.  #SupplyChainsTaMère
How to Protest Safely in the Age of Surveillance. ✊
Is older age a positive predictor of mortality in COVID-19? Ask SciFact, a tool to debunk pseudoscience by verifying if a claim is supported by scientific papers.
Ten reasons why immunity passports are a bad idea.
The Markup investigated the automating of tenant screening reports in the US. Good luck if you happen to have the same name of a drug smuggler.
The death of Couchsurfing: the company decided to unilaterally charge its members. 💔
Uber Eats is investigated by Italian magistrates for alleged exploitation of food delivery riders.
Oh, dear!
That’s all! Hit reply for feedback, forward and share to support my work.
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Marta Arniani

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